Weekly Democratic radio address: "Looking Ahead to 2017" MADISON, WI – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Erpenbach highlighted the challenges ahead in 2017 and Democratic solutions to help Wisconsin families.
BEWLEY, MILROY ANTICIPATE NORTHERN PERSPECTIVE AT D.O.T. State Senator Janet Bewley (D-Delta) and State Representative Nick Milroy (D-South Range) today congratulated former Superior Mayor and current Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary Dave Ross on his selection to head the state’s Department of Transportation.
Senator Shilling: Statement on GOP Election Rigging Lawsuit MADISON, WI – New filings submitted in a Federal Appeals Court case show that Republican politicians are unwilling to reform a broken redistricting process that allowed legislators to secretly draw politically-motivated district maps and rig elections in their favor. The move has been slammed by the court and non-partisan election watchdogs as an "unconstitutional gerrymander."
Senator Vinehout Column: Looking Back on 2016 We settled into a deep freeze this past weekend. After a long glorious autumn, the third week of December brought frigid temperatures not usually felt until mid-January.
Senator Chris Larson: Echoes Congresswoman Moore’s Call for Investigation Madison, WI – Senator Chris Larson released the following statement in response to news that the U.S. Department of Justice is considering opening an investigation into Sheriff Clark’s Milwaukee County Jail. This comes after Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s call for a federal investigation.
Sen. Shilling: Gov. Walker and President-elect Trump put polluters and special interests ahead of Wisconsin families Rather than creating jobs and expanding economic opportunities, Gov. Walker is once again proposing a range of costly, discriminatory and unconstitutional policies aimed at punishing workers and dividing communities.
Senator Bewley Column: Building a Better Future For Northern Wisconsin Earlier this week I meet with members of the Northwoods Area Builder's Association. We talked about how we can work together to preserve and promote safe and affordable housing for the people of northwest Wisconsin. As builders, they understand that you can’t build a strong building on a weak foundation.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Giving Back This Holiday Season" MADISON, WI – Senator-elect LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen.-elect Johnson encouraged residents to give back to their community this holiday season.
Statement by Senator Mark Miller Madison – “Judge Kinney’s resignation from the partisan ethics commission dramatically confirms the commission’s fatal design flaw. When Republicans killed the non-partisan Government Accountability Board they replaced it with the partisan Wisconsin Ethics Commission.
Senator Vinehout Column: New Transportation Ideas Needed to Handle More Intense Storms Winter came to Buffalo County. The weather turned to snow and then to ice. In our hilly part of the world, rural people are used to finding new ways out of the valleys during bad weather. However, for residents living in Schoepps Valley (pronounced “Sheps”) the usual way out is not an option.
Sen. Shilling appoints Taylor, Erpenbach to serve on Joint Finance Committee MADISON – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) announced today that Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) will be re-appointed to serve on the Joint Committee on Finance for the 2017-18 legislative session.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Expanding Workplace Flexibility" MADISON – Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Shilling offered solutions on how to improve workplace flexibility and production.
Senator Shilling: Statement on Senate Democratic Leadership Election MADISON, WI – Wisconsin Senate Democrats gathered today and elected a new slate of leaders for the 2017-18 legislative session. Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement after being re-elected Senate Democratic Leader:
Senator Larson: Statement on Redistricting Ruling MADISON – The following is a statement from Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) on today’s redistricting ruling.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Have a safe and successful hunting season" Sen. Mark Miller offered the Democratic weekly radio address and shared information about hunter safety and deer registration.
Sen. Larson - Statement on the Department of Instruction Budget Proposal "The best way to promote economic security and prosperity in Wisconsin is by investing in our local school systems, and rejecting privatization special interests who are focused on profit and ideology."
Sen. Lassa column: A Great Hunt is a Safe Hunt Our deer hunting culture is a treasured part of our Wisconsin heritage, and a big contributor to the economy in many parts of rural Wisconsin.
Senator Shilling: Statement on Republican Gerrymandering MADISON, WI – After a Federal Appeals Court slammed Republican redistricting efforts as an "unconstitutional gerrymander," Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
Weekly Democratic radio address: "You have a choice" Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic Weekly Radio address today regarding voter information for Election Day.
Sen. Lassa column: Higher Fuel Prices Call for a Home Heating Checkup here are many good reasons to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency besides just staying warm and comfortable on Wisconsin's frigid winter nights.
Sen. Lassa column: Businesses Win by Focusing on Workers’ Abilities, Not Limits Take Your Legislator to Work just wrapped up its 2015-2016 campaign, in which I was one of 54 legislators to visit 41 businesses and organizations to “job shadow” our constituents at work.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Make your voice heard" Senator Tim Carpenter offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today encouraging Wisconsinites to vote.
Sen. Lassa column: To Continue as a Manufacturing Leader, Wisconsin Needs Skilled Workers October is Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin, a good time to reflect on where our manufacturing sector is today and where it’s heading in the future.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Celebrate Farm to School Month" Sen. Janet Bewley offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address celebrating Farm to School Month.
Sen. Lassa column: Domestic Violence is a Silent Epidemic October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, giving us an opportunity to lift the veil from this often hidden cause of trauma, injury and death.
Sen. Bewley column: It’s Long Past Time To Fix It People gathered in 70 of the State’s 72 Counties to send the same message to Madison – it’s time to fix our roads.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Honoring our commitment to veterans" Senator Janis Ringhand offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today urging action to improve care at the King Veterans Home.
Sen. Larson: Community Action to Invest in Education Guaranteeing a quality education for each of our Wisconsin children is one of the strongest core values that we all share.
Sen. Lassa column: It’s Time to Fix Wisconsin’s Roads According to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Wisconsin’s roads are the third worst in the nation. Nearly three quarters of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
Sen. Ringhand column: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Our Financial Watchdog If you were one of the thousands of people who incurred fees as a result of an unauthorized Wells Fargo account, the CFPB has ordered Wells Fargo to refund all of your money.
WCSEA Names Lassa Legislator of the Year The WI Child Support Enforcement Association named Sen. Julie Lassa its Legislator of the Year last night in recognition for her leadership in passing the Children First law that helps non-custodial parents meet their children’s economic needs.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Investing in our rural communities" Senator Janet Bewley offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today encouraging Wisconsinites to explore the beautiful rural parts across the state.
Sen. Lassa column: DATCP Halts Successful Local Food Programs Once again, highly effective programs that provide real benefits for farmers and consumers are being cannibalized to pay for the budget deficits created by this administration.
Sen. Bewley column: Budget Cuts Felt in Our Public Schools Updated figures from the state’s Department of Public Instruction show that Wisconsin had fewer teachers in 2016 than 2011.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day" Senator Janis Ringhand offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today to honor the achievements of Wisconsin's sportsmen and women.
Sen. Lassa: Expand Probe of Veterans Homes A thorough audit is absolutely necessary, but where there are known problems with facilities, equipment, or staffing levels at King, they should be addressed immediately, without waiting another six months for the audit to be completed.
Sen. Erpenbach: Action Needed Now for Residents at King Home for Veterans Sen. Erpenbach called for immediate action for residents at the Veterans Home at King as the Joint Legislative Audit Committee prepares to meet tomorrow in Madison to consider an audit of the facility.
Sen. Lassa column: Suicide Impacts Our Entire Community September is national Suicide Prevention Month, giving us an opportunity to learn more about the causes and warning signs of suicide and how we as individuals and our communities can keep more of these tragic deaths from occurring.
Sen. Larson: Statement on the State of Education Address "Today’s State of Education address is a reminder that we must reinvest in our local, neighborhood schools to ensure a bright future for all Wisconsin children."
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Student loan debt relief" Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic Weekly Radio address today regarding needed action for student loan debt relief.
Sen. Shilling: Statement on Gov. Walker’s Dept. of Transportation budget proposal Gov. Walker’s Department of Transportation is once again calling for widespread road project delays and construction layoffs to address a transportation funding shortfall.
Sen. Erpenbach: Illegal Coordination Highlighted in Guardian story “Last November, the Wisconsin Senate Republicans made changes to Wisconsin election laws that they knew would allow collusion and coordination between political candidates and dark money issue ads in elections."
Sen. Bewley: Announces Bill to Increase Local Road Aids “It’s time to shift from ineffective giveaways to the wealthy and return our focus to working taxpayers and working infrastructure.”
Sen. Ringhand column: Higher Ed/Lower Debt Would Be a Win-Win for Wisconsi Addressing the issue of ballooning student debt needs to be a priority for the state legislature.
Sen. Lassa column: Time to Take Action on Charges of Neglected Veterans The veterans who sacrificed so much for us deserve the best possible care, and it’s time to make sure they get it.
Sen. Vinehout column: Looking for answers The state budget is growing – it’s $7.5 billion more than a half-dozen years ago – with health accounting for about $3 billion of the increase.
Sen. Risser and Rep. Hesselbein: Welcome GOP support for Right to Try Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) said, “This legislation brings control over medical decisions between a patient, their family and their doctor – where it should be.”
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Wisconsin Students Head Back-to-School" Senator Chris Larson offered the Democratic Weekly Radio address as children across Wisconsin head back to school.
Sen. Lassa column: Bill Would Ease the Burden of Student Debt Students shouldn’t have to shoulder a crippling load of debt to get an education.
Sen. Erpenbach: Vows to Again Seek Legislative Accountability for Veterans Budget Sen. Erpenbach pledged to again seek Legislative accountability for any raids of veteran’s nursing home funds and the Department of Veterans Affairs general budget, saying that Legislative approval is the only way to hold the Governor and the DVA accountable.
Sen. Vinehout column: Who will be my teacher? As children head back to school and parents scramble with new schedules, schools are facing their own scheduling headaches. This year a teacher shortage hit many local schools.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Celebrate Labor Day" Senator Janis Ringhand offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today to celebrate Labor Day.
Sen. Ringhand: Immediate Action Needed at the King Home for Veterans “Veterans at King do not have the luxury of waiting nine months for the outcome of an audit," Sen. Ringhand said.
Sen. Lassa Calls for Federal Investigation at King The letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs follows news reports of numerous incidents at the veterans’ facility that the lawmakers say “jeopardize the health and safety of residents at King.”
Sen. Lassa column: On Women’s Equality Day, the Struggle for Voting Rights Goes On Women’s Equality Day is an important reminder to each of us that the struggle for all Americans to exercise their Constitutional right to self-govern is far from over.
Sen. Hansen: Joins Call for Federal Investigation of Mismanagement of King Veterans Home Reading the accounts of the poor quality of care and lack of concern for our veterans at King is sad and infuriating beyond belief.
Sen. Lassa: Treatment of Veterans at King is Shameful The facts clearly show that Governor Walker, WDVA Secretary John Scocos, and Republicans in the Legislature used the veterans’ homes as a cash cow while they let our veterans suffer with substandard care.
Sen. Shilling and Rep. Barca: Democrats Call on GOP to Halt Vet Home Raids After months of Republican stonewalling, we need immediate action to protect our most vulnerable veterans.
Sen. Erpenbach: Veteran’s Nursing Homes Should Not Be Shortchanged Senate Democrats have been concerned about the banking and raiding of surplus nursing home funds and moved to require Legislative approval of those transfers during the 2015-2017 budget debate.
Sen. Bewley: Tax Breaks For Millionaires and Tax Increases For Local Property Owners Instead of taking hardworking taxpayers’ money to pay for hand-outs to the well-connected few, we should return that money to taxpayers’ local schools and roads so they can invest in their own communities.
Sen. Risser: Statement on Federal Court Action on Early Voting The court’s decision supports Wisconsin’s tradition of promoting high voter participation and making voting accessible to all of its citizens.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Explore our National Parks" Senator Janet Bewley offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address commemorating the National Park Service's 100th Birthday.
Sen. Carpenter: Republicans Finally Facing Consequences of Election Law Overreach A Federal District court struck down laws restricting early voting, including eliminating weekend voting, cutting early voting by two weeks, and restricting early voting to only one location.
Sen. Vinehout column: Finding Help for Flooded Families and Farms Western Wisconsin was hit with several severe rainstorms in the past few weeks. Early morning on August 11 parts of Buffalo County received 5 ½ to 11 ½ inches of rain in just 45 minutes.
Sen. Ringhand: Walker Administration planning to raid $18.6 million from veteran nursing homes Facing a massive funding deficit over the next three years, Gov. Walker’s Department of Veteran Affairs is planning to raid $18.6 million from veteran nursing homes.
Sen. Hansen: Governor continues to ignore 1 million Wisconsin residents with student loans Once again the Governor has chosen to ignore the nearly 1 million Wisconsin residents who have over $19 billion in student loan debt, much of it at high interest rates forcing many of them to forego buying a new car, their first home, or even getting married and starting a family.
Sen. Lassa column: Public Schools Still Reeling from Funding Cuts Our children’s future depends on our giving them the best educational opportunities we can.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Caring for our Senior Citizens" Senator Tim Carpenter offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today regarding care for Wisconsin senior citizens.
Sen. Vinehout column: Where Did All that Money Go? Earlier this year, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that WEDC’s claims of jobs created were based on “faulty calculations”.
Sen. Hansen: New Amber Lights Rule Will Make Getting On and Off the School Bus Safer State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said that new rules regarding the use of amber lights on school busses will make it safer for students getting on and off school buses and help prevent accidents.
Sen. Lassa column: Wisconsin 49th in Internet Speed Our state’s telecommunication companies and cooperatives have been working to bring faster internet to more areas, but the state has not provided the active leadership we need to stay competitive.
Sen. Erpenbach: Wisconsin Schools Funded Below 2010 Levels These cuts for schools come at a time when Republican tax breaks have signed a seemingly blank check for new tax breaks for Wisconsin’s wealthiest, with recent reports highlighting the 11 millionaires in Wisconsin getting a combined $21 million in tax breaks just next year.
Sen. Shilling: School funding remains below 2010 levels School districts across Wisconsin have seen their funding cut by hundreds of millions of dollars since Gov. Walker and Republican legislators took control in Madison.
Sen. Bewley: More For Millionaires, Less For Our Schools Memo confirms that the three recent Republican budgets have funneled hundreds of millions more to millionaires and unaccountable voucher schools while cutting general aid to over 75% of the school districts in the state.
Sen. Lassa column: Purple Heart Reminds Us of the Sacrifices Made for Freedom In this season when we exercise our right as citizens to engage in self-government, we should remember what we owe to those who fought and died to preserve that right.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Celebrate the Wisconsin State Fair" Senator Tim Carpenter offered the Democratic Weekly Radio address today highlighting the great tradition of the Wisconsin State Fair.
Sen. Lassa column: Fighting the Brutal, Invisible Crime of Human Trafficking The crime of human trafficking may be largely invisible in our communities, but the suffering of its victims is very real.
Sen. Shilling: Applauds ruling in voter rights case U.S. District Judge James Peterson struck down a series of Republican laws designed to disenfranchise Wisconsin voters.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Your Local County Fair, More Than Just a Fun Time" Senator Janet Bewley offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address encouraging Wisconsinites to attend their local county fair.
Sen. Shilling: Democrats oppose veteran service cuts Democrats are committed to protecting Wisconsin veterans and we will continue to defend their ability to access benefits through local CVSOs.
Sen. Hansen: Requests Independent Review of Green Bay Correctional Institution In less than a year there have been three attacks on staff and correctional officers, including physical assaults, stabbings and the throwing of boiling water on an officer that have resulted in significant injuries.
Sen. Erpenbach: Veterans Services Best Delivered in Counties with Direct Veteran-to-Veteran Support From limiting access to benefits programs to blocking grants without proper legal authority, the DVA has targeted CVSO’s and it needs to stop.
Sen. Lassa column: State Bee Population Hit Hard Wisconsin lost nearly two thirds of its honey bee population last winter, according to the USDA.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Wisconsin transportation shortfall: Just fix it" Senator Janis Ringhand offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today regarding the transportation funding shortfall.
Sen. Lassa column: Fun Ways to Prevent Summer Slide It’s summer, and school-aged kids are finding all kinds of ways to have fun, from a trip to the pool or playground to catching Pokémon with smart phones.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Preserving Our Shared Resources" Senator Chris Larson offered the Democratic Weekly Radio address today urging greater protection of Wisconsin's shared public lands and waters.
Sen. Lassa column: Childhood Poverty Can Do Permanent Harm to the Brain Because the brains of very young children develop rapidly, the brain’s reaction to toxic levels of stress can cause very fundamental problems.
Sen. Erpenbach: Urges repeal of unconstitutional Wisconsin laws Caring for the health of women in Wisconsin should not be threatened by outdated laws passed by a misguided Legislature.
Sen. Shilling: Dems call for restoration of health rights After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Republican abortion restrictions and rejected an appeal by Gov. Walker, Democrats say an update to Wisconsin statutes is needed to fully restore individual health rights.
Sen. Bewley: Manufacturers Tax Credit Equals Fewer New Job In the three years before the soon-to-be $209 million giveaway took effect, Wisconsin added three times as many manufacturing jobs.
Sen. Ringhand: It’s Time to Invest in Our Transportation System The result of Walker’s directive, according to the Secretary, is “that the non-backbone system, which is about 90 percent of the state highway system, is going to continue to deteriorate in condition" and “it would delay highway projects throughout the state.”
Sen. Lassa column: Huge Tax Giveaway Benefits Mostly Millionaires Wisconsin continues to lag behind the national average and other Midwestern states in new job creation, and many of the jobs that have been created pay less than the ones we lost.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Celebrating Our Independence" Senator Chris Larson offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today regarding Independence Day.
Sen. Shilling: Democrats encouraged by infrastructure discussion Investing in infrastructure is one of the key priorities laid out by Senate Democrats in the Badger Blueprint plan.
Sen. Dave Hansen: Tax Breaks for the Top 1%, Cuts in Support for Middle Class Families Critical road construction projects and local road repairs are delayed because Republicans are unwilling to adequately fund the transportation budget. They even refuse to help nearly 1 million residents refinance their student loans at lower rates.
Senator Vinehout Column: Delight in the Sun! “Don’t you want to sit in the shade?” my sister-in-law asked. “No” I replied. I love the sun. I understand why ancient civilizations worshiped the sun. Somehow, I think my in-laws, Cindy and Norm, love the sun too.
Sen. Shilling: Unconstitutional GOP abortion restrictions rejected Wisconsin Democrats remain committed to protecting a woman's freedom to choose and the ability of doctors to deliver the highest standard of medical care.
Sen. Lassa column: On Education, GOP Actions Speak Louder than Words Across the state, more communities have voted to raise property taxes to make up for the Republicans’ cuts in state school aid.
Sen. Larson: U.S. Supreme Court Ruling a Victory for Women and Families The Supreme Court has powerfully reaffirmed a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about her health, family, and future, no matter her zip code.
Sen. Erpenbach: Statement on the US Supreme Court decision to reject admitting privileges and clinic shutdown laws The decision of the US Supreme Court to protect a woman’s right to access reproductive health care in Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt is essential for our sisters, wives, mothers and daughters.
Sen. Shilling: Memo highlights drastic Republican school cuts Since Republicans took control in 2011, funding increased by $911 for each private voucher student while public school students saw their general school aid funding cut by $210 per pupil.
Sen. Bewley: GOP Shortchanges 854,000 Students to Benefit Voucher Operators Cutting state general aid for public schools and shifting the money to voucher schools demonstrates the need to restore Wisconsin’s public education as a priority.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Advancing LGBTQ Rights" Senator Tim Carpenter offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today commemorating PRIDE Month and honoring the victims of Orlando.
Senator Vinehout Column: Don’t Click on that Email from the IRS! In my inbox was an official looking email from the “Internal Revenue Service”. The subject line was: “Tax return request submitted”. Without thinking, I clicked on the attachment to the email.
Sen. Lassa column: There is Help for PTSD We owe veterans who faced peril to preserve our freedom the best possible care for all their injuries, including the invisible ones like PTSD.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Reflections of Freedom on Juneteenth Day" MADISON – Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today commemorating Juneteenth Day.
Senator Vinehout Column: Birth, Life and Death of a Bad Idea “No one had any inkling this was happening,” Michael Blumenfeld told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We are just scratching our heads. Why would you do this?” Mr. Blumenfeld spoke for the Wisconsin Family Care Association in early spring of 2015.
Senator Lassa Column: Family Care, IRIS Victory Shows That Citizen Action Still Works Seniors and people with disabilities won a tremendous victory recently when the state Department of Health Services withdrew its plan to privatize two vital health care programs. More than 55,000 Wisconsin citizens rely on Family Care and IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct), two Medicaid-funded programs that provide home care and other services to help disabled and elderly individuals live with independence and dignity.
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on DHS withdraw of FamilyCare 2.0 Concept Paper from Joint Committee on Finance “This has been a yearlong battle for the nearly 60,000 people in this state who participate in Family Care and IRIS and the people who love them. They have organized, battled, advocated, and stressed.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Celebrating June Dairy Month" MADISON – Senator Janis Ringhand offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today celebrating June Dairy Month.
Senator Hansen: Governor Walker, Legislative Republicans Failing Wisconsin College Students (Madison)--This week the UW System announced student fee increases needed to bridge the gap created by funding cuts imposed by Walker and legislative Republicans since they took power in 2011. In addition, UW System President Ray Cross will be asking the Board of Regents to seek a 33% biennial increase in need-based financial aid from the state.
Senator Bewley: Another Hit Coming For UW System Students MADISON – New fee hikes are the latest bad news for UW System Students, according to Senator Janet Bewley (D-Delta), a key supporter of the UW System and member of the Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges.
Senator Lassa Column: Wisconsin’s Conservation Laws Must Be Enforced One thing that brings us together as Wisconsinites is our love of the outdoors. From conservation pioneers like Aldo Leopold to conservation-minded governors like Warren Knowles and Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin people of all political persuasions have understood our responsibility to preserve our forests, grasslands, waterways and wetlands for our children and grandchildren to learn from and enjoy.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Wisconsin Marriage Equality Anniversary" MADISON – Today, Senator Janet Bewley offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address regarding the anniversary of the Wisconsin ruling regarding marriage equality.
Senator Lassa Column: Summer Lets Us Get Back to the Land Now that summer has officially started, many of us are eager to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors. Not only does warmer weather give us the chance to hike, bike, swim and picnic in Wisconsin's many scenic locations, but soon the land will be offering its bounty of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and other locally raised products.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Commemorating Memorial Day" MADISON – Senator Tim Carpenter offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address today commemorating Memorial Day.
Senator Shilling: Visits local businesses, attends solar project groundbreaking HILLSBORO, WI – From listening sessions and community gatherings to local business tours and groundbreakings, Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) is getting a firsthand glimpse at the progress being made in communities throughout the Driftless Region. Most recently, she attended the groundbreaking for a local solar project and visited with staff at the METCO headquarters in Hillsboro to learn about their growing success.
Senator Lassa: New Evidence that Wisconsin’s Middle Class in Decline A new report by the Pew Research Center sheds light on a problem Wisconsin’s middle-class families are all too aware of. In nearly all of Wisconsin’s metro areas the percentage of those in the middle class fell between 2000 and 2014.
Senator Hansen: Republicans’ efforts to give themselves political tenure should not go unnoticed by the court “GOP gerrymandering goes on trial today in federal court in a case that almost certainly will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senator Lassa: Urges Governor to Fund Veterans Services MADISON – State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) called on Governor Scott Walker to address a change in veterans service funding that is resulting in most funding requests from County Veterans Service Offices (CVSO) being denied.
Senator Hansen: Funding Cuts to County Veterans Service Offices Jeopardize Veterans Health (Madison)—In response to recent news that a survey of County Veterans Service Offices found nearly half of all CVSOs funding requests were denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs, State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) called on Governor Walker to restore the grants as soon as possible.
Senator Shilling: Urges Governor, lawmakers to restore local veteran grants LA CROSSE – Thousands of veterans across Wisconsin will be impacted after Gov. Walker’s Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) decided to deny grant funding for several counties. The move to deny funding for several County Veteran Service Offices (CVSOs) across the state follows a recent attempt by Republican lawmakers to close local offices and limit access to veteran services and benefits.
Senator Erpenbach: Local Veteran to Veteran Counseling at Risk Again at the Hands of DVA Madison – State Senator Jon Erpenbach is asking Governor Walker to order the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to immediately reopen the grants process for the County Veteran’s Service Offices because the agency is denying grant applications without administrative criteria for the denials. Erpenbach sent the letter today.
Senator Larson: Statement on Milwaukee Bucks Labor Agreement Madison, WI – Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding today’s landmark labor agreement announcement by the Milwaukee Bucks and the Alliance for Good Jobs.
$15 per hour minimum wage, strong worker protections and quality jobs a major victory for Wisconsin families MILWAUKEE – A newly signed agreement between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Alliance for Good Jobs is raising workplace standards and transforming traditional low-wage jobs into family-supporting career opportunities for Wisconsin workers.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Smoke-free workplace law anniversary" MADISON – Today, Senator Janet Bewley offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address regarding the anniversary of the smoke-free workplace law.
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Celebrating Bike to Work Week" MADISON – Today, Senator Chris Larson offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address regarding Bike to Work Week.
Senator Vinehout Column: Recovery Court Celebrates Ten Years of Changing Lives Addiction may begin in a very private way. But, healing from addiction can take a village and can be very public. “This is a big challenge,” Taavi McMahon, the Trempealeau County District Attorney told me. “People get up in front of everyone in open court and spill the beans about their whole life.”
Senator Lassa Column: Time to Talk about Mental Health “Your mind and body are on high alert for no obvious reason.” “Your head is surrounded by a thick, black, unrelenting fog.” “You’re frightened and confused and you don’t want to tell other people what’s going on.”
Senator Shilling: Facing potential deficit, Walker borrows $101 million MADISON – With more than a year left under the state’s current budget plan, Gov. Walker is resorting to a costly borrowing scheme to avert a potential budget deficit. Commonly referred to as a “scoop and toss” accounting maneuver, Gov. Walker’s irresponsible debt plan will delay state loan payments and increase the amount of interest owed by state taxpayers.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Celebrate Mother's Day and Women's Health Week" MADISON – Senator Janet Bewley (D-Delta) offered the Democratic Weekly Radio address today reflecting on Mother's Day and the start of Women's Health Week.
Senator Lassa Column: Teacher Appreciation and Wisconsin's Teacher Shortage Every year in early May we celebrate Teacher Recognition Week as a way to recognize the tremendous work that our educators perform each day in teaching the students in their classrooms. We all can remember those special teachers who helped guide us to become the people we are today because they cared, inspired and believed in us.
Senator Erpenbach Column: Federal Bill Gives WI Another Chance to Capitalize That fact that Wisconsin taxpayers have missed out on hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal government as a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA-ObamaCare) implementation is not new news. One of the few states that to say “no thanks we don’t want our own tax dollars back, please send it to Illinois or Texas” has been a painful decision to watch as students cannot graduate because classes are cut, potholes get bigger and another school referendum hits property taxpayer’s pocketbook.
Senator Hansen: New Claims of Tax Dollars Being Given to Companies Engaged in Outsourcing Wisconsin Jobs: “The problems with WEDC never seem to stop. Once again we are finding out that a company (Grainger Industrial Supply) that has received thousands in taxpayer dollars for the purpose of creating jobs has not only failed to create a single job, but that it is sending Wisconsin jobs to Panama.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Workers' Memorial Day" MADISON – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic Weekly Radio address today reflecting on the importance of Workers' Memorial Day.
Senator Lassa: Congratulates MREA on Tourism Grant MADISON – State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the follow statement to congratulate the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) on receiving a $25,000 Joint Effort Marketing Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for its “Point Back to the Land” promotion:
Senator Lassa Column: WWBIC Model Shows the Way Forward for Job Creation The recently-completed legislative session saw no fewer than 21 separate bills introduced dealing with various aspects of job creation and economic development. This doesn’t count the provisions in the state budget bill that ended most of the state’s economic development lending and dramatically cut the budget of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Celebrating Earth Day" MADISON – Today, Senator Chris Larson offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address regarding Earth Day and the future of our Wisconsin environment.
Senator Lassa: Missing Children Bill Signed Into Law Madison – A bill that will improve the way out-of-home child care givers report when children in their care are missing, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), was signed into law by Governor Walker today.
Senator Lassa Column: More Treatment Options Needed for Alcohol Abuse I received a heart-wrenching email from a constituent recently. Several years ago, she sought help for her son, who suffered from alcoholism and was ready to seek treatment. They contacted a local treatment center, but they were told that there was no inpatient treatment available. Two days later, he was arrested for drunk driving, and has been in jail ever since.
Senator Bewley: Talking With Fourth Graders For many fourth graders in southern and central Wisconsin, spring means a trip to the State Capitol as part of the required study of Wisconsin's geography, history, culture and government. For most Northern schools, a trip to Madison is not possible, so I do my best to bring the State Capitol to them.
Senator Vinehout Column: Like the County Fair? Love 4H? Big Changes Coming to UW Extension “We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.”
Senator Lassa Column: Shining a Spotlight on Child Sexual Abuse For me, some of the most poignant moments in the Academy Award-winning movie Spotlight are the scenes in which adult victims of child sexual abuse speak of the experiences they’ve been keeping secret for years. Based on a true story, the movie makes clear that the shame and anger that are so often the result of child sexual abuse can last for many years and change the victim’s life.
Senator Hansen: Statement on Equal Pay Day “Women play a critical role in the workplace, in our families and in our society. Yet there is a continuing disparity that exists in how their efforts and contributions continue to be devalued compared to men by too many employers and the politicians who represent them.
Senator Lassa: Lawmakers Hold First Children’s Caucus MADISON – The Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators headed by Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), heard a series of presentations on evidence-informed policy for improving the lives of children at its first meeting today.
Senator Lassa: Groundwater Presentation Set for Tonight Madison – Representatives of the Water Division of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will discuss the final outcome of their project to develop a groundwater flow and optimization model for the Little Plover River basin and the surrounding areas of the Central Sands Region at a meeting in Stevens Point this evening from 6 to 8 p.m.
Senator Shilling: Address Confidentiality Bill signed into law LA CROSSE – Bipartisan legislation co-authored by Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to create an Address Confidentiality Program and strengthen protections for survivors of domestic abuse, stalking and sex trafficking was signed into law yesterday as 2015 Wisconsin Act 356.
Senator Larson: The Numbers Don’t Lie: Wisconsin Loses Under GOP Failed Leadership Madison – State Senator Chris Larson released the following statement regarding the failure of Walker and legislative Republicans to keep jobs numbers in pace with the rest of the nation.
Senators Hansen and Bewley: Request Public Hearing on UW System Budget Cuts (Madison)— State Senators Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) have requested that the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges hold a public hearing to allow the chancellors of the UW System campuses to explain how their campuses are coping with the $250 million in budget cuts over the biennium.
Senator Shilling: Unconstitutional Right-to-Work only part of the problem MADISON – As Republicans scramble to defend their unconstitutional Right-to-Work law, many are asking: “Why?” The law, supported by out-of-state billionaires like Donald Trump, has contributed to Wisconsin’s job stagnation and economic uncertainty.
Senator Shilling: Statement on Right to Work ruling MADISON – After reviewing the "Right to Work" legislation passed by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans, the court system has determined that the law violates Wisconsin's Constitution. Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
Senator Larson: Statement on "Right to Work" Court Ruling MADISON – The following is a statement from Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) on today’s court decision from Dane County Judge William Foust, which struck down Wisconsin’s so-called “Right-to-Work” (RTW) law that was rammed through the Legislature by Republicans last year.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Children’s Caucus Seeks Evidence-Based Solutions" STEVENS POINT, WI – Today, Senator Julie Lassa (D–Stevens Point) offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio Address on Wisconsin’s first Legislative Children’s Caucus.
Senator Hansen: Decision to Scrap Public Briefing on Effect of Budget Cuts to Local UW Campuses The decision by Ray Cross to cancel the planned public briefing by UW chancellors on the impact of Governor Walker’s cuts at this week’s UW Regents meeting is troubling news for any taxpayer, parent or student who wants to know the true impact of the Governor’s and Republicans’ cuts to their local campuses.
Senator Shilling: Dems question last-minute cancellation of UW budget presentations MADISON – Days before a high-profile meeting of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, questions are being raised about the abrupt cancellation of a public presentation by UW chancellors regarding the impact of state funding cuts.
Senator Vinehout Column: Spending the Weekend Watching Game Film When the game is over the coaches go into the film room to see where the breakdown was in play execution. The best game plan in the world is not any good if the team does not execute it.
Democratic Members JFC: Board of Regents Cancels Public Presentation on Campus Budget Cuts Madison – Today, the Democrats on the Joint Committee on Finance sent a letter to the University Of Wisconsin Board Of Regents regarding their abrupt announcement that they were cancelling a public presentation by UW chancellors about how state funding cuts will be implemented on each campus.
Senator Lassa Column: Children’s Caucus Looks to Improve Quality of Life for Kid To commemorate April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month, I will join Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and a bipartisan group of legislators to announce the creation of the Legislature’s first Children’s Caucus on April 12.
Senator Lassa: Groundwater Presentation Set for April 12 Madison – Representatives of the Water Division of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will discuss the final outcome of their project to develop a groundwater flow and optimization model for the Little Plover River basin and the surrounding areas of the Central Sands Region at a meeting in Stevens Point on April 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Senator Shilling: Voter System Crash Causes Statewide Concern MADISON – In response to today’s statewide server failure that prevented local clerks from registering voters and DMV offices from issuing state identification cards, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling released the following statement:
Senator Lassa: Statement on Voter System Crash Madison –State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to news that problems with the state government computer network were impacting people’s ability to register and vote:
Senator Vinehout Column: The Voting Window is Quickly Closing “We’ve got to go to the clerk and get your ballot sent to college,” I said to my son. “Aw Mom. Is this election really that important?” he asked. “YES!” I answered. Maybe I added a little too much emphasis.
Senator Lassa: Children First Bill Becomes Law Madison – A bill to expand Children First services to more Wisconsin counties, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) was signed into law in a ceremony at the Governor’s office today.
Senator Lassa: Election Law Changes Require Preparation, Patience Recent changes in Wisconsin elections laws mean that your voting experience on April 5 may be quite different than in the past. The following advice from the Government Accountability Board will help you understand your rights and requirements on Election Day.
Senator Hansen: Warning: Photocopying Driver’s License to Vote Absentee May Not Work (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) warned absentee voters today that photocopying your driver’s license to send along with your absentee ballot may not work and might not be accepted.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Early voting in Wisconsin has begun" Madison, WI – Today, Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) offered the Democratic weekly radio address on early voting in Wisconsin.
Senator Hansen: Bi-partisan Kickboxing Bill Signed into Law (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced today that legislation that would extend mixed martial arts regulations to the sport of kickboxing and other unarmed combat sports was signed into law by the Governor.
Senator Lassa Column: This Legislative Session Gets a Grade of “Incomplete” Although it’s still early spring, the leadership for the majority party in the Senate and Assembly say that the legislature will not come back to the floor again this year, and so the current legislative session appears to be over. Reporters often ask legislators to give a letter grade to the session that just ended, so I thought this would be a good time to review some of the high and low points of the 2015-2016 legislative biennium.
Senator Shilling Column: Wisconsin is full of potential After a vigorous debate over Christmas Trees and plastic bags, the Wisconsin State Senate adjourned for the year leaving hundreds of bills dead in committee. Years of Republican control have left Wisconsin in a worse position. Family wages remain stagnant and Wisconsin has trailed the nation in job creation for seventeen consecutive quarters. We have seen attacks on our local schools, higher education, worker’s rights, women’s health, and open records laws.
Senator Vinehout Column: The Next Well that Goes Bad May be Yours “I feel like the state failed to protect the people,” Stacy told me. “Nobody really cares because it’s not affecting them.” Stacy is one of several Lincoln Township residents in Trempealeau County who lived through two years of well problems. An industrial sand mine and processing plant set up shop in the neighborhood.
Senator Shilling: Leadership of Senators Bewley & Ringhand recognized with additional appointments MADISON – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) has appointed Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Delta) to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Board and Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) to the Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR).
Senator Hansen: Senate Passes Resolution Honoring Rosemary Hinkfuss (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced today that prior to concluding its 2015-16 Legislative Session the State Senate passed a resolution honoring the life of Rosemary Hinkfuss.
Senator Hansen: Senate Republicans: “We Can’t Afford Our Own Affordability Plan” (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) issued the following statement in response to the Senate Republicans’ failure on student loans:
Senator Lassa: Lassa Bills Pass Legislature in Final Session Madison – A bill to expand Children First services to more Wisconsin counties was among five proposals authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) cleared the Wisconsin Senate today during its final scheduled regular floor session for the current biennium.
Senator Lassa Column: Sunshine Week Highlights Open Government Setbacks, Victories This is Sunshine Week, the week that news outlets opine about the importance of open government laws and the public’s right to know. It’s a hot topic in Wisconsin; recent months have seen some of the most direct attacks on transparent government in recent memory. Sunshine Week is a reminder that citizens need to remain alert, because there have been repeated attempts to weaken their ability to know what their government is doing.
Senator Shilling: Senate Republicans Call It Quits MADISON – With Senate Republicans poised to adjourn the legislative session today, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling released the following statement:
Senator Lassa: Legislative Republicans Go Home with Crucial Work Left Undone MADISON – State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today as Republican lawmakers ended the current legislative session for the year weeks ahead of schedule:
Senator Shilling: GOP all talk, no action on student loan debt MADISON – Senate Republicans are planning to adjourn the legislative session after tomorrow’s floor period leaving dozens of bills to wither and die in committee. Several proposals that would address Wisconsin’s $19 billion student loan debt crisis are among the proposals that Republicans have refused to take up.
Senator Lassa: Lawmakers Announce Launch of Children’s Caucus MADISON – To mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a group of bipartisan legislators headed by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) announced the organization of the first Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Celebrate open government with Sunshine Week 2016" Madison, WI – Today, Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic weekly radio address on Sunshine Week and the importance of Wisconsin's open records laws.
Senator Shilling: DOC audit needed to improve safety MADISON – In light of ongoing child safety concerns at the state’s juvenile corrections facility, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) has joined Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and over forty state legislators in calling for an audit of the Department of Corrections.
Senator Lassa Column: Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol: 75 Years of Vigilance Recently, we’ve recalled the anniversaries of many of the events of the Second World War. One such anniversary will commemorate the birth of the Wisconsin Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, which has been flying Wisconsin’s skies and providing vital services to those on the ground for nearly 75 years.
Senator Shilling: Hate speech is not “irrelevant” MADISON – Upon learning of Gov. Walker’s refusal to condemn Justice Rebecca Bradley’s inappropriate, offensive and hurtful remarks, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
Senator Vinehout: Calls for Corrections Audit “The Department of Corrections is facing severe difficulties that require our immediate response,” said State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma). “I call upon my fellow members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to approve an audit of DOC. This audit is necessary to address grave issues of safety, overcrowding, repeat offenders, mental illness among inmates and management issues that are costing the state in dollars and safety of residents.”
Senator Hansen: Senate Republicans Continue to Block Student Loan Refinancing (Madison)--Led by Senator Sheila Harsdorf, Chair of the Senate Universities and Technical Colleges Committee, Senate Republicans continued to block efforts to approve student loan refinancing when the committee voted on a handful of GOP bills that they claimed were aimed at addressing the high cost of higher education.
Senator Vinehout Column: Budget Cuts to Education Cost All of Us “We hired a great inorganic chemistry professor last year,” Mike, a UW-River Falls chemistry professor, told me. “Unfortunately she’s leaving in May for St. Olaf.” I visited St. Olaf in Northfield, Minnesota. They have a great chemistry department.
Senator Lassa: Bill to Help Local Small Business Becomes Law Madison – A bill to help a Wisconsin Rapids small business expand its special event offerings, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc), was signed by Governor Walker in a ceremony at the State Capitol today.
Senator Lassa Column: Tax Credits Help Working Families, Seniors By now, most of us have our W2s and other tax forms in hand and are preparing to file our tax returns. I find that many of my constituents may not realize that they could qualify for tax breaks they may not have qualified for previously. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Homestead Credit are two such tax breaks specifically designed to help lower income working families or seniors on a fixed income.
Senator Shilling: Child abuse cover-up continues as GOP ignores reports MADISON – Republican legislators responsible for overseeing child safety laws have ignored years of child abuse reports and failed to hold Gov. Walker’s administration accountable for the growing child abuse crisis at Lincoln Hills.
Senator Shilling: Named a 2016 "Friend of Housing" MADISON – Construction workers and small business owners recently gathered in the state capital for the Wisconsin Builders Association's (WBA) annual Business Day. In addition to meeting with legislators to discuss issues important to the construction industry, WBA members presented Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) with a 2016 "Friend of Housing” award.
Shilling: Statement on Harris Dodd announcement MADISON – After Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) announced she would not be seeking re-election this year, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
Senator Harris Dodd: Will Not Seek Re-election MILWAUKEE – Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) announced today that she will not seek re-election in 2016. Senator Harris Dodd was elected to the 6th Senate District in 2013.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Keeping children and communities safe" Madison, WI – Today, Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) offered the Democratic weekly radio address on child safety concerns and under-staffing issues in Wisconsin correctional institutions.
Senator Shilling: Applauds local solar investments LA CROSSE – Western Wisconsin will see an influx of new jobs and economic development as a result of significant investments in solar power by local utility providers. Dairyland Power Cooperative announced a major investment in twelve new Wisconsin-based solar power facilities today while Xcel Energy unveiled their plan to create Wisconsin’s largest community solar garden project.
Senator Vinehout Column: People Make a Difference Despite Haste at Capitol “What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to keep the legislature and the governor from passing/signing house bill 554? It scares the heck out of me,” wrote Claudia from Eau Claire. “I know that Kathleen will vote against this terrible bill, but no doubt against the odds,” Sarah wrote from Eau Claire.
Senator Lassa Column: Fire Safety Bill A Casualty of Late Night Trick The final days of the legislative session are always hectic and frustrating, and this year the craziness is made even worse by Republican leadership’s insistence on going home early. The Assembly Republicans announced that they’re already done working for the year. As a result, many proposals are in limbo, and may even die. That includes a bill that some young people in the City of Pittsville have been trying to get passed for nearly eight years.
Senator Shilling: Lincoln Hills cover-up continues as GOP ignores crisis MADISON - Nearly three months after law enforcement officials raided the Lincoln Hills juvenile corrections facility, Legislative Republicans have yet to take any steps to address the facility’s serious security deficiencies, understaffing issues and child safety concerns. The inexplicable delays have intensified public calls for legislative action.
Senator Hansen: Praises Public’s Role in Defeat of Controversial Water Bill (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said today that public backlash against a bill that would make it easier to turn control of public drinking water over to out-of-state corporations led to the bill’s apparent demise in the State Senate.
Senator Lassa: Stevens Point Junior Named As Senate Scholar MADISON – Stevens Point Area High School junior Erin Tschida has been selected to participate in the Wisconsin State Senate’s “Senate Scholar” program, Senator Julie Lassa (D–Stevens Point) announced. Tschida is the daughter of Kelly Mortenson and Ron Tschida of Stevens Point.
Senator Shilling: Gov. Walker signs bills limiting birth control access MADISON – After Gov. Walker signed two bills targeting Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s federal funding and limiting access to birth control, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
Senator Vinehout Column: “This Land is Our Land” Or it used to be…" One of the best spots to ice fish is south of Alma just down the dugway from Carrol Iberg’s rural home. Down there “ice fishing is really good,” Mr. Iberg told me. He fished five days a week and caught mostly pan fish, and a few northern and bass.
Senator Shilling: ‘Height of Hypocrisy’ as GOP blocks Winnebago Co. Executive from holding office MADISON – Senate Republicans voted to pass Senate Bill 707 today while once again refusing to take up the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill and address Wisconsin’s growing student loan debt crisis. SB 707 was introduced by Republican Party leaders to block Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democratic candidate in the 18th Senate District, from serving in the Legislature.
Senator Hansen: Senate Passes Bi-partisan Kickboxing Bill (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said today that legislation that would extend mixed martial arts regulations to the sport of kickboxing and other unarmed combat sports is on its way to becoming law after passing the State Senate on a voice vote.
Senator Lassa Column: USO Wisconsin Month Celebrates 75 Years of Service I had the chance to travel to La Crosse a couple of weeks ago to take part in a ceremony marking the opening of the new United Service Organizations (USO) facility at the La Crosse Regional Airport. The center will serve as a VIP lounge for service members and their families traveling to Fort McCoy and across the state. This new facility is a wonderful addition to the USO’s presence in Wisconsin, as it continues its historic mission of serving those who serve our country.
Senator Shilling: Republicans break promise to public schools, push last-minute $14 million cut MADISON – The State Assembly is set to ram through a last-minute change (AB 751) to the school funding formula today that will cut another $14 million in revenue limit authority from public schools in the 2016-17 school year. The change, which breaks a major promise that Republicans made to schools, is being pushed by special interest groups to appease far-right wing activists.
Senator Shilling: Another session of Republican inaction on student loan debt MADISON – With just days left in the current legislative session, Republican legislators have yet to put forward any substantive solutions to lower current student loan payments for the nearly one million student loan borrowers in Wisconsin.
Senator Shilling: Questions GOP obstruction on child abuse scandal MADISON – As the FBI continues to investigate a range of criminal activity within Gov. Walker’s Department of Corrections, the failure of administration officials to disclose public records, case details and staffing information is raising new concerns.
JFC Dems Decry Lack of Public Input Into FamilyCare 2.0 Madison – Joint Committee on Finance Democratic members are encouraging participants and advocates for Wisconsin’s long term care system to attend the March 7th public hearings on the concept plan to restructure the state’s FamilyCare and IRIS programs. Unfortunately, the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the only two, two-hour hearings on the concept plan will be held, and that they will take place on the same day in two different regions of the state.
Senator Shilling: Statement on Sec. Wall resignation FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 12, 2016 Contact: Tony Palese, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-266-5490 Shilling statement on Sec. Wall resignation MADISON – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement regarding the resignation of Gov. Walker’s Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall:
Senator Lassa: Stevens Point Senior Becomes Senate Scholar MADISON – Stevens Point High School senior Mary Siebert has been selected to participate in the Wisconsin State Senate’s “Senate Scholar” program, Senator Julie Lassa (D–Stevens Point) announced.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "GOP suppresses voter registration" STEVENS POINT, WI – Today, Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) offered the Democratic weekly radio address on the recent changes made to elections in Wisconsin.
Senator Hansen: Resolution Reaffirming Children’s Outdoor Heritage Passes (Madison)—The Legislature reaffirmed the right of every Wisconsin child to be able to enjoy Wisconsin’s natural resources and to encourage parents make time to get their children involved in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, swimming, boating, skiing or hiking.
Senator Shilling: Senate Republicans attack voter rights again MADISON – In a move decried by non-partisan election watchdog groups, Senate Republicans passed SB 295 which will eliminate Special Registration Deputies and make it nearly impossible to conduct voter registration drives in Wisconsin. In response, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
Senator Shilling: Applauds passage of “Safe at Home Bill” MADISON – A bipartisan proposal co-authored by Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) passed the State Senate and Assembly today. Senate Bill 488, also known as the “Safe at Home Bill,” would create an Address Confidentiality Program and strengthen protections for survivors of domestic abuse, stalking and sex trafficking.
Senator Lassa Column: GOP Still Tampering with Our Democracy Although Republicans in the state legislature have paid little attention over the past seven years to strengthening our public schools, fixing our roads or getting our state’s economy on track, they have zeroed in on changing our state’s election laws. The majority of these provisions have been aimed at making it harder for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to have a say in their government by voting.
Senator Lassa: Governor Signs Official Notice Bill Madison — A bill that standardizes the deadline by which municipal clerks must publish notice of official budget actions in local newspapers, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker at a ceremony in the State Capitol today.
Senator Vinehout Column: Farmers Seek Action and Answers at the Capitol “Just get it done!” The farmer was referring to a bill to change rules on high capacity wells. I listened. The chances of passing the bill are dim. Solving groundwater problems in Wisconsin is complex.
Senator Lassa Column: As Other States Invest in Higher Ed, Wisconsin Lags Behind At the height of the Great Recession in 2009, many states were forced to cut funding for higher education as they struggled to cope with massive revenue shortfalls in the wake of a global economic meltdown. As the economy began to recover, however, most states began reinvesting in their public colleges and universities. It was a smart move.
Senator Shilling: Senate Republicans getting desperate MADISON – In a desperate and unprecedented effort to rig local elections, Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has proposed changing state statutes to block Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democratic candidate in the 18th Senate District, from serving in the legislature.
Senator Risser: Bill Will Prohibit Sale and Purchase of Ivory (MADISON)—State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) is proposing legislation that would prohibit the sale and purchase of ivory.
Senator Lassa: Two Workforce Bills Get Hearing Madison — Two bills that would use student loan debt relief to encourage skilled workers to live in Wisconsin, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), received a hearing today in the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Dems propose bill to strengthen workplace flexibility" MADISON – Senator Janis Ringhand (Evansville) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Ringhand highlighted legislation she introduced with her Democratic colleagues to increase workplace flexibility.
Senator Lassa: Bill to Cut Veterans Services Being Rushed Through Legislature MADISON – A bill that would allow counties to eliminate their County Veterans Service Officers (CVSOs), being rushed through the legislature in the final days of the current session, would cause serious harm to the state’s veterans, according to Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton).
Senator Vinehout Column: Dismantling Civil Service Passes Senate Despite Disturbing Debate One by one Senators stood on the Senate floor and told of secret meetings held with state workers. Supervisors had forbid employees to talk with their elected representatives. Employees felt intimidated. They wanted to improve state services but were afraid of losing their jobs if they raised questions of mismanagement.
Senator Shilling: Republican school cuts buck national trend MADISON, WI – While the majority of states across the nation are recovering from the economic recession and boosting investments in higher education, a new study shows that Wisconsin continues to head in the wrong direction. According to the Illinois State University's annual Grapevine Report, Wisconsin is one of only nine states to cut funding for higher education in the 2015-16 budget year.
Senator Lassa Column: New State Budget Numbers are a Reality Check On January 19, Governor Walker gave his State of the State speech. Declaring that “the Wisconsin comeback is real,” he lauded his budget surplus and laid out plans for new investments in higher education grants, broadband expansion, and other initiatives. Two days later, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau gave its report on the condition of the state’s general fund, and it became painfully clear that the Governor would have to rethink even these modest plans.
Senator Shilling: Democrats push Family Medical Leave Act protections MADISON – While family dynamics have changed significantly since the 1950's, many workplace policies haven't kept pace. In order to update worker protections and increase workplace flexibility, Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) and 35 other Democratic lawmakers are pushing a bill to modernize Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave law. The proposal, Senate Bill 385 (SB 385), has received broad public support but faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled legislature.
Senator Hansen: Wisconsin Economy Continues to Struggle Under GOP (Madison)—State revenue numbers released today show Wisconsin’s economy continues to underperform said State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). Numbers released today by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau show actual state revenues are nearly $100 million below earlier projections.
Senator Shilling: Budget takes $100 million hit as GOP policies drive down family wages MADISON – Updated state budget numbers show a nearly $100 million drop in revenue compared to previous estimates. The troubling numbers highlight the continued decline in family wages and debunk Gov. Walker’s latest claims about the state’s financial footing.
Senator Lassa: Children First, Public Notice Bills Advance Madison — As the final floor sessions of the 2015-2016 legislative session approach, two bills authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) are advancing through the State Legislature.
Senator Hansen: GOP Elimination of Civil Service “With today’s attack on the state’s civil service system, Senate Republicans have come full circle on their assault on open, honest government in Wisconsin that includes the rigging of state elections, eliminating the non-partisan oversight of state election and ethics laws, exempting politicians from John Doe investigations of political corruption, and opening the floodgates for secret money to influence our elections and ultimately state policy.
Senator Ringhand: Statement on Civil Service Changes “It is very disappointing that less than 24 hours after Governor Walker tried to steer a more moderate path, Wisconsin is going to significantly change civil service protections for public employees.
Senator Risser: Senate GOP Continues Attack on Women’s Healthcare State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) said that two anti-choice, anti-women bills being debated in the Senate today —AB 310 and SB 238 – both target funding for Planned Parenthood and attempt to limit access to the important healthcare services they provide.
Senator Shilling: Senate GOP ignores call for student loan debt relief MADISON – Amid growing calls for student loan relief, Senate Republicans once again refused to take up the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill. The proposal, which allows families to refinance student loan debt at lower interest rates and expands the higher education tax deduction, has broad public support but has remained stalled in the Senate for months.
Senator Hansen: Governor’s Plan Leaves 97% of Student Loan Holders at the Mercy of Wall Street “The student loan crisis is perhaps the biggest issue facing our state today with nearly 1 million Wisconsin residents holding some type of student loan. Its impact on the economy costs businesses and our economy hundreds of millions of dollars per year and the jobs those millions would create.
Senator Lassa: Governor’s Proposals Too Little, Too Late Madison — State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) released the following statement this evening in reaction to Governor Scott Walker’s State of the State Address:
Senator Ringhand: Response to the State of the State Address “While he was running for President, Governor Walker focused on the priorities of Republican primary voters and wealthy donors. Now that he has dropped out of the race, it is time to focus on things that affect everyone in Wisconsin.
Senator Harris Dodd: Statement on State of the State Address MADISON –State Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement in response to Governor Walker’s State of the State Address:
Senator Shilling: Statement on the State of the State MADISON – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement in response to Gov. Walker’s State of the State address:
Senator Lassa Column: Time to Invest in Rural Broadband Access Broadband internet access has become an indispensable resource for business and a vital part of our society. Such technologies as cloud-based computing, high-definition audio and video streaming, web conferencing, and mobile web access are all designed around internet speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (MBPS) – and even that’s considered a slow connection speed nowadays.
Senator Hansen Statement: Governor’s Opposition to Student Loan Refinancing Will Increase Brain Drain “It’s as if the Governor and the Republicans looked at the student loan crisis and asked themselves what is the least we can do and still look like we’re doing something. And then did even less.
Senator Shilling: Republican agenda features familiar ideas MADISON – With a public approval rating at 31 percent and lingering opposition to Gov. Walker’s presidential campaign, many Republican lawmakers have found themselves in a difficult position. In an effort to shift attention away from troubling poll numbers and disappointing job losses, Republican lawmakers are turning to a new source for policy ideas: Democrats.
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Dems go big and bold on student debt relief" MADISON – Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Hansen highlighted the Higher Ed. Lower Debt bill put forward by legislative Democrats which would allow borrowers to refinance their student loans.
Senator Lassa: Small Business Jobs Bills Get Hearing Madison — Two bills to boost Wisconsin’s economy, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), received a hearing by the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy today.
Senator Shilling: Dems urge action to close health coverage gap MADISON – With a fast-approaching January 31st deadline for uninsured individuals to sign up for private health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Wisconsin Democratic leaders are urging state officials to prevent individuals from losing coverage.
Senator Hansen: Bi-Partisan WEDC Fraud Bill Receives Public Hearing (Madison)—Bi-partisan legislation aimed at cracking down on individuals and businesses that commit fraud when applying for economic development assistance from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation took its first step toward passage when it received a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy.
Senator Vinehout Column: Speed and Secrecy Kill Democracy “How can we digest all your work in this short amount of time?” Senator Bewley asked the Chair of the housing committee and author of the bill before her. An amendment replacing the bill was released just before the hearing on that bill.
Senator Shilling: Wisconsin ACT scores plummet MADISON – Newly released ACT scores show a steep decline in student test results. The drop in average test score from 22.2 to 20.0 coincides with an increase in the number of Wisconsin students taking the exam and comes after several years of Republican budget cuts that have impacted public education in the state.
Senator Lassa: USO, Notice Publication Bills Pass the Assembly Madison – Two bills authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) were passed by the Wisconsin Assembly today, including a resolution, that previously passed the Senate, which declares February, 2016 USO Wisconsin Month.
Senator Ringhand: Applauds State Senates Passage of SB 330 MADISON – Today, the State Senate passed Senate Bill 330 unanimously on a voice vote. The bill, which is authored by Senator Shelia Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville), is commonly referred to as the “Cookie Bill”, and if signed into law, would allow the sale of certain home baked goods such as cookies and muffins.
Senator Lassa Column: Tax Credit Will Help Families with the High Cost of Care As I speak with people across the district and around the state, many tell me they feel like they are working harder and falling farther behind. And they’re right; real wages continue to stagnate, while the costs of basic necessities continue to rise. The few jobs being created in our state are mostly low-paying, and we’re still losing middle- and upper-income jobs.
Senator Lassa: Bipartisan Novelty Lighter Bill Passes Senate Madison — A bill to ban the sale of novelty lighters to minors, introduced by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), was approved unanimously by the Senate today. The bill now moves to the Assembly, where a companion bill has already been passed out of committee. A passing vote in that chamber would send the bill to the Governor for his signature.
Senator Shilling: Bipartisan bill strengthens child protections MADISON – A bipartisan proposal to protect children from abuse and neglect passed the State Senate today. Senate Bill 325 strengthens criminal penalties for individuals found guilty of repeatedly abusing or neglecting a child. The proposal is based on similar legislation introduced in 2013 by Sen. Jennifer Shilling, Rep. Steve Doyle and Rep. Jill Billings as part of their Drug Endangered Child Protection Bill.
Senator Hansen: Governor Fails Student Loan Holders (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said Governor Walker’s plan fails hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents with student loans because it fails to include the single biggest and most cost effective way to provide needed relief from high interest rates: allowing student loans to be refinanced at lower interest rates like car and home loans.
Senator Shilling: Dems rebuffed by Gov. Walker on student loan debt MADISON – Efforts to pass student loan debt relief hit another Republican roadblock after Gov. Walker refused to meet with Democratic legislators and discuss a student loan debt refinancing proposal. Democrats have been unable to secure a meeting with Gov. Walker to talk about this issue since he launched his presidential campaign in July 2015.
Senator Vinehout Column: Whose Property Rights Are Most Important? “My neighbor likes to expand his lot,” Kelly told me. “First he put up a stone fence on our property and then he built a jungle gym for his kids on his other neighbor’s property.” The fence stayed but the jungle gym came down.
Senator Harris Dodd: Urges Committee Chair to Hold Public Hearing on Background Checks MADISON- In response to President Obama’s recent executive actions concerning gun violence, Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) today sent a letter to Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, asking him to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 159 (SB 159) which would require background checks on the sale of all firearms in the state.
Senator Shilling: Democrats propose Corrections Reform measures to improve public safety LA CROSSE, WI – Amid growing concerns with the rise in assaults at Wisconsin’s correctional facilities, Democrats are urging immediate action to strengthen worker protections and improve public safety. In addition to the high-profile investigation into claims of child abuse and assaults at the Lincoln Hills Juvenile Detention Center, serious assaults on correctional officers have been documented this year at Green Bay, Racine, Columbia and other correctional facilities across Wisconsin.
Senator Lassa Column: Great Indoor Getaways for Cold Winter Days Now that winter weather has set in, cabin fever is right around the corner. Wisconsin offers lots of opportunities for outdoor winter recreation, but you may be looking for a family destination where you can have fun and stay warm. Fortunately, there are many great indoor attractions in central and west central Wisconsin that can offer you a chance to get out of the house on a cold winter day.
Senator Hansen: Call for Corrections Reform (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) joined calls for reforming the Department of Corrections today and to announce his support for legislation that will address staffing and safety issues at Wisconsin Correctional Institutions.
Senator Shilling: Layoffs hit new high under Gov. Walker MADISON – In a sign of growing economic turmoil, Gov. Walker’s administration quietly acknowledged over the busy holiday season that Wisconsin surpassed 10,000 layoffs last year as a result of plant closings and economic challenges.