Daily Archives: February 13, 2018

‘Get The Lead Out’ speakers and public demonstration 🗓

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Milwaukee City Hall

CONTACT: Robert Miranda, 414.469.4182
[email protected]

We are a coalition of citizens and community organizations that are fighting for the removal of toxic lead infrastructure in our Milwaukee communities. We believe a more transparent city government that puts the well-being of its citizens first and foremost is needed to build a more safe and healthy city for all. We are holding a public demonstration with speakers on February 14th, 2018, Milwaukee City Hall at 4:30p.m. All are encouraged to come and speak out on lead infrastructure that is poisoning our communities.

ACLU Wisconsin: Bipartisan legislation introduced in Wisconsin to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth correctional facilities

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CONTACT: Cass Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, 414-272-4032 x 217, [email protected]
Katy Otto, Juvenile Law Center, 215-625-0551×128, [email protected]

Milwaukee, WI (February 12, 2018) – Today the Wisconsin State Assembly introduced bipartisan legislation in the Wisconsin Capitol to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, two controversial and beleaguered youth correctional facilities. The move comes after years of federal and state investigations into the facilities, and a class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center, with pro-bono assistance from Quarles & Brady. The suit successfully resulted in a preliminary injunction this past summer meant to halt the unconstitutional use of solitary confinement and other inhumane conditions and practices against young people.

“Closing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake is the right move,” said Jessica Feierman, Associate Director of Juvenile Law Center. “However, we urge the legislature to cap the total number of secure beds in the state, and to ensure that any new facilities are small, in keeping with best practices in the field. The goal here shouldn’t be to incarcerate more youth, but rather to move youth out of large facilities where they are at risk of serious harm, and either back to their own homes or into the most family-like setting possible.”

“The legislation also establishes a Council on Juvenile Corrections and a Juvenile Grant Committee. These bodies should include system-involved youth and their families,” said Feierman. “Youth and families bring valuable insights into the needs of youth and the approaches that will work.”

Larry Dupuis, Legal Director at the ACLU of Wisconsin, said, “While we agree these facilities must be closed as soon as possible, the legislation raises concerns. Bringing youth closer to home is important, but it won’t work without meaningful state-level oversight and accountability. The risk here is that the state will replicate the mistreatment in Lincoln Hills at the new county-level facilities.”

Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake currently incarcerate about 150 children, some as young as 14 years old. Prior to the injunction, 15 to 20% percent of the youths were confined at any given time in solitary confinement cells for 22 or 23 hours a day. On top of that, guards kept many of these children in handcuffs attached to a belt around their waists, and shackled to a table or desk, during the hour or two they are allowed out of their cells. Guards throughout Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake also regularly used pepper spray on the youth, causing pain and burning while impairing their breathing and overall health.

Juvenile Law Center and ACLU of Wisconsin’s complaint asserted that these practices violated children’s constitutional rights, including their rights to substantive due process, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, as guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the foster care and justice systems.

Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. We fight for youth through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values. For more information about Juvenile Law Center’s work, visit www.JLC.org.

The ACLU of Wisconsin is a non-profit, non-partisan, private organization whose 24,000 members support its efforts to defend the civil rights and liberties of all Wisconsin residents. For more on the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our website at www.aclu-wi.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @ACLUofWisconsin and @ACLUMadison.

AFP-Wisconsin: Says ‘nyet’ to liquor tsar proposal

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Plot Was Scrapped Last Year Due to Public Outrage from Grassroots Activists

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today called on lawmakers to reject a proposal to create a massive new bureaucracy with unchecked powers to regulate distilleries, microbreweries and wineries, taverns, grocers, and others in the Badger State.  According to documents obtained by the MacIver Institute News Service and published in an explosive report today, the proposed Office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement, commonly known as the “Liquor Tsar,” would be appointed to a term longer than that of the Governor, serve without any accountability to a cabinet secretary, and have virtually carte blanche rule-writing authority. AFP-Wisconsin announced it will again mobilize its army of over 130,000 grassroots activists across the state to defeat the Liquor Tsar proposal just as it did last year.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott made the following statement:

“We believe that an unanswerable bureaucratic post with powers this vast is ripe for regulatory capture and harmful to the accountability and transparency of our democratic institutions. We encourage the legislature to reject ideas like the Liquor Tsar that serve only to increase already burdensome regulatory restrictions and instead focus their energies on breaking down the government imposed barriers that are hampering Wisconsin’s craft beverage industry. Wisconsin’s craft breweries, wineries and distillers provide livelihoods and enjoyment for thousands of people every day and should be allowed to continue to do so unabated.”

Several craft beverage producers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year that they feared the proposed Liquor Tsar could put them out of business.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

Bolen campaign: James Bolen anounces candidiacy for 25th Senate District

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CONTACT: [email protected]
715.798.1825

Cable businessman James Bolen has announced his intention to run for Wisconsin’s 25 th SenateDistrict. Bolen recently made his announcement to supporters in Rice Lake and Phillips. “I’ve proven my ability to build relationships and to get things done and as your next state senator, I’ll bring this same approach to serving the people of Northwest Wisconsin”.

Bolen has deep roots in the area. A native of Park Falls, Bolen grew up in the town of Winter, Wisconsin. After college he returned to the Cable area where he, his wife, and three children have managed a resort on Lake Owen for the past 20 years.

Bolen hopes to bring his leadership experience to Madison and build a stronger North. In
addition to running a family business, Bolen has served as the Executive Director of the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce for the past eleven years where he was honored with the Governor’s Service Excellence award for his service on the Organizing Committee for the 2015 International Paralympic Committee’s Nordic Skiing World Championships held in Cable. He’s served on the Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation board of directors since 2011, served as a volunteer fireman and SCUBA rescue diver and devotes his time to volunteering for various world-class events such as the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival and American Birkebeiner.

The 25 th District of the Wisconsin Senate is located in north-western Wisconsin and is composed of part or all of Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer, Vilas and Washburn counties. In terms of size, it is the largest district in Wisconsin.

Carbone Cancer Center:

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CONTACT: Andrew Hellpap
(608) 316-9786
[email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – A new study by UW Carbone Cancer Center researchers has found that dense breasts and inflammation are associated with poor prognosis in breast-cancer patients, and suggests that an FDA-approved drug may improve prognosis for those patients with dense breasts.

These symptoms have long been known as risk factors for developing breast cancer, but their relationship to the disease has not been clear.

“In this study we were able to analyze the inflammatory component and the extracellular matrix, or the region surrounding the cancer cells, and identify how they affect the progression of breast cancer,” said Dr. Karla Esbona, a clinical and translational researcher at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and lead author of the study. “We found that there is definitely something going on between the extracellular matrix, specifically the collagen in it, and its interaction with immune cells.”

Breast density is a clinical feature determined by mammogram and is related to the density of collagen in breast tissue. Inflammation is an immune response mediated in part by macrophages, a type of immune cell that can access the extracellular matrix and the growing tumor. Some macrophages negatively affect the tumor, but some can promote its growth.

Using early-stage breast cancer biopsy samples from 371 patients, Esbona and colleagues observed a number of features, including total collagen, how the collagen appeared structurally, macrophage presence and location and the inflammation marker COX-2. They were able to correlate these biological features with clinical features such as tumor grade, recurrence and overall survival.

They found, for example, that higher COX-2 levels and higher numbers of pro-tumor macrophages in the extracellular matrix led to poorer overall survival. They also found that, while total collagen deposition in the extracellular matrix did not have any effect on survival, if collagen fibers were aligned with each other and crosswise to the tumor boundary, patients had poorer overall survival.

“This study provides an overall model for how these biomarkers relate to breast cancer,” Esbona said of the study, published Feb. 8 in the American Journal of Pathology. “It’s not just collagen, it’s not just the immune component and inflammation. I analyzed everything together and determined how each of these variables contributes to breast cancer progression.”

The next step will be to use these markers to inform a clinical trial they already have underway, which will involve women with mammographically dense breast cancer. This trial was based on their conclusions from a previous pre-clinical study in a mouse model of breast cancer.

In that study, the researchers used mice that are genetically prone to develop breast cancer, and have either dense or regular mammary tissue. If the FDA-approved COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, was given, tumors shrank and the chronic inflammatory response significantly decreased – but only in the mice with dense mammary tissue. In the human clinical trial, women with dense breasts and a biopsy showing early-stage breast cancer will be given celecoxib for two weeks before surgery to remove the tumor.

“We’ll compare the biopsy sample from before celecoxib treatment to the surgical sample, and measure the same cancer-related markers we identified in this study,” Esbona said. “Because we expect this drug to be most effective on women with dense breasts, we hope to see some of the results we saw as favorable in our biomarker and pre-clinical studies, namely, reduced COX-2 levels, lower marks of cell proliferation and more favorable collagen signatures.”

If the human clinical trial mimics what they saw in mice, celecoxib treatment could become part of a breast-cancer treatment plan or possibly a preventive strategy for women with dense breasts.

Esbona, who now is a scientist in the department of pathology and also manages the Translational Research Initiatives in Pathology (TRIP) Laboratory, conducted much of this work while a graduate student with Dr. Patti Keely, who passed away in 2017 after a third battle with cancer.

“One of Patti’s wishes was to have research move from the lab all the way to the clinic, which this work is doing,” said Dr. Suzanne Ponik, a senior scientist in Keely’s lab and co-author of the pathology study. “She wanted her work to carry on through her students and scientists, too.”

Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Endorses Tim Burns for state Supreme Court

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Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 [email protected]

Burns a breath of fresh air in corrupt Supreme Court election process

Milwaukee: Today Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a statewide progressive social justice group with members across Wisconsin, is announcing its endorsement of Tim Burns for State Supreme Court in the primary election on February 20. The Citizen Action board of directors is making the endorsement after an extensive process that included a candidate forum, intensive candidate interviews, and input from Citizen Action Organizing Co-op leaders throughout Wisconsin. Citizen Action’s Organizing Co-ops are member-owned democratically elected chapters throughout Wisconsin.

What impresses Citizen Action leaders and members about Tim Burns is his willingness to discuss his progressive values with voters instead of perpetuating the charade that a judge’s philosophy does not influence their decisions. Wisconsin needs a Supreme Court Justice who will fight for average people against the big corporate interests that are rigging the Wisconsin judiciary.

Citizen Action members and leaders believe that the traditional nonpartisan model for State Supreme Court campaigns is now badly outdated because dark money campaigns by right wing groups and corporate interests have taken over the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. To tell voters that a judge’s values or their financial benefactors don’t impact their decisions is misleading and undemocratic.

Tim Burns offers the sharpest contrast to the right-wing candidate Michael Screnock, who is running a typical “trojan horse” right-wing judicial campaign. Screnock claims he will be a nonpartisan judge who merely interprets the law, but is the chosen candidate of Scott Walker and the Republican establishment. Screnock, who was arrested at an anti-women’s choice protest for blocking access to care, cut his teeth at a union busting law firm defending two of the most hyper-partisan actions in Wisconsin history: Act 10 and the partisan legislative maps that may be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Screnock is receiving more than half of his campaign resources from the Republican Party. Screnock’s radio ad which is running on right-wing talks shows touts his “conservative” credentials and his appointment by Scott Walker.

Screnock’s assertion that he will neutrally interpret the law is also debunked by his support for the John Doe decision to radically rewrite campaign finance law, protecting Scott Walker from prosecution for coordination with dark money groups that was widely believed to be illegal at the time. In addition, Screnock is setting up to have most of his general election campaign bankrolled by the same right-wing dark money groups which coordinated with Scott Walker’s 2012 campaign and have pumped millions into campaigns in support of right-wing Supreme Court justices.

“It is long overdue for a Supreme Court candidate to run openly as a representative of average people against the big corporate interests which dominate Wisconsin government and the current Supreme Court. That is why Citizen Action is proud to endorse Tim Burns for State Supreme Court,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

“The deceitful playbook of right-wing judges is to claim to be neutral while nullifying laws and radically rewriting our Constitution for the benefit of big corporate interests. For two decades Wisconsin Supreme Court elections have been dominated by a series of big money candidates who have grossly misled the public about their partisan and ideological agendas. In this toxic judicial environment, Tim Burns is a breath of fresh air.”

Web version of news release: http://www.citizenactionwi.org/citizen_action_endorses_tim_burns

Dept. of Financial Institutions: State credit unions post double-digit growth in net income, lending

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CONTACT: George Althoff, Communications Director, 608-261-4504

MADISON – Net income and total lending grew by double digits at Wisconsin’s 129 state-chartered credit unions in 2017 compared to 2016, according to data released today by the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

In the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2017:

  • Net income totaled $372.4 million, up 13.1% from $329.2 million in 2016.
  • Total loans were $27.2 billion, up 11.5% from $24.4 billion.
  • Net worth was 11.28%, up from 11.08%.
  • The delinquent loan ratio was 0.70%, down from 0.75%.

“State-chartered credit unions had a very successful year in 2017,” DFI Secretary Jay Risch said. “They continue to adapt to the needs of their members with the right combination of products and services, which in turn is having a positive impact on the Wisconsin economy.”

A full report on credit unions’ fourth-quarter 2017 performance will be available on the DFI website, www.wdfi.orgby the end of February.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: Domestic violence advocates appalled by President Trump’s support for abusers, dismayed by his budget priorities

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CONTACT: Chase Tarrier, Public Policy Coordinator, End Domestic Abuse WI
[email protected], 608.237.3985

Madison — Coming on the heels of unambiguous statements of support for multiple domestic batterers, Wisconsin advocates for victims of domestic violence are voicing strong opposition to President Trump’s newly introduced 2019 budget proposal that includes dramatic cuts to critical services for victims like the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Programs such as the LSC, the single largest provider of legal aid for low income Americans, exist to serve struggling families, disabled citizens and other vulnerable individuals like survivors of violence.

“President Trump’s recent statements unequivocally supporting domestic abusers in his administration is yet another example of his disturbing history of violence against women both personally and politically,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “Even by the standards of this administration, openly supporting multiple abusive staff members as their former victims courageously disclose their history of violence is as disgusting as it is shocking. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives, and it is truly a sad day for those of us involved in the movement to end domestic violence when the President of the United States not only threatens victims’ safety through the budgetary powers of his office, but actively supports the very abusers that are controlling and harming them in every community across the country.”

The Trump administration has been widely criticized in recent days for statements made by both the President and his Chief of Staff John Kelly in the wake of reporting that White House staff secretary Rob Porter and David Sorensen, a member of the Trump administration’s speechwriting team, both have a history of domestic abuse against former spouses. Compounding the shocking affirmative statements of support for the accused batterers, it was then uncovered that the White House was made aware of the accusations against Rob Porter before his hiring and that they had in fact contributed to a delay in granting him a permanent security clearance.

“The first step in combatting domestic violence is listening to victims and believing them. President Trump’s statements show yet again that he not only does not prioritize victim safety, but is in fact contributing to the trauma they face every day,” continued Seger. “We are calling on President Trump to apologize to all victims of domestic violence and educate himself on the cycle of control that abusers like Rob Porter and David Sorenson inflict on their victims. Maybe if he listened to the voices of survivors he wouldn’t be so quick to slash the services they rely on when escaping violence.”

President Trump’s budget proposal, which would make large cuts to funds established in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and fully eliminate the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), was introduced just days after his public statements of support for the two recently-resigned domestic abusers in his administration.

Flynn campaign: Scott Walker failed Wisconsin internet users

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CONTACT: Bryan Kennedy
(414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today made the following statement attacking Scott Walker for his poor record on high-speed broadband Internet access in Wisconsin.

“As of 2016, Wisconsin’s Internet speeds rank 49th in the nation. There are several counties where high-speed Internet access does not exist. This is unacceptable. High-speed Internet helps small businesses thrive, farmers work efficiently, and students learn. Walker has failed to address our lack of connectivity.

“Our economy is lagging behind other states. Too many of our fellow citizens are leaving Wisconsin to seek better economic opportunities. The slow Internet speeds contribute to our poor economic performance. Better broadband access will spur economic growth and improve the lives of every Wisconsinite.

“Additionally, Walker has provided no leadership on Net Neutrality, the guiding principle of the open and fair Internet we have come to know. Rather than standing up for ordinary people and small businesses, Walker sided with telecom companies, who seek to raise prices and deny access to customers and small businesses.

“As governor, high-speed broadband Internet access will be a right. Speeds in Wisconsin will catch up to the rest of the country. We will restore Net Neutrality.”

Fundraiser for Rep. David Steffan 🗓

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Hinterland Brewery, 1001 Lombardi Avenue, Green Bay, WI

Save the Date!
Fundraiser for Representative David Steffan with special guest
Speaker Robin Vos
Thursday, May 31st
5- 6:30 PM
Hinterland Brewery
1001 Lombardi Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54304
More Details to Follow

Fundraiser for Rep. Snyder 🗓

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Jefferson Street Inn, 201 Jefferson Street, Wausau

Save the Date!
Fundraiser for Representative Pat Snyder
Monday, April 23rd
5:30- 7 PM
Jefferson Street Inn
201 Jefferson Street
Wausau, WI 54403
More Details to Follow

gBETA expanding to Indianapolis

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Five Indiana startups will have the chance to participate in the new gBETA Indy program this spring, put on by gener8tor and hosted by a Beloit-based operation.

This nationally ranked startup accelerator runs its full program in Madison, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities, where it invests $140,000 in each of five startups that go through the 12-week accelerator track.

The accelerator’s scaled down gBETA program is a free seven-week accelerator that also takes five startup teams. It’s active in seven areas: Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Beloit, Northeast Wisconsin, Detroit and now Indianapolis.

“Indiana has created an entrepreneurial ecosystem where business accelerators like gener8tor can help foster Hoosiers’ innovative ideas and transform them into successful companies,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “The gBETA program will be the first public accelerator in Indiana’s history, creating a pipeline for homegrown startups to connect with a national network of investors and customers.”

The gBETA Indy program will be hosted by Beloit-based Hendricks Commercial Properties at the Massala Building in downtown Minneapolis. The first cohort in the gBETA Indy program runs from April 29 to June 14. After this first phase, gener8tor plans to scale gBETA Indy to two or three times each year, with five participants each time.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Gov. Walker: Statement on Joint Committee on Finance bipartisan approval of Health Care Stability Plan

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CONTACT: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement after the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved Governor Walker’s Health Care Stability Plan with bipartisan support.

“Since Washington has failed to act, Wisconsin will lead. Our plan will provide stability to people in Obamacare’s individual market who are facing shock premium increases by lowering premiums by 13% in 2019 and 12% in 2020. This will help people like Kristine from Brown County who saw her premiums go up by almost $2,000 a month – a 120 percent increase! These costs are unsustainable and unacceptable. I thank members of the committee for their bipartisan support and for moving our Health Care Stability Plan forward.”

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce: Syovata Edari announced as featured speaker at chamber’s IceBreaker luncheon

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CONTACT: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager
608-443-1952 (office)
608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – Syovata Edari, trial lawyer and owner of CocoVaa Chocolatier, was announced today as a keynote speaker at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual IceBreaker luncheon taking place Thursday, April 12, at the Kohl Center. Edari joins the Chamber’s first announced speaker, Gen. Marcia Anderson – the first African-American woman major general in the history of the U.S. Army – as well as one additional speaker to be announced next week.

“Vata embodies what IceBreaker has been about from the beginning – helping Greater Madison connect to those who yearn to be more, to seek the greater,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “Stories of leadership, passion and courage from a trial lawyer turned tastemaker who refused to back down when challenged by one of the world’s biggest chocolate makers will be a true inspiration to everyone who attends IceBreaker.”

After 15 years as a trial lawyer, Edari traveled to France to attend a master chocolatier course at Ecole Chocolat. Now pursuing her passion for artisanal chocolate-making on Madison’s North Side, she remains an advocate for herself and others, including recently defending herself against a trademark lawsuit from Mars Inc., who claimed the CocoVaa name infringed on Mars’ CocoaVia brand of nutritional supplements.

Presented by CUNA Mutual Group, the Chamber’s fourth annual IceBreaker will bring together 1,000 current and future business leaders at the only business event on the floor of the Kohl Center. To register, visit here: http://greatermadisonchamber.com/icebreaker

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found atgreatermadisonchamber.com.

JFC approves changes to guv’s rural economic development fund

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JFC approves more money for child care subsidies

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JFC approves three bills, including incentives for high schools training firefighters, medical responders

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JFC makes changes to guv’s reinsurance program

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Milwaukee County Executive Abele: Proposes elimination of “Pay to Park” program

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CONTACT: Carly Wilson
414.278.4212
[email protected]

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is proposing to cancel the Pay to Park program included in the approved 2018 Budget. Instead he is asking the County Board to fill the $1.6 million shortfall in the Parks Department budget via a one-time draw from the County’s contingency “rainy day” fund.

“We asked for public input in order to better understand how people feel about this new dedicated revenue stream to support the parks system. I said from the beginning that charging for parking in the parks is not something that I would ever want to do, but we felt it was preferable to yet more cuts to our already strained Parks system,” said Abele.  “Given the outpouring of feedback we’ve received, I am pleased that we will be able to avoid charging visitors from paying to park their vehicles this year. But we should be very clear that this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.”

The Pay to Park Plan – approved 15-3 by the County Board – was proposed in order to prevent drastic service cuts or fee increases elsewhere in the Parks system. After receiving much thoughtful input from the community, including from the public comment session held last week at the Mitchell Park Domes, County Executive Abele focused on finding alternative solutions. He directed his budget team to explore ways to avoid Pay to Park, and they identified three possible approaches:

1.      Cut $1.6 million in expenses elsewhere in the Parks budget. Taking this approach would have meant closing the Domes, Boerner Botanical Gardens, Wehr Nature Center, and Community Centers.
2.      Increase the Vehicle Registration Fee by approximately $5 per year.
3.      Draw money from the contingency fund. The contingency fund is the County’s only “rainy day” fund and is meant to be used only for emergency purposes.

“Our parks make Milwaukee County a truly remarkable community, and it’s essential that we all work together to ensure they are protected for our children and generations to come. If confirmed, I plan to work closely with the County Board to find solutions to this intractable problem,” said Jim Sullivan, interim Parks Director.

In the absence of any great solutions, County Executive Abele is asking the Board for this temporary “fix” which will give the County a chance to plan for alternatives in next year’s budget.

Background: 

The pay to park proposal came as a result of increasing costs and decreasing revenues. While County government continues to get leaner and more efficient, it nonetheless has to contend with a state government that has reduced its contributions to the County budget. In 2007, Milwaukee County received about $341 million from the state. In 2015 that number shrunk to about $171 million. Meanwhile, Milwaukee County’s momentum as the economic engine of Wisconsin continues. From 2007 to 2015, Milwaukee County increased the amount of funding it sent to the state by a quarter billion dollars. Milwaukee County is producing more for Wisconsin, yet receiving less. As a result, Milwaukee County has to plug significant budget deficits every year.

Mitchell says his race, Act 10 don’t define his campaign

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State firefighters union head Mahlon Mitchell says he’s more than the union candidate or the black candidate in the Dem race for governor.

Mitchell became a statewide figure as part of the opposition to the 2011 law that effectively ended collective bargaining for public employees and ended up as the Dem candidate for lt. guv in 2012.

But he told a WisPolitics.com luncheon in Madison this week that Act 10 or his race isn’t defining his candidacy.

Mitchell instead stressed this contest is about “a lot more than Act 10” for him, saying it’s instead about wages, economic development, education, health care for all, infrastructure and transportation.

As the leader of the firefighters union since January 2011, Mitchell also touched on the firefighters’ and police officers’ response to the bill when it was first proposed.

“As firefighters, we respond to emergencies,” he said. “In our opinion that was an emergency that we had to respond to. People were under attack, and there was a definite conquer-and- divide going on. And we decided that we were not going to let that happen to us.”

Still, he said that should he be elected governor, one of the first things he would do is set up wage commissions for the private sector to foster conversations about “lifting everyone’s wages,” not just for union members.

As for the public sector, Mitchell said he wanted to ensure municipalities and their employees had the ability to talk once a year about wages, hours and working conditions.

And he pushed back on the state GOP for labeling him a “union boss,” saying that the term is one the right uses “to defame us and make us look bad.”

“If a union boss is being the person that represents men and women running into burning buildings, men and women responding to medical emergencies, or teachers that teach our kids — our greatest commodity — or men and women that actually take care of our sick and injured by way of being a nurse or a CNA or an RN. If we’re talking about police officers who respond and protect us everyday, then if that’s what a union boss is, then I guess I am,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is also known for becoming the first African-American leader of the state firefighters union, as well as the union’s youngest president. He was 35 when he took over. He turns 43 on Feb. 24.

And should he become governor, he would break another barrier and become the state’s first African-American leader. Only one African American has been elected statewide in Wisconsin — Vel Phillips as secretary of state in 1978.

But Mitchell downplayed the historic significance of his candidacy, saying he thinks it’s “more important to be a good governor than to be a black governor.”

“My point is: yes, history is important, but I’m not running to be the black governor; I’m running to be governor of the state of Wisconsin,” Mitchell said, adding people across the state — black, white, Hispanic and others — feel they’ve been forgotten and “those are the people that I’m running for.”

And he noted he hadn’t sought to be the first black president of the firefighters union, adding he didn’t “get into the fire service because I wanted to be a black firefighter.”

“I ran and I wanted to be a firefighter, because I wanted to help people,” he said. “Not just black people, not just white people, I wanted to help everybody.”

Still, he said the “elephant in the room” at past events he’s spoken at is whether the state’s ready for an African-American governor.

But he pointed to Barack Obama’s 14-percentage-point margin of victory over Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Obama’s 7 percent win over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012.

Those wins, Mitchell said, proves a candidate’s success “depends on your message and how you convey that message.”

“My point is and my correlation is that when you look at President Obama and his message and how inspired and the energy and passion that he brought, that’s what got people out to the polls and got people to vote. And that’s what we’re trying to do in this campaign,” he said.

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance: Testifies on AB 885 and SB 770 relating to Wisconsin’s Health Care Stability Plan

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CONTACT: Elizabeth Hizmi, Public Information Officer
(608) 267-9460
[email protected]

Madison, WI—Today, Deputy Commissioner JP Wieske testified before the Joint Committee on Finance of the Wisconsin State Legislature on Assembly Bill 885 and Senate Bill 770 relating to creating a state based reinsurance plan; the Health Care Stability Plan.

“Most individuals in Wisconsin receive coverage through their employer, which remains a relatively stable market,” said Commissioner Nickel. “However, over 200,000 Wisconsinites are facing a fragile individual market. As Governor Walker mentioned in his State of the State Address earlier this year, we need to do what we can at the state level to stabilize Wisconsin’s individual health insurance market. The Health Care Stability Plan is one step towards addressing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) issues created by a one-size-fits-all federal government solution. This is a step towards stabilizing the market, bringing insurers and choices back to Wisconsin consumers for more affordable coverage.”

Wisconsin consumers continue to lose coverage choices as insurers leave the individual market or shrink service areas. Insurers have significantly limited their service areas or dropped out of the individual market entirely. As a result, over 75,000 people had to change insurers for their 2018 coverage and many of them had one or two insurers to choose from. In the last three years, insurers have lost over $400 million in Wisconsin’s individual market. Insurance rates have skyrocketed – in one rating region the rate for the second lowest cost silver plan (the basis for federal subsidies) increased over 100 percent.

Assembly Bill 885 and Senate Bill 770 permits the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) to seek a federal 1332 Waiver for State Innovation under the ACA allowing for the operation of a reinsurance plan. A 1332 Waiver permits states to pursue innovative strategies to ensure residents have access to affordable health insurance options. In doing so, it requires states to:

  • Provide coverage that is as comprehensive and affordable as it was without a waiver;
  • Provide coverage to at least a comparable number of state residents as would be provided absent the waiver; and
  • Ensure no increase to the federal deficit.

Wisconsin is considering a bifurcated process. Initially, the state is looking at a reinsurance program similar to waivers that were approved for other states. The second part of the process will take additional time and will seek to develop additional changes helping further stabilize the individual market long term. A second waiver proposal is anticipated for consideration in early 2019 and will potentially impact the 2020 plan year.

One Wisconsin Now: Right wing hits panic button as their spending on Michael Screnock skyrockets

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
[email protected]
(608) 444-3483

Republican Party of Wisconsin and Right-Wing Cabal At Nearly $670,000 in Spending With a Week to Go Before Primary Election

MADISON, Wis. — State Republicans and their allies have pushed the panic button on the race for the state Supreme Court, already forking out nearly $670,000 for the benefit of the campaign of Michael Screnock before the February 20 primary election. Spending by right wing special interests like the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Republican Party of Wisconsin to elect high court judges is not new. But, One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin noted, with such massive outlays already occurring, Screnock could be on the receiving end of record amounts of spending to try to boost his electoral prospects if he advances to the general election.

“The right wing cabal in Wisconsin has always opened their checkbooks to pack the state high court with their favored judges,” commented Beilman-Dulin. “But with a nearly $670,000 down payment on Michael Screnock with a week still to go before the primary election, they seem poised to set records on this race.”

According to his most recent campaign finance report, Screnock has raked in $110,958.58 in contributions from the Republican Party of Wisconsin, funding digital ads, direct mail and staff for his campaign. The state GOP is far and away Screnock’s largest contributor and has already spent more on him than their previous record amount of nearly $70,000 to put homophobe Rebecca Bradley on the bench.

Beilman-Dulin noted the irony of the partisan spending directly on Screnock as he criticizes his opponents for expressing political beliefs.

A late contribution report filed this week also shows Screnock has received a $10,000 check from the special interest Wisconsin Realtors Association. It was earlier reported that the state big business lobby the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the right-wing dark money outfit the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform have both placed ad buys promoting Screnock that total nearly $550,000.

For his part, Screnock has indicated he’ll be there for his generous special interest and partisan benefactors. At a recent forum he refused to support reforming court rules to require judges recuse themselves from cases involving parties that contributed large sums to their campaigns. The reform proposal Screnock rejects was suggested by over 50 retired judges and would reverse a 2010 rule literally written by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

“Before becoming a candidate, Michael Screnock promoted Gov. Walker’s and Republicans’ right wing power grabs in court as a hired gun lawyer and got arrested for physically preventing women from accessing legal health care services. Now right wing funders are going all in to try to put him on the court and to keep defending their agenda,” concluded Beilman-Dulin.

Rep. Anderson: Republicans lower Walmart’s property taxes, raise yours

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Contact: Logan Vidal 608-266-8570

Local governments and taxpayers will continue to pay for tax loophole

MADISON – Today, Assembly Republicans voted against closing the ‘Dark Store’ loophole. Based on a Supreme Court decision in 2008, big box retailers are allowed to base their tax assessments on their value as a vacant store rather than a store in operation. This so-called ‘Dark Store’ loophole saves corporate retailers millions of dollars and shifts the burden of those savings to homeowners and other businesses.

“I am disappointed, but not at all surprised that Assembly Republicans sided with big box retailers over their local governments today. Walmart and WMC have been lobbying the legislature for months” said Rep. Anderson. “Any way you look at it, leaving this loophole open shifts the tax burden away from huge retailers and onto local property taxpayers.”

“Speaker Vos threw a fit on the floor because we tried to hold a vote on a bill that has 28 Republican co-sponsors in the Assembly. It has 22 Democratic co-sponsors. The platonic ideal of bi-partisanship! This bi-partisan piece of legislation was supported by local governments and local elected officials all across Wisconsin.”

To cite just a few examples of retailers using the dark store loophole to avoid paying taxes:

· Using the Dark Store Loophole, Menards reduced the value of its property in Fond du Lac, from $9.2 million to $5.2 million.

· A CVS property in Appleton reduced the value of its property from $4.4 million to $1.8 million. Local taxpayers are now on the hook for a $350,000 refund.

“We can get this done before the legislative session ends. We simply need the political will from the Republican leaders in the state capitol to make it happen,” Rep. Anderson concluded.

Rep. Hebl: Selected as 2018 Wisconsin state lead by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators

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CONTACT: Rep. Hebl, (608) 266-7678

(MADISON) – Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) announced that he has been selected by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) to serve as State Lead in Wisconsin for 2018.

“I am excited to have been selected as the Wisconsin State Lead by NCEL,” Hebl said. “Protecting and restoring the environment is one of the top priorities I have as a legislator. I hope that I can use my position as State Lead to refocus Wisconsin’s priorities on strengthening environmental protections so that future generations are able to enjoy clean air and clean water, as well as enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, and biking.

As State Lead, Rep. Hebl will be the main point of contact for the national group’s activities in Wisconsin, helping to plan visits as well as helping to grow NCEL by identifying potential recruits and educating other conservationists about using NCEL as a resource.

“I will continue to fiercely fight to protect Wisconsin’s natural resources, and look forward to working closely with NCEL on these important issues,” Hebl finished.

Rep. Loudenbeck: Loudenbeck Bill passes JFC, heads to Assembly floor Thursday

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Contact: Rep. Amy Loudenbeck
[email protected]
(608) 266-9967

Madison – Today, a bill authored by state Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) at the request of Governor Scott Walker passed the Joint Committee on Finance with a unanimous vote.

Assembly Bill 872 (AB 872) will expand the existing Career and Technical Education (CTE) Incentive Grant to include a specialized Public Safety Certification Incentive Grant program for high school students.

In October of 2017, Governor Walker launched his Rural Agenda focusing on comprehensively addressing the concerns of rural communities, including an initiative to reward high schools and students for successful completion of EMT or Firefighter training.

“Rural Fire and EMS Departments in Wisconsin and other states have struggled in recent years with volunteer shortages,” said Loudenbeck. “AB 872 will help restock the volunteer fire and EMS worker pipelines by rewarding high school students who earn certain public safety credentials.”

AB 872 creates a new Public Safety Certification Incentive Grant Completion Award which provides a $500 student award payment upon successful completion of Firefighter I, Firefighter II or EMT Basic. In addition, school districts would receive up to $1,000 when these students graduate, consistent with the existing Career and Technical Education Incentive Grant program.

“The $500 award payment to the student will not only incentivize participation, but also help offset out-of-pocket costs for books, exam fees, clothing and travel associated with the course,” said Loudenbeck.

AB 872 passed unanimously out of the Assembly Committee on Workforce Development and the Joint Committee on Finance. It is tentatively scheduled for a vote in the Assembly on Thursday, February 15th.

For more information about AB 872 click here.

Rep. Taylor: JFC Republicans again reject paying less and expanding health care coverage for 79,000 families

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Rep. Chris Taylor, 608-266-5342

Instead, Republican legislators support short-term, election year gimmick

MADISON – Today, as President Trump continues to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republican legislators in the Joint Finance Committee once again rejected Democratic efforts to expand health care coverage to 79,000 low-income Wisconsinites, many of whom are parents who Governor Walker and legislative Republicans kicked off BadgerCare.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau determined that fully expanding Medicaid would actually cover more people, and result in substantial cost savings to the state. Specifically, covering 79,000 more Wisconsinites and taking millions of federal dollars would result in Wisconsin taxpayers SAVING $203 million. This money could be reinvested in offering more healthcare options, including a BadgerCare public option, in the ACA that could provide more choices and lower premiums for consumers.

JFC Democrats offered two amendments to Governor Walker’s reinsurance plan: The first expanded Medicaid to cover more people for less, and invested the resulting savings in a responsible, adequately funded reinsurance program that protected consumers and provided more oversight for the state on premium rates and increased Medicaid reimbursement rates. The second used the Medicaid savings from expansion to establish a public, BadgerCare option on the ACA exchange and increase MA reimbursement rates for providers. An analysis done by Citizen Action of Wisconsin showed that a public option on the ACA could lower premiums by 38% and provide individuals in county’s with few ACA providers another affordable option.

Republicans voted against both options. Instead, they provided a short-term, election year band aid while continuing to advance policies that undermine the ACA. One provision of the bill directed OCI to continue to consider more high-deductible, minimal coverage plans that siphon off young, healthy people from the ACA exchange, increasing costs for those who remain.

“Wisconsin is an outlier in the upper Midwest, as every other state, both Republican and Democrat, has accepted millions of federal monies to expand access to affordable, accessible health care,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “Instead of continuing to attack the ACA and calling for its repeal, which Governor Walker has done for years, we need to get aggressive about effective ways to make the ACA more affordable and accessible, not tear it down.”

Rep. Vos: Statement on the State of the Tribes Address

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Speaker Robin Vos: (608) 266-3387

Madison…Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement after the 14th annual State of the Tribes address in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

“I would like to thank Gary Besaw of the Menominee Tribe and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council for participating in the annual State of the Tribes address in the Wisconsin State Assembly. It’s important that we continue to keep the lines of communication open between our governments and work together on shared priorities.”

Reps. Bowen and Kleefisch: Kleefisch-Bowen bill lays foundation for youth corrections overhaul

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Contact:
Rep. David Bowen, 608-266-7671
Rep. Joel Kleefisch, 608-266-8551

MADISON – This morning, a bipartisan coalition of legislators announced Assembly legislation that would close Lincoln Hills by 2020, instead opening county-run secure residential care centers for less serious youth offenders while keeping Serious Juvenile Offenders (SJOs) under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections (DOC).

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of over a year of discussions with legislators on both sides of the aisle, judges, system stakeholders and advocates as I have made the reform of our youth corrections system a key focus of my work as a legislator,” said Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee). “Providing evidenced-based, secure local options for judges was our goal, and this bill uses an existing, but unused, option to accomplish that goal. Allowing counties to run local, secure residential care centers focused on trauma-informed care with a low number of beds and low staff to student ratios will transform how we treat young people and deliver improved outcomes in addition to cost savings.”

Assembly Bill 794 (AB 794), the legislation that much of today’s announcement was built upon, would allow counties to collaborate or work alone in establishing secure residential care centers, moving less serious offenders into community-based treatment centers with a proven track record of reducing recidivism.

“Protecting our families is the most important goal,” said Representative Joel Kleefisch. “For those less serious offenders, it’s in our state’s best interest economically and ethically to ‘not throw away the key’ when it comes to arming those kids with the tools to become productive members of society.”

A public hearing on the agreed upon bill will be held this Thursday at 9 a.m. in the Assembly Committee on Corrections.

Sen. Erpenbach: Statement on rural economic development

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Contact: Senator Jon Erpenbach

608-266-6670

Sen. Erpenbach on AB 912/SB 769 rural economic development funds for WEDC

“Our rural communities are in economic crisis. By defunding the Historic Tax Credit in every budget and then giving $4.5 billion to a Taiwanese company Governor Walker and Legislative Republicans have created a scenario where just 18% of our economic development money is targeted to rural communities under their leadership. Foxconn gets hundreds of millions for roads, but poor funding for rural roads has made it hard to attract businesses. Foxconn gets a high power transmission line to meet their technology needs, while rural communities cannot even get a company to run broadband for their schools or businesses.”

“We have no choice but to vote yes – $50 million for 56 counties is better than nothing, but it is certainly not as good as $4.5 BILLION for a foreign company.”

On Barneveld revolving loan takings by DOA

“Currently Governor Walker is trying to take Barneveld’s revolving loan funds they were granted after a tornado completely destroyed the village. These funds are still being used to try to do just the kind of economic development Governor Walker says he supports, but he is taking their funds away. Barneveld and other rural communities should be allowed to keep the economic development tools they already have and use. Any new funds should be in addition to the capital they already have.

Sen. Taylor: Introduces bipartisan juvenile corrections bill

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CONTACT: Jordan Krieger, (608) 266-5810

(MADISON) – Today, Senator Lena Taylor (D – Milwaukee) and a group of bipartisan legislators introduced a comprehensive bill to address the serious allegations of abuse and mistreatment in Wisconsin’s juvenile corrections system. The crises were exacerbated by a failure to implement best practices, resulting in an unsafe environment for juveniles and staff at Wisconsin’s Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile facilities.

“I am glad that what I have repeatedly said and advocated for in past years regarding juvenile corrections is finally getting traction from my colleagues,” said Senator Lena Taylor. “However, it is a shame that our kids and corrections staff had to wait for an election year to see the Governor and his fellow Republicans meaningfully acknowledge their safety concerns.”

Since April 2016, Senator Taylor has twice called for Governor Walker to hold a special session to address Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools. The Governor rejected both calls. In July 2017, Senator Taylor circulated a juvenile justice bill of rights package which included a juvenile solitary confinement ban, transfer of juvenile corrections to the Department of Children and Families, authority for Milwaukee County to have a juvenile hybrid facility, and requirements for medically-trained staff to distribute medication. The proposals have not been heard by a legislative committee since they were first introduced in August 2017. The bill unveiled today will incorporate many of the measures initially proposed by Senator Taylor.

“Our kids and staff have waited for relief for years, and they cannot afford to wait any longer” Taylor concluded.

 

State GOP gave Screnock more than half the $231,861 he raised in pre-primary period for Supreme Court bid

Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock raised $231,861 over the first five weeks of the year, with more than half of that coming from the Republican Party of Wisconsin through in-kind donations, according to his report filed with the state Ethics Commission.

The state GOP contributed $76,757 for digital ads, $28,336 for mailing services and $5,866 for staff between Jan. 1 and Feb. 5.

That does not include the $31,125 the state GOP gave the Sauk County judge’s campaign after the pre-primary period last week, meaning the party’s investment totals at least $142,084.

The state GOP has been active in Supreme Court races before and was the largest donor to Justice Rebecca Bradley’s campaign in 2016 with almost $69,176 in contributions for the entire race. The party has doubled that for Screnock more than a week before the Feb. 20 primary.

During the pre-primary period, which covered Jan. 1 through Monday, Screnock spent $200,794 and had $90,212 left in the bank. The in-kind donations from the state GOP also count toward Screnock’s spending totals.

He also listed $7,507 in outstanding obligations.

By comparison, Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet raised $91,746 in the pre-primary period, while Middleton attorney Tim Burns pulled in $79,041. Neither listed donations from a political party.

Dallet spent $243,246 over the period, and logged $237,090 cash on hand. She reported $281,000 in outstanding loans.

Her campaign said Dallet did not put any of her own money into the campaign during the period. Dallet previously reported that she gave her campaign a $200,000 loan on June 29, after launching her campaign at the beginning of that month.

Burns reported spending $60,337, ending the period with $125,937 cash on hand.

See more details of candidates fundraising and spending at the Election Blog.

Stubbs campaign: Shelia Stubbs begins campaign for State Assembly with endorsements from 38 current and former elected ffficials

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CONTACT: 608/206-1818
[email protected]

A bevy of State, County, and City elected leaders have endorsed Shelia Stubbs for State Assembly during the first days of her campaign. Supervisor Stubbs is a Democrat running in the 77th Assembly District. That district is currently represented by Terese Berceau, who announced on February 2, 2018 that she will not seek re-election this fall. If necessary, there will be a primary election on August 14, 2018 and the general election is November 6, 2018.

“Shelia Stubbs will serve the people of the 77th District well. She understands complex policy issues, she has strong progressive values, and she’s a fighter for what’s right. She has my enthusiastic support,” Representative Berceau said.

Representative Berceau joins State Senators La Tonya Johnson and Mark Miller, and State Representatives David Crowley, Evan Goyke, Dianne Hesselbein, Melissa Sargent, and Lisa Subeck in endorsing Supervisor Stubbs.

Dane County officials supporting Stubbs include Sheriff Dave Mahoney, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, County Clerk Scott McDonell, Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan, and 18 current and former County Supervisors.

Supervisor Stubbs is also endorsed by a number of City officials including Madison Alders Shiva Bidar- Sielaff, Sheri Carter, Mo Cheeks, and Mark Clear and Alder Julia Arata-Frattafrom Fitchburg.

Supervisor Shelia Stubbs was first elected to the Dane County Board in 2006 and has been re-elected five times. The Second Vice-Chair of the Board, Supervisor Stubbs serves on numerous committees including the Executive Committee and the Personnel and Finance Committee, which oversees the creation of the County Budget. She chairs the UW-Extension Committee and is the co-chair of the Racial Disparities Sub-Committee. Active statewide and nationally as well, Supervisor Stubbs is chair of the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) Judicial and Public Safety Steering Committee and is the secretary of the National Association of Counties (NACO) Women of NACO.

Supervisor Stubbs is a former Senior Probation and Parole Agent at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.  A native of Arkansas, Supervisor Stubbs has a degrees in political science (Tougaloo College in Mississippi) and criminal justice administration (Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, WI) as well as a master’s in management from Cardinal Stritch University.

Current and Former Elected Officials Endorsing Shelia Stubbs for State Assembly

As of February 13, 2018

State Senator La Tonya Johnson

State Senator Mark Miller

State Representative Terese Berceau

State Representative David Crowley

State Representative Evan Goyke

State Representative Dianne Hesselbein

State Representative Melissa Sargent

State Representative Lisa Subeck

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne

Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk

Chair, Dane County Board of Supervisors Sharon Corrigan

Dane County Supervisor Carousel Bayrd

Dane County Supervisor Carl Chenoweth

Dane County Supervisor Chuck Erickson

Dane County Supervisor Richard Kilmer

Dane County Supervisor Mary Kolar

Dane County Supervisor Jamie Kuhn

Dane County Supervisor Maureen McCarville

Dane County Supervisor Patrick Miles

Dane County Supervisor Paul Nelson

Dane County Supervisor Jeff Pertl

Dane County Supervisor Michele Ritt

Dane County Supervisor Paul Rusk

Dane County Supervisor Bob Salov

Dane County Supervisor Andrew Schauer

Dane County Supervisor Robin Schmidt

Dane County Supervisor Matt Veldran

Dane County Supervisor Danielle Williams
Former Dane County Supervisor Richard Brown

Madison School Board Member Dean Loumos

Madison Alder Shiva Bidar-Sielaff

Madison Alder Sheri Carter

Madison Alder Mo Cheeks

Madison Alder Mark Clear
Former Madison Alder Isadore Knox

Fitchburg City Alder Julia Arata-Fratta

TUE AM Update: In-kind donations from state GOP bolster Screnock’s campaign

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TUE News Summary: Trump praises Walker, takes credit for Foxconn; Nicholson’s parents donate to Baldwin; bipartisan Assembly bill to overhaul juvenile corrections

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TUE PM Update: Fitzgerald revives push to create alcohol czar

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U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development: Awards nearly $240,000 to promote jobs, self-sufficiency for public housing residents in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE – In an effort to help low-income residents become self-sufficient, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $240,000 today to S.E.T. Ministry, Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is part of a national endeavor issued to public housing authorities, public housing resident associations, Native American tribes, and non-profit organizations across the nation to hire or retain service coordinators to help them find jobs, educational opportunities, and achieve economic and housing independence.

The funding, provided through HUD’s Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency – Service Coordinators Program (ROSS-SC) helps grantees hire or retain “service coordinators” who work directly with residents to assess their needs and connect them with education, job training and placement programs, and/or computer and financial literacy services available in their community to promote self-sufficiency.

“It’s part of our mission to help connect public housing residents to better, higher paying jobs and appropriated, critical services as a means of helping them move beyond public assistance and toward self-sufficiency,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “This funding gives our local partners resources they can use to help residents become economically independent and achieve the dreams they have for themselves and their children.”

“This funding will facilitate educational and economic opportunities to help residents along in their trajectory towards self-sufficiency and success,” said HUD Midwest Regional Administrator, Joseph P. Galvan.

“Every person deserves the opportunity to build self-sufficiency,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “This funding will provide public housing residents with new pathways to achieve their goals and gain independence.”

“SET Ministry and the Housing Authority share a long and innovative partnership to improve quality of life and increase independence among HACM residents,” said HACM Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez. “We are thankful to HUD for this opportunity to expand our work together and to positively impact even more lives. This grant continues to underscore that HUD sees their investments with us as an effective deployment of limited resources.”

The purpose of HUD’s ROSS-SC program is to encourage innovative and locally driven strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable HUD-assisted families to increase earned income; reduce or eliminate their need for welfare assistance; and promote economic independence and housing self-sufficiency. These grants provide funding to hire and retain Service Coordinators who will assess the needs of residents of conventional Public Housing or Indian housing and coordinate available resources in the community to meet those needs. In addition, ROSS-SC grants help improve living conditions for seniors, enabling them to age-in-place.

U.S. Rep. Kind: Calls for solution to IV shortage in Wisconsin

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Contact: Amanda Sherman
Phone: 202-225-5506
[email protected]

Wisconsin is facing an IV saline bag shortage in the midst of a flu outbreak 

La Crosse, WI – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind called on the Administration to find a solution to the shortage of IV saline bags that is affecting hospitals and patients throughout western and central Wisconsin. This comes as Wisconsin hospitals are dealing with a severe and widespread flu outbreak.

“Patients and healthcare providers in western and central Wisconsin should never be worried about the availability of something as critical as an IV bag,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “In this bad flu season, I am calling on the Administration to make sure our hospitals and clinics are stocked with IV bags and prepared to give the best quality care to Wisconsinites.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Although a shortage of IV saline bags has been documented since 2014, the impact of Hurricane Maria and the exceptionally severe flu season have combined to intensify the IV shortage. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there have been nearly 5,000 hospitalizations in Wisconsin since last September.

U.S. Rep. Moore: SSA office closure eliminates vital services to Milwaukee’s south side

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To Whom It May Concern – In response to the announced closure of the Mitchell Street Social Security Administration Branch Office, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) wrote numerous letters to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) urging that the decision be reconsidered.

“I have a strong interest in this decision because the Mitchell Street Branch Office is located in my congressional district,” wrote Congresswoman Moore. “The City of Milwaukee’s south side is home to the largest Hispanic population in the state. The Mitchell Street Branch Office provides services to constituents with limited English ability. The closing of that office not only takes away much needed services to the community, but it also creates a challenge to accessing services as the closest branch is the Downtown Branch, which has limited access to parking. My office has received calls regarding this matter from concerned City Officials, including City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Alderman Jose Perez.”

Earlier today, Congresswoman Moore released the following statement:

“In January, my office was informed that the Mitchell Street SSA Branch Office would be closing and their 15 employees relocated to the four remaining branches on March 22. In response, my office has written letters to the SSA and GSA identifying a South Side relocation alternative. As I investigate this matter further, I am hopeful that the SSA will move forward immediately with opening another branch that provides crucial services and resources to residents in zip codes 53204, 53207, and 53235 (City of St. Francis) as failure to do so would put an undue burden on my constituents, especially those who call Milwaukee’s South Side home.”

Click here to see the full text of the letters.

Voces de la Frontera: Senate Democrats must not cave to GOP’s taking immigrant youth as hostages

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Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman, 414-469-9206, [email protected]

Democrats must resist Trump’s attempts to use the DACA crisis he created to take the immigration system back to the Jim Crow era

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – The Senate is debating protections for 1.8 million immigrant young people left vulnerable to deportation by President Trump’s cruel decision to end DACA. Republicans have proposed various bills that aim to use the crisis created by Trump to advance an anti-immigrant, white nationalist agenda that would severely restrict legal immigration, restrict family refunication, and privelege white European immigrants. Voces de la Frontera issued the following statement on the debate so far:

“Trump and Stephen Miller are holding immigrant youth hostage, and they’re hoping to force Democrats to roll the immigration system back to the Jim Crow era in exchange for protections for immigrant youth,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “And Democrats must not give in. We urge Senator Baldwin to urge Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Senators to not trade protections for immigrant youth, which are supported by over 80% of voters, in exchange for a bigoted, unpopular wall, or for cruel cuts to legal immigration that would stop families from reuniting. If Democrats cannot get a bill that only protects immigrant youth, and doesn’t harm millions of other people, it is better to have no bill at all, and to pass a clean Dream Act after the 2018 elections.”

“Safety for immigrant young people like me must not come at the expense of millions of immigrant families,” said Alejandra Gonzalez, a college student and DACA recipient from Milwaukee. “A vote for these Trump bills is a vote to separate families. Senator Baldwin and Senator Schumer must stand up for our values and not settle for a white nationalist bill that would separate millions of families.”

Wisconsin Elections Commission: Important reminders for voters about the February 20 Spring Primary

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CONTACT: Reid Magney, 608-267-7887

MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Elections Commission reminds voters to bring an acceptable photo ID when they go to the polls for the Spring Primary on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

“Most people already have the ID they need to vote,” said Michael Haas, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “Those who don’t have a photo ID still have time to get a free one at the DMV, but they should not delay.”

Acceptable photo IDs for voting include a Wisconsin driver license or Wisconsin state ID card, Veterans Health Administration ID card, military ID card, U.S. passport, tribal ID card and some student ID cards. A full list is available at www.BringIt.Wisconsin.gov.

Haas reminds voters that the address on their photo ID does not have to match the address on the poll book. “When you show your ID, you are proving your identity, not where you live,” he said. “Voters prove their residence when they register to vote.”

What’s on the ballot?

The Commission reminds voters that they can find out what’s on their ballots by visiting the My Vote Wisconsin website: https://MyVote.WI.gov.

All voters will have the opportunity to narrow the field of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice candidates from three to two. There are also primary races for circuit court judges in Columbia and Manitowoc counties. Finally, many voters will find elections for local school boards and municipal offices, as well as referendums, across Wisconsin.

Register or reregister at the polls.

Haas reminds voters that if they plan to register for the first time or update their registration with a change of name or address at the polls on Election Day, they must bring a proof of residence document like a utility bill, showing the voter’s current name and address.

“Election Day registration ensures that everyone who is qualified to vote will get to vote,” said Haas, interim administrator of the WEC. “However, you must bring a current proof of residence document to register on Election Day.”

Acceptable proof of residence documents also include a lease, bank statement, cell phone bill or other official government documents, and can be on paper or an electronic device like a smartphone or tablet. A list of acceptable documents is available at http://elections.wi.gov/publications/voter-guides/proof-of-residence. Before Election Day, you must have lived at your current address for at least 10 days to be eligible to vote, but the proof of residence document does not need to be 10 days old.

You can also register to vote before Election Day. Registration in your municipal clerk’s office takes place until 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election (February 16, 2018). Remember, you will still need to bring your proof of residence document to register.

Voters who may not be sure whether their registration is current can check their status with their municipal clerk, or on the state’s MyVote Wisconsin website https://myvote.wi.gov. My Vote Wisconsin is also a great resource to find your municipal clerk’s contact information, and your polling place.

Other important reminders:

Absentee ballots must be received by Election Day. If you had an absentee ballot mailed to you, it must be received in your municipal clerk’s office by Election Day (February 20, 2018).

Your voter registration information and your vote are safe. Wisconsin’s voter registration system is secure and encrypted to protect from hackers. All of Wisconsin’s voting systems are paper-based and contain multiple checks and redundancies, including non-Internet-connected voting machines, pre-election testing, and processes for media, campaign, and election officials to check, audit, and validate the results. In 2016, Wisconsin was the only state to conduct a full recount of the presidential election – with a majority of the ballots recounted by hand – that confirmed the accuracy of electronic voting equipment.

Don’t leave the polling place without voting. A voter may cast a provisional ballot if the voter does not have a photo ID, forgets to bring a photo ID to the polls, or if the poll workers do not accept the ID for some reason. A provisional ballot is just like a regular ballot, except that it is placed in a special envelope and is not counted unless the voter returns with an acceptable photo ID. The deadlines for fixing a provisional ballot are 8 p.m. on Election Day at the polling place or by 4 p.m. the Friday after the election in the municipal clerk’s office. Voters who left their photo ID at home can also simply retrieve it and then cast a ballot rather than casting a provisional ballot.

Leave political items at home. Voters should not wear political clothing or paraphernalia to the polling place on Election Day. The chief election inspector may ask voters to leave the polling place if they are judged to be electioneering or creating a disturbance.

Wisconsin Justice Initiative: Statement on juvenile corrections reform proposal

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CONTACT: Gretchen Schuldt, WJI executive director
414-331-0724
[email protected]

Feb. 13, 2018 ​– ​Wisconsin Justice Initiative Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt released the following statement on the proposal to close Lincoln Hills and reform the state’s juvenile corrections system.

The Wisconsin Justice Initiative supports the proposed reforms as a good first step to correcting the unacceptable abuses that occurred at Lincoln Hills.

WJI thanks State Rep. Evan Goyke (D – Milwaukee) for his leadership on this issue.

We remain extremely troubled by the failure of Atty. Gen. Brad Schimel and Gov. Scott Walker to take the mess at Lincoln Hills seriously. Schimel’s failure to investigate fully and Walker’s failure to act sooner to stop the mistreatment of children in state custody is an earned blight on Wisconsin’s reputation.

Schimel blamed his less-than-halfhearted approach to the Lincoln Hills scandal on an ongoing FBI investigation. That investigation, however, should not have stopped him or Walker from acting long before now to end the abuses occurring at the juvenile prison. Their deliberate neglect is inexcusable.

Kudos to the ACLU of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for their work bringing the scandal into the daylight. Where the state failed its children, these organizations stood up for them.

February 14, 2018 | February 12, 2018
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