2019 May 15

Daily Archives: May 15, 2019

‘Born alive’ bill passes Assembly on 62-35 vote

A GOP bill to require care for those who survive an abortion is heading to the state Senate after clearing a divided Assembly this afternoon.

The “born alive” bill passed the body on a 62-35 vote. GOP Rep. Chuck Wichgers, of Muskego, joined all Dems in opposing it.

The bill would outline care requirements for children born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion, as well as penalties for physicians who don’t adhere to the legislation. But under the bill, the mother of the child who is born alive couldn’t be prosecuted.

Dems touted Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars, as well as his call to boost health care for women and infants by $28 million. They argued those initiatives would aid people across the state instead of stymieing the care physicians provide to women.

“This bill you’re pushing today is already the law of the land,” said Dem Rep. Chris Taylor, of Madison. “What isn’t the law of the land is Medicaid expansion. And you’ve made darn sure that no lives will be saved under that.”

But Republicans charged that Dems were trying to distract from the bill’s issues by focusing on the Medicaid expansion.

And Rep. Michael Schraa countered the “born alive” bill, as well as the other three abortion-related bills the chamber will take up today, “have everything to do” with health care.

“I argue the voices of the 61 million babies that have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade, I think their voices should be heard and counted,” the Oshkosh Republican said.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill in June. Gov. Tony Evers has said he would veto the legislation, also slamming it “nothing more than a distraction” from other priorities.

Wichgers, the sole Republican who voted against the legislation, also opposed the bill during the Assembly Health Committee executive session last week.

At the time, he introduced an amendment to the bill that wasn’t taken up. It would have targeted a portion of the legislation that outlines penalties for physicians who don’t adhere to the bill. But Wichgers sought to remove immunity for the mother and insert language saying a parent or guardian couldn’t be held civilly or criminally responsible for violations they didn’t consent to.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Pass expungement reform now

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

AFP-WI to Assembly: Pass Expungement Reform Now

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) urged the Assembly to pass The Pathways to Employment Act (AB 33) in advance of Wednesday’s floor vote. Assembly Bill 33, authored by Representatives Steffen and Goyke and Senators Darling and Risser, would make smart and meaningful reforms to our state’s current expungement process to help more people get back on their feet after completing their sentences and remaining crime free.

AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott issued the following statement:

“Wisconsin’s restrictive expungement laws pose an unnecessary barrier to returning citizens who are eager to get back on their feet, reenter civic life, and be contributing members of society. Denying individuals with criminal records access to jobs, housing, education and even professional licensing makes them more likely to reoffend. Expungement reform would open doors to opportunity for folks across Wisconsin and help recognize returning citizens for what they are – wells of untapped potential.”

AFP-WI recently launched a direct mail and digital campaign encouraging Wisconsinites to contact elected officials who have led on policies to reform the criminal justice system during the 2019 legislative session and urge continued action around these important reforms.

The campaign highlighted Rep. Evan Goyke, Rep. David Steffen, and Sen. Alberta Darling’s leadership on criminal justice reform and thanked them for introducing the Pathways to Employment Act.

The group also recently announced a wave of grassroots lobbying efforts that includes canvassing communities throughout Wisconsin and educating them on criminal justice reform.

Background:

AFP-WI Backs Expungement Reform Bill (1/29/19)

AFP-WI: Senate Should Support Second Chances (2/2/19)

AFP-WI Closes Out Second Chance Month with New Campaign (4/23/19)

AFP-WI Announces Next Wave of Grassroots Lobbying Efforts (5/2/19)

For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at [email protected] or (703) 887-7724. 

Assembly, Senate in session today

The Assembly and Senate are each taking up a measure aiming to bolster crime victims’ rights during the chambers’ sessions today, the Legislature’s only floor period of the month.

In addition to the proposed constitutional amendment, Marsy’s Law, the Assembly is also poised to take up four abortion-related bills.

Those would: ban abortions on the basis of a fetus’ race, gender and other qualifiers; require physicians to tell women considering taking an abortion-inducing drug the process could be reversed; outline care requirements for children born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion; and bar Planned Parenthood from getting money under the Medical Assistance program.

There are two bills on the topic of Planned Parenthood funding through the MA program, though just one is on today’s calendar, AB 183. That bill is from Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Barbara Dittrich, while the other, AB 181, is from Sen. Andre Jacque and Rep. Janel Brandtjen.

In the Senate, members are planning to vote on the confirmation of Meagan Wolfe as Elections Commission administrator.

They’ll also take up legislation to allow the DNR to certify third-party brokers to buy and sell water pollution credits.

Both chambers are scheduled to convene at 11 a.m.

Follow Briana Reilly on Twitter for updates on the Assembly session and JR Ross for Senate coverage.

Bill to overhaul state’s expungement process clears Assembly

A bipartisan bill to overhaul the state’s expungement process is heading to the state Senate after passing the Assembly this afternoon via voice vote.

The legislation, from Reps. David Steffen and Evan Goyke and Sens. Alberta Darling and Fred Risser, would change who’s eligible for expungement and the timeline, but it wouldn’t broaden the offenses that could be wiped from an individual’s record.

Under current law, expungement is only possible if an individual committed a crime — either a misdemeanor or Class H or I felony — before age 25. But the bill would remove that age limit and give individuals who committed those offenses the ability to petition a court and ask that their record be expunged after their sentence is completed. Currently, that process can only occur at the initial sentencing.

In order to have a crime expunged, the individual would need to complete an entire sentence, including paying any fines or fees. And those affected would only be allowed to petition their sentencing court twice requesting a given crime be expunged.

A similar bill failed to clear the Legislature last sentence.

Consumers First: New Alliance launches to ensure that the economic incentives of the health care system encourage affordable, high-quality health care

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CONTACTS:

Lisa Holland | Families USA | 202-626-0640 | [email protected]

Natalia Perez Santos | AFSCME|  [email protected]

Marybeth Sharpe |Pacific Business Group on Health | [email protected]

Cristi Allen | American Academy of Family Physicians | [email protected]

Jason Hammersla | American Benefits Council | 202-289-6700 | [email protected]

Jennifer Chang | American Federation of Teachers | 202-585-4360 | [email protected]

Michele Kayal | First Focus | [email protected]

Consumers, Health Leaders and Allies Must Join Forces to Ensure Consumer Interests are Reflected in National Health Care Debate, Says New National Alliance

Groups Issue “Call to Action” to fundamentally change the economic incentives of the health care system to provide affordable, high-quality health care for America’s families.

Washington, D.C, May14, 2019 – A newly formed alliance that launched today wants to ensure that the economic incentives of the health care system encourage affordable, high-quality health care for all of America’s families.

Consumers First: The Alliance to Make the Health Care System Work for Everyone, brings together powerful interests from consumers, employers, children, labor, and primary care providers. The Steering Committee of the Coalition consists of the following seven national organizations:

  • Families USA
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Benefits Council
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • First Focus
  • Pacific Business Group on Health

Consumers First aims to uproot the fundamental economic distortions in the health care system that drive high costs and low-quality care for America’s families. The alliance will work to educate Congress, the federal government and state policymakers about critical changes that are needed immediately to ensure the health care system provides higher-value care to the people it serves.

In addition, Consumers First has released a Call to Action paper

The paper asks allies to join forces to address the significant economic distortions in the health care payment and delivery system that drive high costs and low-quality care. The call to action outlines six policy focus areas in the health care system that need to be addressed immediately:

  • High and rising health care prices
  • Distortions created by provider payment systems, including Medicare
  • Increased health care industry consolidation
  • Federal tax policy for nonprofit health care Institutions and insurance plans
  • Flawed health care workforce policy
  • Inadequate access to data and lack of transparency

One of Consumers First’s next steps will be to finalize a congressional and administrative policy agenda on the key changes that are needed in health care.

“While our country has made significant gains in health care coverage in the last several decades, our health care system remains rife with inefficiencies and economic distortions that are hurting every day families. Until we change the incentives that drive low-quality, high-cost care, consumers will continue to be left behind. We have convened the Consumers First alliance and issued this paper to ensure that the economic incentives of the health care system are fundamentally changed so that families can always receive affordable, high-quality health care. This effort is not about tinkering around the edges. Over time, we aim to uproot the economic distortions that are hurting families, and drive to a more efficient, rational payment and delivery systems that puts the needs of consumers first,” said Frederick Isasi, Executive Director, Families USA.

“Affordable, high-quality healthcare is entirely possible for all Americans but will require significant changes in the U.S. health system. We have lost over 10 years of wage growth to health care cost inflation and have not seen needed gains in quality or patient outcomes. We are paying the highest prices in the world for highly variable care. We all deserve better and PBGH’s Members are prepared to be engaged and proactive to achieve better care at lower costs. PBGH is excited to partner with Families USA on a shared agenda for healthcare quality and affordability that places the health and financial well-being of employees and families first. Let’s get moving! ” said Elizabeth Mitchell, President & CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health.

“This Alliance was created because for too many American families, access to care is uneven, inconsistent and dependent on multiple variables.  While most First-World countries have managed to offer people basic healthcare, here in the U.S.—the wealthiest country in the world—patients are often caught in a maze of arbitrary regulations, payment systems and prices that vary widely.

Our members, who are nurses and healthcare professionals, see these inequities up-close understand all too well the need for greater transparency, oversight and accountability in our healthcare delivery system. But, basic health care is a right human right that should be available to all; not a privilege reserved for the wealthy few. What we need is a sea change in the drivers of our health care system so that working families — indeed all families — can access the care they need and deserve,” said Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers.

“Every single day, AFSCME health care workers see how the current system fails to provide Americans with the care they deserve. The high cost of health care and prescription drugs, coupled with decades of stagnant wages, places millions of Americans in a position where they must choose between paying for basic necessities and life-saving medications. By joining Consumers First, AFSCME will ensure that frontline health care workers are at the table as we seek to expand access to quality health care for all,” said Lee Saunders, President, AFSCME.

“Large employers, like the members of the American Benefits Council, provide the high-value, high-quality health coverage that people like. But these employer plan sponsors are consumers, too, and the high costs that plague our health care system – brought about by flawed policies and backwards incentives – are simply untenable. There is much that can be accomplished through cooperation and consensus, which is why we are proud to join with the other members of Consumers First to find practical solutions,” said James A. KleinPresident, American Benefits Council.

“Children are among the most vulnerable consumers of healthcare and their needs are often neglected. Children need special care, like pediatric surgeons, emergency medications like EpiPens and other items that often don’t receive the attention they deserve. It’s time to put consumers first, and children must be at the front of the line,” said Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus on Children.

Dept. of Revenue: John Dickert appointed State and Local Finance Division administrator

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CONTACT: Patty Mayers, Communications Director
608.266.2300 or [email protected]

Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca announced today that John Dickert has been appointed to serve as State and Local Finance Division Administrator, effective May 20, 2019.

“John’s background as the former three-term mayor of the City of Racine along with his experience in residential and commercial real estate provides him with a unique perspective for this position. His keen understanding of local government and the issues facing local government officials will help us to better serve their needs and, more importantly, their citizens. I look forward to having him as a member of our leadership team, and I know that he will do a fantastic job in his new position,” Secretary Barca said. “With more than 30 years in both the public and private sectors, John’s broad-based executive and managerial experience will be of great value to our department. Some of the most effective administrators of the State and Local Finance division were former mayors.”

Most recently, Dickert served as President/CEO at Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) where he managed staff in the United States and Canada. He advised public officials in both countries on policy issues and strategy for GLSLCI, most notably in water and infrastructure systems, an area of great focus with Governor Evers declaring 2019 as the Year of Clean Drinking Water. Additionally, he developed programming, legislation and financial plans. From 2009 – 2017, he was mayor of the City of Racine where he implemented a plan to build the economy, eliminate debt, restructure the budget, and improve efficiency and customer service for residents and businesses.

Earlier in his career, Dickert worked in residential and commercial real estate with First Weber Group and as a political consultant for Heartland Solutions Group. He also worked in government affairs for the Wisconsin Credit Union League, Foley and Lardner Law and was a staff member in the Wisconsin Legislature as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Forward Wisconsin: Full house at the Waukesha Strategy and Action meeting

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Contact: Elizabeth Shimek, 608-237-9166

Wisconsin is Ready to #Fight4Medicaid

Madison – Yesterday, Forward Wisconsin held its inaugural in-person Strategy & Action Meeting in Waukesha County. Over thirty people attended the Monday night event at the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield.

Participants heard updates from Joint Finance Committee Member Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), strategies for advocacy by Representative Greta Neubauer (D-Racine), and a discussion of Wisconsin’s struggles with a lack of affordable, accessible health care by Dr. Kathy Hardtke and Representative Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa). Participants then worked together on projects designed to push legislators to support the Medicaid expansion and activate the 70 percent of Wisconsinites who support the Medicaid expansion.

Rep. Greta Neubauer said, “We had an incredible crowd tonight in Brookfield. 30+ community members came ready to fight for the Medicaid expansion. It was wonderful to work with so many people on actions they can take in their own neighborhoods to fight for affordable, accessible healthcare in Wisconsin.”

Under Governor Tony Evers’ proposed budget, completing the Medicaid expansion would provide affordable, accessible healthcare to an estimated 82,000 people in Wisconsin and reduce private insurance premiums by 7 to 11% statewide. It would save over $300 million, and the reinvestment of that money in evidence-based health programs would bring $1.6 billion in new federal dollars to Wisconsin and improve quality of care for all Wisconsinites.

Forward Wisconsin’s next Strategy & Action Meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 20th, 2019 from 7:00 to 8:30pm at Fox Point Village Hall. Participants can RSVP online at the link below: https://actionnetwork.org/events/north-shore-strategy-and-action-meeting.

Forward Wisconsin is a project of the Wisconsin Legislative Democrats aimed at lifting the voices of Wisconsinites who support the Medicaid Expansion and the broader People’s Budget proposed by Governor Tony Evers. For more information and to get involved, visit www.forwardwisc.com. Find Forward Wisconsin on Facebook at facebook.com/forwardwisc/ or Twitter at www.twitter.com/forward_wisc.

Marquette University faculty and graduate workers: To march for fair process

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CONTACT:  Rachel Mann, (202) 740-4020, [email protected]

Janet Veum,(202) 230-2143, [email protected]

MILWAUKEE- Following a meeting Tuesday with Marquette University President Lovell, non-tenure track (NTT) faculty and graduate workers are escalating their efforts in demanding the administration issue a written commitment to a fair process to form their union without procedural challenges, delays, or union-busting tactics. Participants will rally and march to the administration building.

WHO: Marquette University non-tenure track faculty, graduate workers, tenured faculty, undergraduates and community supporters.

WHAT: Non-Tenure Track Faculty and Graduate Workers March for a Fair Process

WHEN: Wednesday, May 15, 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: March from Father Marquette statue (1355 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233) to Zilber Hall ( 1250 Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233).

VISUALS: Marchers and rally participants holding signs and bullhorns

Milwaukee County Exec. Abele: Announces campaign co-chairs

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Contact: Andy Suchorski

[email protected]

Endorsements demonstrate strength, diversity of support for Abele’s re-election

MILWAUKEE – Chris Abele’s campaign for Milwaukee County Executive released their first endorsements today, highlighting the campaign’s co-chairs who will be helping to re-elect Chris Abele in 2020.

The initial co-chairs of the campaign are:

  • Willie Hines, former Milwaukee Common Council President
  • Bryan Kennedy, Mayor of Glendale
  • Alex Lasry, Senior Vice President, Milwaukee Bucks*
  • Mayhoua Moua, Founder, Moua Consulting*
  • Patricia Ruiz-Cantu, Latino Caucus Chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin*
  • Sheldon Wasserman, County Board Supervisor

“Chris Abele understands the importance of working with other elected and community leaders to get things done,” said Willie Hines. “He’s done a great job as County Executive but understands we still have a lot of work to do to end racial disparities throughout Milwaukee County. Chris is the right person to lead Milwaukee County and I endorse his candidacy.”

“I supported Chris Abele’s opponent in the last election, but Chris has never let that get in the way of working with me to help Glendale and Milwaukee County residents,” said Bryan Kennedy. “That showed me Chris’ character. Chris always puts his constituents ahead of politics and has demonstrated tremendous leadership over the past eight years as executive. We need more leaders like Chris Abele, and I am proud to support him for re-election.”

“Over the past 8 years, Chris Abele’s leadership has led to Milwaukee County’s growth and transformation,” said Alex Lasry. “From the Fiserv Forum to helping land the 2020 DNC convention, Chris is doing all he can to make sure Milwaukee County leads the way and grows for everyone. He’s the right person to continue to lead us into Milwaukee County’s promising future.”

“I am supporting Chris Abele because he listens to the needs of real people – and then he acts,” said Patricia Ruiz-Cantu. “Milwaukee has some significant challenges, including major racial disparities, and it is great to see that Chris is willing to address these challenges head on. When he says he wants to empower people, he means it, and I am proud to stand with Chris this election.”

“Chris Abele has worked hard to improve collaboration with the County Board, and I give him a lot of credit for improving his relationship with many of the County Supervisors,” said Sheldon Wasserman. “To me, this demonstrated his character and his leadership ability. Because of Chris, we are unified in our efforts to bring more resources to Milwaukee County and to better serve residents. Chris is the right person to lead us forward and help secure Milwaukee County’s fair share of funding from the state.”

“I’m proud to count each of these great community leaders as friends and to have had the privilege to work with each of them over the years on various projects to support the community we all love,” said Chris Abele. “I’m even prouder to have their support as co-chairs for my re-election campaign.”

The election for Milwaukee County Executive will take place on April 7, 2020. For additional information about Chris Abele or his campaign, please visit www.chrisabele.com.

*Chris Abele for County Executive does not imply the endorsement of the organizations of the Milwaukee Bucks, Moua Consulting, or Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

One Wisconsin Institute: National wave legislator trying to take health care decisions away from women arrives in Wisconsin

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MEDIA CONTACT
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
Election to Legislature Doesn’t Give Power or Right to Made Decisions for Women and Families

MADISON, Wis. — The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Analiese Eicher on actions of the Assembly Republican majority to make healthcare decisions for Wisconsin women and families:

“Taking health care choices away from women and their families is the publicly stated, ultimate goal of many of the legislators pushing these new restrictions on abortion and health care providers.

“In other states handfuls of legislators are enacting radical abortion bans with no exceptions for rape or incest. They are imposing their beliefs on women and their families and making medical decisions for them instead of allowing trained medical professionals to make the best decisions for patients, in consultation with patients.

“Getting elected to the Wisconsin state legislature doesn’t give anyone the power or the right to make the most personal of health care decisions for women and their families. Yet that is exactly what some legislators want to do today in Wisconsin.”

Remaining abortion-related bills pass Assembly

The remaining GOP-backed abortion-related bills passed the state Assembly this afternoon without any Democratic support.

The three bills’ passage came after the chamber voted to approve legislation to require care for those who survive an abortion. All of the bills passed with almost complete Republican support, though GOP Rep. Chuck Wichgers, of Muskego, joined Dems to oppose them.

The GOP bills include measures to: bar Planned Parenthood from getting money under the Medical Assistance program; ban abortions on the basis of a fetus’ race, gender and other qualifiers; and require physicians to tell women considering taking an abortion-inducing drug the process could be reversed.

Republicans on the floor gave impassioned support for the bills, particularly AB 182, which would ban abortions solely because of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex or due to a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome or another congenital disability.

Bill author Rep. Barbara Dittrich, of Oconomowoc, warned her colleagues that they came off as hypocritical “when we fight for vulnerable populations (while) telling them at the same time they never should have been born.”

“My fellow members, we cannot say we are advocates for the disabled, for minorities, for women while we also champion their extermination in the womb,” she said.

The legislation is broader than a 2013 bill that would have banned sex-selective abortions. That session, it cleared the Assembly but died in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Dems continued pushing for accepting the federal Medicaid expansion dollars and moves to improve the health care of mothers and babies.

Rep. Lisa Subeck also argued the bills were the latest in a pattern of Republicans putting “politics before women’s health care.”

“These bills do nothing more than interfere with access to care,” the Madison Dem said.

The bills now head to the state Senate, and the chamber is expected to take them up in June.

Rep. Anderson: Wisconsin Republicans must put women’s health first

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Contact: Logan Vidal [email protected] (608) 266-8570

MADISON – Today, Wisconsin Republicans are voting on measures that do nothing to address extreme disparities in maternal health and infant mortality in Wisconsin. In response, Rep. Anderson released the following statement:

“Instead of focusing on nonexistent problems, we have an actual moral responsibility to rectify the worst racial disparities in the nation when it comes to infant mortality. Governor Evers’ budget will ensure that babies are born healthy and stay healthy by providing quality health care for every Wisconsinite. Today’s votes are not just a distraction, they actively hurt women.”

“The truth is that women, not politicians, should be empowered to make their own health care decisions in consultation with their doctors,” said Rep. Anderson. “Without Planned Parenthood and the other nonprofit Title X health care centers, safe and affordable care is just not possible. I’m proud to sit with a Governor who is committed to protecting the rights of all women, improving birth outcomes, and expanding access to reproductive services. These proposals, along with the expansion of Medicaid, will provide health insurance to 82,000 Wisconsinites and support healthy communities throughout Wisconsin. Let’s focus on what actually matters: improving and protecting women’s health.”

Rep. Steineke: Applauds DOT’s new highway 15 safety measures

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CONTACT: Rep. Jim Steineke (608) 266-2418

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) released a list of immediate safety improvements to make on Hwy 15. The safety changes include:

  • Refreshing pavement markings;
  • Re-assessing traffic signal timings in Hortonville;
  • Reevaluating signage in the corridor, including curve chevrons;
  • Increasing law enforcement and speed monitoring efforts

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) released the following statement
following the DOT’s release of these plans:

“Having worked collaboratively with the DOT, local officials, and legislative colleagues, I am
happy to see these proactive steps are being taken to promote safety for our drivers and vehicles. The release of these safety measures will have immediate and impactful effects in our community. As we continue to work in conjunction with DOT and local officials, I will continue advocating for ways to keep our roads safe.”

Rep. Wichgers: Applauds Joint Finance Committee vote on Naloxone reporting

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Contact: Rep. Chuck Wichgers
May 15 , 2019 (608) 266-3363

Madison, WI – State Representative Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego) applauded the Joint Finance Committee’s vote to include his legislation combating the opioid epidemic in the biennial budget. Assembly Bill 139, authored by Rep. Wichgers and Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), would require the Department of Health Services to report on the administration of medications such as naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan. This medication is used to reverse opioid overdose. The aim of this legislation is to help health care providers avoid prescribing opioids to individuals with past history of opioid abuse.

“This common sense legislation will arm health care providers with much-needed information about their patients and avoid future tragic overdoses,” said Rep. Wichgers, “I applaud the Joint Finance Committee for including it in the state budget.”

Sen. Testin’s beer and cheese tasting birthday party 🗓

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Please join us for Senator Patrick Testin 2nd Annual

Beer and Cheese Tasting Birthday Party

Help Patrick celebrate his 31st birthday

Special Guests:  Senator Scott Fitzgerald, and Sen. Devin LeMahieu

Monday, June 10

5:00-7:00 PM

Stevens Point Brewery Tasting Room

2617 Water St

Stevens Point, WI 54481

$1000 Birthday level host

$500 Pointer level host

$250 Cheese hosts

$100 per person to attend

RSVP to [email protected] or 608-257-8035

Testin for Senate

5369 Fairview Drive

Stevens Point, WI  54482

Senate approves changes to water pollution credits system

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The Senate on Tuesday unanimously backed changes to the state’s water pollution credits system.

The bill, which next goes to the Assembly, would create a central clearinghouse from which facilities and farmers could buy and sell water pollution credits. Now, those that want to buy and sell credits can do it directly without a third party’s involvement. As under current law, those that purchase the credits under the bill would be allowed to exceed certain pollution limits.

Under the bill, the Department of Administration would choose an independent third party to serve as the clearinghouse for the credits. The transactions would occur between the clearinghouse and two types of polluters defined under state law: point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants, and nonpoint sources, such as farmers. Third-party brokers, who would be certified by the DNR, would also be able to sell credits.

The clearinghouse would first work with non-point sources in order to help them determine practices or other means to reduce or remove phosphorus from a certain geographical area in order to generate credits. The entity would then certify the non-point sources’ work, before selling the credits to any area point sources, allowing them to exceed certain pollution limits.

Senate confirms Wolfe as Elections administrator

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The Senate today unanimously confirmed Meagan Wolfe as Elections Commission administrator, making her the agency’s first permanent leader since it was created in 2016.

The 32-0 vote confirms Wolfe for a term through July 1 as well as a second that ends June 30, 2023.

Wolfe was first appointed in March 2018, after the Senate rejected the appointments of Mike Haas and Brian Bell as the administrators of the Elections and Ethics commissions, respectively.

At the time, Senate Republicans cited the old Government Accountability Board’s handling of a John Doe probe and other concerns for the votes. The Elections Commission then selected Wolfe, who was serving as the assistant administrator, to replace Haas and requested the Senate confirm her.

Senate, Assembly approve ‘Marsy’s Law’ amendment

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The Senate and Assembly have signed off on a constitutional amendment that would add more rights for crime victims.

The measure will now head to voters for a statewide referendum in 2020.

Co-author Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, said the amendment “sends a message to victims across the state of Wisconsin that the Legislature stands with you. You are not a second-class citizen.”

Many of the protections within the provision are already in place in state statutes, but would be elevated to the Constitution. Wanggaard said that would put victims on an equal footing as defendants.

But Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said the more than 750-word amendment is significantly longer than the 462 words that comprise the Bill of Rights. He said the changes proposed in the amendment — known as Marsy’s Law — should be made in statutes, not enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution, which already affords them some protections.

Risser also said the amendment amounts to “stroking a billionaire’s ego.”

The amendment has been driven nationally by Henry Nicholas, whose sister Marsy was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1983. The courts weren’t required to notify his family when the accused murderer was released on bail, and he and his mother were confronted by him in a grocery store.

The group behind Marsy’s Law dropped nearly $1.2 million lobbying the Capitol in the 2017-18 session, putting it among the most active groups seeking to influence legislators over the two-year period.

“This amendment doesn’t do anything new. It gives a false sense,” Risser said.

The Senate approved the amendment 27-5 with GOP Sen. Duey Stroebel, of Saukville, joined Risser and Senate Dems Mark Miller, of Monona; Jeff Smith, of Eau Claire; and Lena Taylor, of Milwaukee; in opposing the bill.

Meanwhile in the Assembly, the measure passed 82-15 early this afternoon. Republican Reps. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, of Fond du Lac; Rob Stafsholt, of New Richmond; and Treig Pronschinske, of Mondovi joined 12 Dems in opposing it.

State expected to have additional $2.9 billion to spend after revenue projections tick up

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U.S. Rep. Gallagher: Joins Rep. Hartzler to introduce bill to ban Chinese military scientists from American labs

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Contact: Jordan Dunn
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), joined by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), today introduced legislation that would require the U.S. government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The bill would prohibit individuals employed or sponsored by these Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. Click HERE for bill text.

In recent years, the PLA has sponsored thousands of scientists and engineers to conduct sensitive research abroad, including in the United States,” said Rep. Gallagher. “The PLA openly admits that it leverages these efforts to support the development of new military technologies, and we can’t ignore the threat this poses to our national security. I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside Senator Cotton and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that American innovation benefits the American military–and not our adversaries.”

This is a common-sense bill that will help ensure China’s military arm is not collaborating with U.S. universities and researchers on sensitive information. Many of these individuals often mask their PLA and Chinese Communist Parties ties allowing them to work at top universities without the schools’ knowledge of their military affiliation. This legislation takes an important step to protect our universities from China’s efforts to exploit our free and open society,” said Rep. Hartzler.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is being armed with help from American colleges and tech companies. Keeping PLA scientists out of our research laboratories is a basic act of self-defense. It’s stunning that this practice isn’t already prohibited,” said Sen. Cotton.

“Student and research visas ought to be reserved for those foreign nationals who want to contribute to our universities and research institutions, not for our foreign adversaries and spies that wish to do us harm. China has taken advantage of us for too long,” said Sen. Grassley.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the PLA Visa Security Act,” said Sen. Cruz. “America must be vigilant in protecting the research, training, expertise, and innovation that the Chinese Communist Party has been stealing and exploiting for military and industrial purposes. I am hopeful my colleagues will move swiftly to pass this bill to safeguard America’s national security.”

“We cannot allow Chinese military institutions to obtain visas that give them a technological advantage,” said Sen. Blackburn. “Permitting PLA members to access and research dual-use technologies in our universities and labs is damaging to our national security. We can no longer provide them access to the same research opportunities afforded to Americans.”

“For too long, China’s communist government has been exploiting our student visa system to spy on our universities and steal our technology. This bill will keep the Chinese military away from critical research on our college campuses and curb China’s economic espionage activities in the United States,” said Sen. Hawley.

Background

Chinese military scientists continue to research advanced dual-use technology in the United States and other western countries. According to some estimates, over the past decade, the People’s Liberation Army has sent more than 2,500 military engineers and scientists to study abroad. At times, these scientists have not disclosed their connection to the Chinese military.

Kate O’Keeffe & Melissa Korn, “China’s Military Sends More Scholars Abroad, at Times Without Schools’ Knowledge,” Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2018

Madhumita Murgia & Yuan Yang, “Microsoft worked with Chinese military university on artificial intelligence,” Financial Times, April 10, 2019

Alex Joske, “The Chinese military’s exploitation of Western tech firms,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute, April 12, 2019

Alex Joske, “Picking Flowers, Making Honey: The Chinese Military’s Collaboration With Foreign Universities,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute, October 30, 2018

Assistant Secretary of State Chistopher Ford, “Why China Technology-Transfer Threats Matter,” State Department, October 24, 2018

U.S. Rep. Kind: Introduces bill to address veterinarian shortage across rural Wisconsin

Contact: Aaron White
Phone: 202-225-5506
[email protected]

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, which would address the veterinarian shortage across Wisconsin by eliminating burdensome taxes on programs that encourage veterinarians to practice in rural communities. The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE). Companion legislation was introduced in Senate by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

“Veterinarians are an important part of a healthy rural and farm economy, but many regions throughout our state are facing a shortage of animal care professionals. This bill will help attract veterinarians to communities in need across western and central Wisconsin, and ensure a healthy and safe food supply,” said Rep. Ron Kind.

The bill is supported by the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA):

“The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) is extremely grateful to Congressman Kind for leading the reintroduction of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) Enhancement Act.  Expanding the program through passage of the VMLRP Enhancement Act is more important now than ever, as food animal veterinarians are aging out of the workforce and struggling to recruit associates to take on over their businesses,” said Kim Brown Pokorny, MS, MBA, Executive Director, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association.

The United States Department of Agriculture has designated five underserved zones in Wisconsin, including one zone in Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District which spans Eau Claire, Jackson and Trempealeau counties. In this shortage zone, there are approximately 36,000 cows and only 12 food animal or mixed animal veterinarians.

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) is subject to a burdensome 37 percent federal withholding tax, limiting the number of awards for young veterinarians attempting to utilize the program. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act will provide an exemption from the federal income withholding tax for veterinarians and bring more veterinaries to rural communities across the country.

U.S. Rep. Steil: Signs onto bill forcing vote on legislation supporting Israel

Contact: Sally Fox, [email protected] 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Bryan Steil signed onto a discharge petition to bring H.R. 336, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, to a vote on the House floor. Steil is a cosponsor of H.R. 336.

“Anti-Semitism around the world must be rejected. Israel and the Jewish people continue to face threats from Iran, Syria, and Russia. Ensuring Israel has the resources to defend itself and uphold our shared values is critical. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement represents a direct economic and political threat to one of America’s most important allies.  Speaker Pelosi should bring this bill to a vote to support Israel,”said Steil.

Background on the discharge petition and H.R. 336:

A discharge petition requires 218 signatures to receive a vote on the House floor. H.R. 336 is made up of four bills:

The Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Act of 2019—legislation that authorizes security assistance to Israel.

The U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act—legislation that extends U.S. defense cooperation with Jordan.

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019—legislation that establishes additional sanctions related to the conflict in Syria, specifically those who support the Assad regime’s war against Syrian people.

The Combating BDS Act of 2019—legislation that allows states to divest from entities boycotting Israel.

The Senate overwhelming passed legislation against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Joins effort requiring states to secure elections

0

Contact: [email protected]

              202-224-6225

The Protecting American Votes and Elections Act Mandates Paper Ballots and Risk-Limiting Audits in All Federal Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today joined her Senate colleagues, led by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), to introduce legislation that would protect American elections from foreign interference by mandating hand-marked paper ballots and setting new cybersecurity standards for all federal elections. The bill provides the strongest protection for American elections of any proposal currently before Congress.

“American intelligence officials have made it clear that we face an ongoing threat to our elections from foreign adversaries and hackers. We must take action to protect the integrity of the vote,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation to require paper ballots and secure our federal elections is a commonsense solution that will strengthen election security and help protect our democracy from foreign interference.”

“The Russian government interfered in American elections in 2016 and if we don’t stop them, they and other governments are going to do it again. The administration refuses to do what it takes to protect our democracy, so Congress has to step up. Our bill will give voters the confidence they need that our elections are secure,” said Senator Wyden. “The PAVE Act scraps insecure voting machines that are juicy targets for hackers and replaces them with reliable, secure hand-marked paper ballots. It gives states the funding they need to defend their election systems and puts the Department of Homeland Security in charge of setting strong security standards for every federal election.”

The Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act of 2019 requires paper ballots and statistically rigorous “risk-limiting” audits for all federal elections – two measures recommended by experts in a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2018​ report on election security.

Specifically, the PAVE Act:

·         Bans internet, WiFi and cellular connections for voting machines, and gives the Department of Homeland Security the authority to set, for the first time, minimum cybersecurity standards for voting machines, voter registration databases, electronic poll books used to ‘check in’ voters at polling places and election night reporting websites;

·         Provides state and local governments with $500 million to buy new, secure ballot scanning machines, and $250 million to buy new ballot marking devices to be used by voters with disabilities; and

·         Permits the federal government to reimburse states the cost of conducting post-elections audits, as well as the cost of designing and printing ballots.

These measures, collectively, are necessary to fix the vulnerabilities in our election infrastructure highlighted by Russia in 2016, to secure our elections from foreign hackers and give voters confidence in election results. Read a summary of the bill here.

The PAVE Act has been endorsed by leading cybersecurity experts, voting rights groups and fair elections advocates, including the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, Brennan Center for Justice, Protect Democracy, National Election Defense Coalition, Fair Fight Action and American Statistical Association.

“Unfortunately, across the country and in Georgia, too many voters must depend on unreliable, hackable voting machines to try to make their voices heard. In Georgia, the governor has rejected the advice of security experts in favor of rewarding corporations with politically connected lobbyists, and he is not alone in jeopardizing our democracy. We must ensure that every citizen’s vote is protected against hackers who would thwart our constitutional rights as mute the will of the people. The PAVE Act will safeguard the votes of Americans in every state in the union, regardless of whether state elections officials find doing so politically expedient. I am proud to endorse Sen. Wyden’s legislation and bring real security to our elections,” said Stacey Abrams, Founder of Fair Fight Action.

“American elections should be free from foreign influence and political manipulation. It is clear after the 2018 elections that there needs to be mandatory cybersecurity standards that protect our election infrastructure from hacking. This legislation will build on the work of the Election Assistance Commission and give the resources that elections officials need to protect our election infrastructure,” said Virginia Kase, Chief Executive Officer of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

“Our democracy works best when our elections are free and fair, and when every eligible voice is heard. The PAVE Act would mandate paper backups for every vote, and require that those backups be reviewed through rigorous, risk-limiting audits. It would also create minimum cybersecurity standards for the use of voting machines and other critical election infrastructure. Together these steps would greatly increase the integrity and security of American elections,” said Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

“With state election systems facing constant cyber threats, this legislation would institute the most critical safeguards needed to defend against sophisticated cyberattacks. In addition to requiring the critical failsafes for voting systems, this legislation also importantly requires minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration databases and electronic poll books. These additional measures are crucial. In the last election cycle, we saw too many voters denied the right to vote because their names were suddenly not on the voter rolls or their data was compromised in other ways,”said Susannah Goodman, Director of the Election Security program at Common Cause.

“Public Citizen applauds Senator Wyden’s work to secure our elections. The shocking lack of a mandatory minimum election cybersecurity standard has meant that our elections remain incredibly susceptible to interference. If implemented, this commonsense legislation would ensure that elections in all states are protected, taking us beyond just securing the ballot, to protecting voter registration databases and election night reporting websites,” said Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Public Citizen.

“The PAVE Act takes on one of the most pressing challenges facing our democracy: ensuring that the country’s voting equipment counts every vote accurately, free from interference by cyberattackers. It sets baseline standards for responding to a national security risk that strikes at the core of our democracy,” said Larry Schwartztol, Counsel, Protect Democracy.

“The National Election Defense Coalition applauds Sen. Wyden for his vision and leadership on election security and voter accessibility. The provisions for paper ballots and post-election risk-limiting audits in the PAVE Act reflect the highest standards for providing resilience and transparency in the election process and will enhance voter confidence. We commend Senator Wyden for prioritizing a path to ensure full accessibility for all voters with verifiable elections,” said Susan Greenhalgh, Policy Director of the National Election Defense Coalition.

“The PAVE Act is a much needed step forward in election security. For years now, security researchers have been raising concerns with outdated voting equipment used across the country. But paper records that can be verified by voters and hand-audited increase the integrity of our elections and ward off potential interference. Now is the time for Congress to act and secure the integrity of the ballot box before we head into the next national election,” said Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, Senior Staff Technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The PAVE Act is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

An online version of this release is available here.

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Joins Sen. Ernst to reintroduce bipartisan legislation to protect and expand rural broadband

0

Contact: [email protected]

202-224-6225

Bipartisan bill provides regulatory relief for telecommunications companies to expand high speed broadband access in our rural communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to encourage investment in high-speed internet and protect and expand access to broadband in our rural communities. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports (ACCESS) Rural America Act would provide regulatory relief to rural telecommunications service providers by allowing them to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These small companies—many of which are the sole service providers in their region—could be put out of business by looming regulatory costs. Specifically, this bipartisan legislation would increase the number of investors that triggers SEC public reporting requirements for rural telecommunications companies. This will save these small companies from costly SEC reporting requirements that were never intended for them.

“Reliable high-speed broadband is critical to strengthening small businesses and communities throughout rural Wisconsin. Unfortunately, rural telecom companies are getting hit with disclosure costs that were never intended for them, creating new challenges to delivering broadband access throughout Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our bipartisan legislation provides the regulatory relief that rural service providers need to build-out high-speed broadband in small communities and continue our efforts to bring broadband access for all – no matter where you live in Wisconsin.”

“Access to quality broadband and high-speed internet is essential to competing in today’s economy. Unfortunately, many of our rural telecom providers get caught up in Washington’s regulatory web, making it that much harder to invest in broadband across Iowa,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “With this bipartisan legislation, we’re expanding access to broadband for our rural communities in Iowa.”

“Small, rural broadband providers want to focus their energy, efforts and investment toward connecting more rural broadband customers. Unfortunately, the risk of expensive compliance associated with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations has forced some broadband providers to redirect their energy and resources to keeping shareholder counts below a certain threshold. These small, locally owned companies, many of which are more than 100 years old, are seeking reasonable relief from the threat of burdensome SOX regulations, which could cost their companies more than $1 million annually. We fully support the efforts of Senator Baldwin to provide the thoughtful, measured relief of the ACCESS Rural America Act,” said William C. Esbeck, Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association.

“Federal Securities and Exchange Commission registration and reporting requirements intended for larger, publicly-traded firms pose significant challenges for, and can impose substantial burdens on, smaller, locally-owned companies with limited resources.  NTCA therefore greatly appreciates the leadership of Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Joni Ernst, Kyrsten Sinema, and Kevin Cramer in introducing the ACCESS Rural America Act, which will help relieve these burdens and enable small providers to focus more on their core mission of deploying and operating advanced broadband networks in rural areas,” said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.

“We are extremely pleased to learn of Senator Baldwin’s effort to support a Sarbanes Oxley relief bill for Senate consideration. Resources expended on SEC registration compliance would directly reduce funds available for broadband expansion and slow or even halt expansion and endanger our business to continue. SEC compliance would be in addition to the rigorous reporting already in place. Resources are continually being spent to educate shareholders on the thresholds and to manage the effects of exceeding the thresholds. We look forward to seeing our Senate working in a bipartisan effort to help incent rural broadband providers deploy network to assist economic development and telemedicine in the rural portions of our great state of Wisconsin,” said John Klatt, President/CEO of Lakeland Communications in Milltown, Wisconsin.

“Northeast Iowa Telephone Company (NEIT), a provider of broadband Internet and other communication services in rural areas of Northeast Iowa via state of the art fiber optic network(s) is pleased that Senator Ernst is sponsoring important legislation to provide significant relief from burdensome Sarbanes-Oxley rules for small telecommunications providers.  Passage of this legislation will allow NEIT, and companies like it, to continue expanding broadband service, truly the “Super Highway” of the 21st Century throughout rural parts of the US rather than having to use scarce resources on complying with additional federal regulations for small telecommunications companies who are already subject to significant regulation from other Federal and State Agencies. We look forward to passage of this legislation so that the important work of deploying advanced broadband services that will allow rural customers to compete in the global economy can continue,” said David Byers, Chief Operating Officer at Northeast Iowa Telephone Co. in Monona, Iowa.

“As a community-based communications company in northwest Iowa serving 21,000 customers in 30 communities, Premier Communications is pleased to have the support of Senator Ernst in sponsoring legislation with the purpose of reducing the financial and regulatory burdens of existing Sarbanes-Oxley rules. Without the expansion of the shareholder thresholds, Premier would be forced to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission and take on the financial burden of meeting the numerous regulations. With this proposed legislation, Premier will be able to continue focusing on network investments in fiber optics that will serve its rural customers with advanced broadband services and applications rather than allocating precious financial resources in regulation. In addition, we have seen increased economic development opportunities in the rural communities where network investments have occurred and we look forward to continuing that throughout all of our service territory,” said Doug Boone, CEO of Premier Communications in Sioux Center, Iowa.

“We thank Senator Ernst for her continuous efforts to eliminate burdensome Federal requirements that impede rural Broadband deployment. Thank you Senator Ernst for supporting Iowa’s locally owned and operated broadband service providers. We look forward to working together for successful passage of this important legislation,” said Dave Duncan, CEO of the Iowa Telecommunications Alliance.

The full text of the legislation is available here

An online version of this release is available here.

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Joins Sen. Murray and Rep. Pocan to introduce Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-harassment Act to reduce bullying and harassment at colleges and universities across the country

0

Contact:

Mairead Lynn: 202-224-5398 (Murray)

John Kraus/Kasey Hampton (Baldwin)

Ron Boehmer: 202-225-2906 (Pocan) 

One in five college students are victims of cyberbullying, and LGBTQ students are nearly twice as likely to be harassed than their peers 

Legislation would require colleges and universities to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or religion 

Bill is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman college student who died by suicide after experiencing harassment and cyberbullying

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) re-introduced legislation aimed at reducing bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying, at colleges and universities around the country. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2019 would require institutions of higher education to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or religion. The bill also establishes a grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities and programs.

The legislation is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, who died by suicide after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the internet. One in five college students are victims of cyberbullying, and LGBTQ students are nearly twice as likely to experience harassment as their peers.

“No student should have to put their wellbeing, their safety, or their life in jeopardy just to access an education, but sadly we’re seeing students around the country take drastic measures because of bullying and harassment,” said Senator Murray. “In introducing this legislation, I’m calling on colleges and universities to step up and start taking responsibility for students’ safety, and I’m so thankful for the support and partnership of advocates like Jane Clementi—who is fighting to ensure every student—no matter who they are, what they believe, or who they love—can pursue higher education free from discrimination, harassment, or bullying.

“No student should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be, places of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence,” said Senator Baldwin“This legislation, named in honor of Tyler Clementi, is an important step forward in not only preventing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement. Everyone at colleges and universities across America should be able to pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying.”

“No student should be harassed or cyberbullied for who they are, or who they love,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Bullying is a real and persistent danger for many LGBTQ students at our colleges and universities, but there is no federal legislation that specifically protects students from being targeted based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And more than two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the Administration has worked to strip the rights of LGBTQ students as it rolled back regulations on equality at the Department of Education and directed the Department of Justice to file amicus briefs in support of discriminatory policies. With the White House’s refusal to act, we must take a strong stance to ensure that all students are protected. That’s why the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is so important, as it ensures that institutions of higher learning are a place of open expression, which celebrate diversity and embrace students from all different backgrounds.”

“We are grateful to Congressman Pocan and Senator Murray for reintroducing the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, and fully support this legislation.  We believe all institutions of higher education should have policies to keep all their students safe.  Because every student deserves a positive educational experience in a safe environment free of harassment, bullying or humiliation, where they can learn, study and thrive regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or whatever else makes them special and precious; and every parent should have peace of mind that their children will be protected and free of harm while in the school’s care,”  said Jane Clementi, CEO and Founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Tyler’s mother.   

“No student should be subject to harassment or discrimination because of who they are or who they love,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs“The past two years have seen a rollback of protections for LGBTQ students by the Trump-Pence-DeVos administration. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is a significant step forward in curbing anti-LGBTQ harassment and fostering environments that are affirming and encouraging for LGBTQ students. We thank Senators Patty Murray and Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan for their leadership.”

“Harassment is rampant on college campuses and undermines students’ ability to thrive in a safe environment,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). “This bill is a critical step forward in combatting this scourge. It strengthens protections against harassment and would support much needed prevention and training programs. Every student in America deserves the right to learn without fear. This bill helps make that promise a reality.”

In addition to Senators Murray and Baldwin, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is also cosponsored by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Cardin (D-MD), Casey (D-PA), Duckworth (IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Gillibrand (D-NY), Harris (D-CA), Hassan (D-NH), Hirono (D-HI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Rosen (D-NV), Sanders (D-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Shaheen (D-NH), Smith (D-MN), Van Hollen (D-MD), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Wyden (D-OR).

In addition to Congressman Pocan, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is also cosponsored by Representatives Bonamici, Brownley, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Cicilline, Cohen, Craig, Crist, DelBene, Susan Davis, Deutch, Engel, Eshoo, Garamendi, Grijalva, Hayes, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Kilmer, Larsen, Lieu, Lowenthal, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, McCollum, Meng, Moore, Morelle, Moulton, Nadler, Norton, Pallone, Panetta, Peters, Pappas, Rice, Roybal-Allard, Ryan, Scanlon, Schakowsky, Schiff, Soto, Swalwell, Mike Thompson, Titus, Wasserman Schultz, and Watson Coleman.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Tyler Clementi Foundation, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, American Association of University Women (AAUW), GLSEN, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

To read the fact sheet of the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Actclick HERE.

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Joins U.S. Sen. Murray and U.S. Rep. Pocan to introduce Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act to reduce bullying and harassment at colleges and universities across the country 

Contact: [email protected]202-224-6225

One in five college students are victims of cyberbullying, and LGBTQ students are nearly twice as likely to be harassed than their peers 

Legislation would require colleges and universities to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or religion

 Bill is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman college student who died by suicide after experiencing harassment and cyberbullying

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) reintroduced legislation aimed at reducing bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying, at colleges and universities around the country. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2019 would require institutions of higher education to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or religion. The bill also establishes a grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities and programs.

The legislation is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, who died by suicide after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the internet. One in five college students are victims of cyberbullying, and LGBTQ students are nearly twice as likely to experience harassment as their peers. 

“No student should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be, places of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence,” said Senator Baldwin“This legislation, named in honor of Tyler Clementi, is an important step forward in not only preventing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement. Everyone at colleges and universities across America should be able to pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying.” 

“No student should have to put their wellbeing, their safety, or their life in jeopardy just to access an education, but sadly we’re seeing students around the country take drastic measures because of bullying and harassment,” said Senator Murray. “In introducing this legislation, I’m calling on colleges and universities to step up and start taking responsibility for students’ safety, and I’m so thankful for the support and partnership of advocates like Jane Clementi, who is fighting to ensure every student—no matter who they are, what they believe, or who they love—can pursue higher education free from discrimination, harassment, or bullying.”

“No student should be harassed or cyberbullied for who they are, or who they love,” said Representative Mark Pocan. “Bullying is a real and persistent danger for many LGBTQ students at our colleges and universities, but there is no federal legislation that specifically protects students from being targeted based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And more than two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the Administration has worked to strip the rights of LGBTQ students as it rolled back regulations on equality at the Department of Education and directed the Department of Justice to file amicus briefs in support of discriminatory policies. With the White House’s refusal to act, we must take a strong stance to ensure that all students are protected. That’s why the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is so important, as it ensures that institutions of higher learning are a place of open expression, which celebrate diversity and embrace students from all different backgrounds.”

“We are grateful to Congressman Pocan and Senator Murray for reintroducing the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, and fully support this legislation.  We believe all institutions of higher education should have policies to keep all their students safe.  Because every student deserves a positive educational experience in a safe environment free of harassment, bullying or humiliation, where they can learn, study and thrive regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or whatever else makes them special and precious; and every parent should have peace of mind that their children will be protected and free of harm while in the schools care,”  said Jane Clementi, CEO and Founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Tyler’s mother.    

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Tyler Clementi Foundation, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, American Association of University Women (AAUW), GLSEN, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“No student should be subject to harassment or discrimination because of who they are or who they love,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs. “The past two years have seen a rollback of protections for LGBTQ students by the Trump-Pence-DeVos administration. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is a significant step forward in curbing anti-LGBTQ harassment and fostering environments that are affirming and encouraging for LGBTQ students. We thank Senators Patty Murray and Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan for their leadership.”

“Harassment is rampant on college campuses and undermines students’ ability to thrive in a safe environment,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). “This bill is a critical step forward in combatting this scourge. It strengthens protections against harassment and would support much needed prevention and training programs. Every student in America deserves the right to learn without fear. This bill helps make that promise a reality.” 

In addition to Senators Baldwin and Murray, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is also cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). 

More information on the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is available here.

Voces de la Frontera: DACA-recipient daughter of student pastor detained by ICE in Racine faces possible detention at ICE check-in Wednesday

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Contact: Christine Neumann-Ortiz, 414-736-2835, [email protected]
Press Conference
Wednesday, May 15, 8:30am CST
ICE, 101 W. Ida B. Wells Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

 

Paula Hincapie is the daughter of Betty Rendón, a student pastor at Emaus Lutheran Church in Racine, WI who was detained by ICE along with her husband and uncle last week

ICE has demanded Paula report for a check-in at their Chicago office on Wednesday

Who: Paula Hincapie, a DACA recipient and mother whose parents were detained by ICE last week in Racine; Attorney Christopher Elmore; Christine Neumann-Ortiz of Voces de la Frontera; Scott Chalmers of Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

What: Press conference prior to Paula’s check-in with ICE

When: Wednesday, May 15, 8:30am

Where: Outside the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 101 West Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

CHICAGO— Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ordered Paula Hincapie, a DACA recipient and mother, to report for a check-in with ICE on Wednesday at 9am at the ICE office at 101 West Ida B. Wells Parkway in Chicago. Paula is the daughter of Carlos and Betty Rendón, asylum-seekers from Colombia who were detained by ICE last Wednesday in Racine. Betty Rendón is a student pastor at Emaus Lutheran Church in Racine. ICE also detained the Rendóns’ uncle, who was staying with the family. None of the family have a criminal record and Paula is currently a DACA recipient. Prior to the check-in, Paula will hold a press conference with Voces de la Frontera, her attorney Christopher Elmore, and representatives of Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where her mother is a doctoral student, to urge ICE to not deport her parents and to not separate her from her 5-year-old daughter. Under the Trump Administration, ICE has commonly detained people at check-ins like this one.

The detention of the Rendóns follows news reports that the Trump Administration was considering a plan to detain whole families of recently arrived asylum-seekers across the country. While the reports concluded that the plans had been abandoned, the arrest of the Rendón family suggests that the Administration is specifically targeting families seeking asylum.

Follow Voces de la Frontera on Twitter at @voces_milwaukee and on Facebook. 

WED AM Update: State Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in lame-duck lawsuit; Assembly, Senate meet today

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WED News Summary: JFC passes Evers’ clean drinking water plan; Pence visit Thursday

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WED PM Update: With $753 million boost to expected revenue, Evers, leggies propose options

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WisGOP: Lt. Governor Barnes’ taxpayer funded security costs skyrocket

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Barnes’ Cost to the Taxpayers on Track to be 50x Greater than Former Lt. Gov. Kleefisch
 
[Madison, WI] – Yesterday, it was reported that security costs for Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has skyrocketed compared to his Republican predecessor, former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. In just the first two months of this year, the state patrol has racked up nearly 898 hours shuffling Barnes back and forth to official, personal and political events at a cost to the taxpayers of $36,622. This puts the state on pace to spend nearly $220,000 this year alone on Barnes’ detail. That’s more than 50x what was spent in 2018 to cover Kleefisch, who received just 95.5 hours of coverage throughout the entire year at a cost of $4,370. Unlike Kleefisch, Lt. Governor Barnes is using state patrol to drive him to personal events such as church and going ice fishing.
Lt. Governor Barnes’ misuse of taxpayer funds come at the same time that he and Governor Evers are proposing to increase taxes on Wisconsin families by $1.3 billion while also giving their cabinet secretaries double-digit pay raises. Wisconsinites do not want to pay higher taxes so that Lt. Governor Barnes can use the state patrol as his own personal chauffeur service.
Read the full write-up here or find excerpts below.
STATE PATROL HOURS TO PROTECT BARNES SKYROCKET COMPARED TO KLEEFISCH
WisPolitics
JR Ross
May 14, 2019
On one day in February, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes drove to Kenosha, attended a Black History Month event at a school and had lunch in Racine before heading back to Milwaukee, where he started the day. There, he had a call with the president of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and by 5 p.m. was headed to dinner at the Mexican restaurant Cielito Lindo.
That day, taxpayers also picked up the tab for the State Patrol to put in 36 hours protecting him — the equivalent of three officers each working 12-hour shifts, according to a WisPolitics.com review.
It was part of a pattern for Barnes over just his first two months in office. The review found the state’s Dignitary Protection Unit put in nine times as many hours providing him protection as it did his predecessor during her final full year on the job.
Still, an aide to his predecessor Rebecca Kleefisch said the former lt. guv didn’t receive coverage for purely personal events, such as going to church, even at the height of the Act 10 protests.
That doesn’t appear to be the case with Barnes, according to the review, which found DPU provided protection for Barnes on seven days over the two-month period in which he had no official public events listed on his calendar. Three of those were Sundays, when the only entry on Barnes’ calendar was church. On another, a Saturday, the only entry was a 30-minute phone interview.
Still, DPU put in 18 hours protecting Barnes on one of those Sundays as he went to church with Gov. Tony Evers in Milwaukee and then drove to Madison six hours later, according to his official calendar.
State GOP spokesman Charles Nichols slammed Barnes’ use of state protection, particularly considering Dems attacked Gov. Scott Walker during the 2018 campaign as out of touch for his use of state planes to travel across Wisconsin. He said WisPolitics.com’s reporting suggested Barnes was using the DPU protection as a “perk.”
“DPU coverage is meant for security purposes, not a luxury where Lt. Gov. Barnes can be driven around in the back of a black SUV,” Nichols said.
WisPolitics.com requested information from the DPU on the days and hours Barnes was provided protection after the lieutenant governor was spotted at what appeared to be purely personal events with State Patrol protection. That request, which spanned immediately after Barnes was elected through March 1, found the first day he received coverage from the DPU was Dec. 28.
The cost for the nearly 898 hours the DPU logged accompanying Barnes to official, personal and political events totaled $36,662 — more than half of that for overtime — and puts him on pace for nearly $220,000 in protection for the full year.
Meanwhile, Kleefisch received protection on seven days over all of 2018, compared to the 47 that DPU officers accompanied Barnes between Dec. 28 and March 1. The total cost to protect Kleefisch last year was $4,370 for 95.5 hours.
Aide: Kleefisch didn’t receive protection for personal events
Kleefisch initially didn’t receive protection from the DPU after she took office, but that changed amid the protests over Act 10, said Daniel Suhr, her former chief of staff.
Even then, however, the standard was Kleefisch only received protection at official or political events where she was appearing as the lieutenant governor. That was particularly true for events that had been publicized ahead of time, Suhr said. But she didn’t receive coverage for personal events.
Records suggest Barnes often accompanied by more than one officer
The Department of Transportation, which oversees the State Patrol, refused to provide details on the number of officers that accompanied Barnes at various events, citing security concerns.
Still, it was clear from several entries that Barnes received protection from more than one officer on a given day.
The DPU reported 44 hours providing protection for Barnes Feb. 24, when he flew to Austin, Texas. There, he met with Mayor Steve Adler as well as officials from a pro-environmental group. He then went to the Texas Legislative Black Caucus luncheon before flying to Minneapolis.
The next day, he attended “Up North” events in Rice Lake, Barron and Cumberland. The following day, he was in Hayward and Springbrook, where he went ice fishing with Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior, before later returning to Madison.
Those three days accounted for 105 hours of protection from the DPU.
Similarly, Barnes racked up 94.5 hours over a three-day span in February while in Washington, D.C., for a political trip. On the day he flew back, he attended the 33rd annual Golden Shovel Awards presented by the National Association of Minority Contractors of Wisconsin and the state DOT in Pewaukee, did a reading event in Verona and attended a budget briefing before overnighting in Madison.
Asked for details on both out-of-state trips, Barnes’ office said it had provided WisPolitics.com all the relevant records relating to its request for the lieutenant governor’s official calendar. It also said personal events had been redacted from the calendar and it isn’t in possession of his political calendar.
Read the full write-up here.

WisPolitics Midday: May 15, 2019

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In today’s WisPolitics Midday update:

  • WI Supreme Court majority seemed skeptical of the allegation that “Lame Duck” session wasn’t constitutional.
  • VP Mike Pence will be in Eau Claire tomorrow.

WisPolitics.com/Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon with U.S. Sen. Johnson 🗓

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Milwaukee Press Club

NEWSMAKER LUNCHEON
For more information, please contact:
Joette Richards, (262)894-2224
[email protected]
www.milwaukeepressclub.org

MILWAUKEE – Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin will be the featured speaker at a Newsmaker Luncheon, hosted jointly by the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics.com, on Friday, May 31.

Johnson, a native of Mankato, Minnesota, is a former business executive who first was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and re-elected in 2016. Johnson, a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in business and accounting, moved to Oshkosh to join PACUR, a firm owned by his wife’s family, in 1979.  Johnson was named PACUR’s CEO in the mid-1980s and continued in that role after the firm was sold to Bowater Industries in 1987.

In 1997, Johnson purchased the firm and remained CEO until he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Johnson is Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and also serves on the Budget, Foreign Relations, and Commerce, Science and Transportation committees.

Johnson will take questions from a panel of journalists and from the audience at the luncheon, set for 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St.

The panel of journalists:
Charles Benson – Reporter/Anchor, Today’s TMJ4
Jeff Mayers – President, WisPolitics.com
Marti Mikkelson – Reporter, WUWM

The Milwaukee Press Club’s Newsmaker Luncheon Series is sponsored by the Medical College of Wisconsin  and Spectrum News 1.

WisPolitics.com partners with the press club for this luncheon as part of its ongoing event series in Milwaukee, sponsored by UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.

Press club Newsmaker Luncheons are held to shed light on issues of the day. The cost to attend is $20 for MPC members, $25 for non-members and $15 for students. Lunch is included. Seating is limited.  Advanced registration and payment are required and may be done online at www.milwaukeepressclub.org.  Checks may be mailed to the MPC at PO Box 176, North Prairie, WI  53153-0176. Cancellations will be accepted up to 48 hours in advance for a full refund.

Please contact Joette Richards at the Milwaukee Press Club at [email protected] with any questions or call 262-894-2224.

Special thanks to the Safe House/Newsroom Pub, home of the Milwaukee Press Club, for hosting the Newsmaker Luncheon Series.  Think of the Newsroom Pub for your next private party!  MPC members can book a room at no charge. The Newsroom Pub has FREE wireless internet service compliments of the Safe House.

May 16, 2019 | May 14, 2019
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