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NE WI Property Taxes Rise as Republicans Siphon Money for Voucher Schools PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin   
Thursday, 18 February 2016 11:37

school-closedTom Tiffany silent as Rhinelander and Northland Pines school districts forced to approve referendum.

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Death by a Thousand Straws Bill on Assembly Floor Thursday PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by League of Conservation Voters, Kerry Schumann   
Thursday, 18 February 2016 10:48

watertowerBill pushed by Big Ag to advance the interests of their thirsty clients at the expense of the state’s valuable groundwater and the many people who rely on it.


MADISON, WI - The Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry held an executive session committee vote on Tuesday on the Death by a Thousand Straws bill, AB 874. The high capacity well bill was voted out of committee by a 7-6 vote, and will be on the floor of the full Assembly on Thursday. In response, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Executive Director, Kerry Schumann, issued the following statement:

“From the start, the intent of the Death by a Thousand Straws Bill has been clear. Big Ag has lobbied legislators to advance the interests of their thirsty clients at the expense of the state’s valuable groundwater and the many people who rely on it.

Today, in the year 2016, there are people whose drinking water wells are running dry and lakes and rivers are drying up because high capacity wells are over pumping our groundwater supply. Yet, Death by a Thousand Straws moves forward and heads to the floor of the Assembly later this week.

We are very concerned that, despite an outpouring of opposition from thousands of Wisconsinites, including many who are directly impacted by loss of groundwater, legislators chose to listen to special interests rather than their constituents. We have a real groundwater crisis in this state and Death by a Thousand Straws not only refuses to address this problem – it makes it so we can never reach a commonsense, bipartisan solution.

The people of Wisconsin – especially those affected by careless and irresponsible groundwater management – deserve better.”

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters was disappointed to see Representatives Mursau, Krug, Czaja, Kitchens, Swearingen, Edming, and R. Brooks vote in favor of AB 874 during the executive session committee vote. Representatives Mason, Milroy, Hebl, Stuck, Considine, and Allen voted against the bill.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is calling on members of the Assembly to stand in opposition to Death by a Thousand Straws and with their constituents who have taken action thousands of times and urged their decision makers to vote no on this bill.

# # #

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable, and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin's public health and natural resources.

You can follow legislation impacting natural resources on our Conservation Vote Tracker, a real-time accountability tool that provides you with a complete picture of what conservation issues are in play and how legislators are performing: http://conservationvoters.org/vote-tracker/.

 
Public Input Needed On State’s FamilyCare and IRIS Programs PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Joint Finance Committee Democrats   
Thursday, 18 February 2016 09:39

caretaker-elderOnly two, two-hour hearings on the DHHS plans will be held on March 7th, and they will take place on the same day in two different regions of the state, Eau Claire and Madison.


MADISON - The Democratic members of the Joint Committee on Finance are encouraging participants and advocates for Wisconsin’s long term care system to attend the March 7th public hearings on the concept plan to restructure the state’s FamilyCare and IRIS programs.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently announced the only two, two-hour hearings on the concept plan will be held, and that they will take place on the same day in two different regions of the state. It is important to note that the DHS has announced that no further public comment, written or otherwise, will be taken outside of these two brief events.

“Once again the DHS will be unveiling a plan that had little to no stakeholder input which is why stakeholders felt it necessary to come up with their own plan. I hope DHS will closely examine the stakeholders’ plan and will incorporate their suggestions which were built from concerned consensus,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton).

“The 50,000+ Wisconsin families served by our long-term care programs are concerned about what this means for their loved ones,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), “The DHS should be appreciative that so many participants are attempting to be active part of the comment process and share their valuable experiences and feedback. The fact that the DHS has instead chosen to limit public testimony to only those that can attend a hearing in either Eau Claire or Madison in the span of one day is deeply troubling, and seems to confirm the concerns that the changes our successful long term care system are nothing but a giveaway to out-of-state insurance companies.”

chris-taylor“How many public hearings does DHS need to hold until they understand that the long-term community does not want changes to Family Care and IRIS? At every single public hearing I have attended on this issue the message is clear – do not change our long-term care program. DHS and Governor Walker must have ear plugs in during these public hearings, because not matter how many times they are told to keep services and providers the same, they continue to push these unnecessary and unwanted reforms on Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison).

“No written testimony? What about the right to petition your government? Governor Walker and his administration are violating the people’s rights while the GOP changing policies that will impact thousands of Wisconsinites,” said Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee).

Wisconsin’s current long-term care system has been a national model, based on years of trust, accountability, and work built by local stakeholder input. Changes to long term care in Wisconsin became the focus of the 2015-2017 budget because of an abrupt proposal by Governor Walker’s administration to overhaul the system, despite its popularity.

The unveiling of the concept plan will be the first opportunity for individuals and families who depend on the current system to view plans for its overhaul. In an attempt to provide further information and feedback during this process, a coalition of advocates and stakeholder groups has prepared a recommended plan for moving forward.  The stakeholder plan can be viewed online: www.wilongtermcarecoalition.org/stakeholders-blueprint

From DHS: The Department of Health and Human Services will hold public hearings to solicit comment regarding the concept plan that will be submitted to the Joint Committee on Finance on April 1, 2016. A draft of the concept plan will be published on the Family Care/IRIS 2.0 webpage the first week of March. The hearings will be live streamed so anyone with access to be web may participate. Free parking will be available at both events.

Please note: Due to the limited time to make revisions before submission of the concept plan, and extensive public comments received previously, the Department will not accept written or verbal testimony before or after the hearings.

Eau Claire Public Hearing

March 7, 2016 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Florian Gardens Conference Center
2340 Lorch Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Join Eau Claire Public Hearing via webcast

Madison Public Hearing

March 7, 2016 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
Madison, WI 53713

Join Madison Public Hearing via webcast

 
GOP Blocks Winnebago Co. Executive from Holding Office PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 12:03

senateRepublican action ‘Height of Hypocrisy’ as majority party continues to ignore student loan debt crisis, mass layoffs and child safety.


MADISON – Senate Republicans voted to pass Senate Bill 707 Tuesday while once again refusing to take up the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill and address Wisconsin’s growing student loan debt crisis.

mark-harrisSB 707 was introduced by Republican Party leaders to block Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democratic candidate in the 18th Senate District, from serving in the Legislature.

“Families are tired of watching Republican politicians prioritize their campaign interests over the needs of Wisconsin communities and the middle class,” said Senate Democratic leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “At a time when we should be working together to restore school funding, address the student loan debt crisis, create jobs and improve child safety, Senate Republicans want to limit the freedom of local voters. The fact that we’re in the last days of session and this bill tops the Republican to-do list shows the height of their hypocrisy and the extent of their misplaced priorities.”

jennifer-shillingRepublican lawmakers had no problem with Gov. Walker running for office on the taxpayers’ dime. No complaints were raised when conservative Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer served as Manitowoc County executive for more than six years. In fact, Republicans recently urged Sen. Paul Farrow to stay in office while simultaneously serving as Waukesha County Executive so he could vote on the state budget and support the Milwaukee Bucks arena deal.

“This is what we’ve come to expect from Republican lawmakers who have been focused on limiting access to public records, dismantling the Government Accountability Board and opening the floodgates for corporate campaign contributions,” added Shilling. “Republicans have their priorities backwards, and it’s time we act to strengthen the middle class and encourage economic opportunities rather than caving to partisan politics. Wisconsin families continue to stand with Democrats in calling for action on school funding, student loan debt relief and improved child safety.”

***

Legislative writer Tony Palese contributed to this story.

 
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