Friday April 20, 2018

Always Forward with Education & Reason

State News
Proposal to Transform Delivery of Local Veterans Services a Bad Idea PDF Print E-mail
Written by State Senate Democrats   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:23

vaGOP backed legislation eliminates the remaining duties of the Wisconsin Veterans Board, gives those jobs to the WDVA, and makes significant changes to the duties of local County Veterans Service Officers.

MADISON - Two Democratic state legislators called on the authors of a bill to significantly change delivery of Veterans services in every county of Wisconsin to withdraw the effort.

Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) and Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) say LRB 4524 circulated by Representative Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) and Senator Van Wanggard (R-Racine) eliminates all of the remaining duties of the Wisconsin Veterans Board, gives those jobs to WDVA Secretary Scocos, and makes significant changes to County Veterans Service Officer(CVSO) and their duties.

jon-erpenbach“I am not sure why Secretary Scocos and the Department of Veterans Affairs are pushing a plan that could sacrifice the local connection points to Veterans services the CVSO officers provide. This is careless. We should be expanding the role of CVSO’s and expanding Veterans services in every county in Wisconsin not cutting them,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach. “If the authors are genuine they should bring everyone involved to the table and work for positive change, which clearly was not done here.”

gordon_hintz“No one knows better what the Veterans in my community are struggling with than our local CVSO. Political appointees in Madison are not working with Veterans trying to navigate post service lives hands on, maybe that is why they did not anticipate how this proposal would frustrate local Veterans. Well this proposal is activating local Veterans, and for good cause. Our CVSO officers serve as our boots on the ground in Wisconsin’s counties, we should be enhancing their role in our communities,” said Representative Gordon Hintz.

WDVA Secretary Scocos has stated CVSO participation in the bill development. CVSO representatives strongly disagree and were not even shared a draft of the bill for feedback. The proposal would make the appointment of a CVSO in a county optional and would allow for the one officer to serve multiple counties. The proposal also allows for the hiring of a non-Veteran for this position, which is now required to be a Veteran. Additionally, the bill eliminates the remaining role of the Wisconsin Veteran Board and gives more authority to Secretary Scocos. Once a thriving and active board, the Wisconsin Veterans Board no longer sets policy for Veterans in Wisconsin.

“We have a strong proposal to meet mental health needs we know Veterans have through an existing Veterans program SB 370/AB 510 introduced in October that has not even had a public hearing. Secretary Scocos and WDVA have been actively worked to stall those bills; now this, it is disappointing,” said Senator Erpenbach.

“I know that the authors of this proposal believed they were putting forward a proposal built through consensus which is simply not true. Now is their opportunity to check back in with their local active Veterans and CVSO Officer and affect positive change for our Veterans. I hope they take that opportunity,” said Representative Gordon Hintz.

Mark Harris Endorses Student Loan Debt Relief Plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by GBP Staff   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:47

uwgb-studentOSHKOSH, WI – A proposal to help families reduce student loan debt payments through refinancing has gained the support of Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris.

mark-harris“In order to grow our economy and retain skilled workers, we need to invest in education and show that we’re serious about helping families afford a college education," said Harris. "That is why I am putting my full support behind Sen. Dave Hansen’s proposal that allows Wisconsin families to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates."

Allowing individuals to refinance their student loans, just like you can with a mortgage or car loan, is a commonsense solution to reduce interest payments and ease the burden on middle class families.

A growing number of states have launched student loan refinancing efforts to help families reduce interest rates and lower their debt. Minnesota became the most recent state to allow for student loan refinancing after launching their plan earlier this month. According to their Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller, a borrower in Minnesota who owes $40,000 at an 8 percent interest rate could lower their monthly payments by $200 to $300 through their refinancing option.

“Minnesota has found a bipartisan solution to the student loan debt crisis, and we should follow their lead in helping families get out from underneath the crushing burden of student loan debt,” added Harris. “We’re fortunate to have great Universities and Colleges like UW Oshkosh, UW Fox Valley, UW Fond du Lac, Fox Valley Technical College, Moraine Park Technical College and Marian University in the 18th Senate District, but politicians in Madison have failed to reign in the lenders profiting on students and families. When I’m elected to the Senate, tackling the student loan debt crisis and providing relief to families in Wisconsin will be among my top priorities.”

Mark Harris is a Democratic candidate for the open 18th Senate District seat which includes parts of Fond du Lac County, Winnebago County and Dodge County.

Harris currently serves as Winnebago County Executive and lives in Oshkosh with his wife Susan. To learn more please visit

Wisconsin Democrats Push Family Medical Leave Act Protections PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:08

critical-illnessDespite public support, Senate Bill 385’s future uncertain in GOP-controlled Senate.

MADISON - While family dynamics have changed significantly since the 1950's, many workplace policies haven't kept pace. In order to update worker protections and increase workplace flexibility, Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) and 35 other Democratic lawmakers are pushing a bill to modernize Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave law.

The proposal, Senate Bill 385 (SB 385), has received broad public support but faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled legislature.

jennifer-shilling“Families in Wisconsin are working harder than ever, but our laws simply haven’t kept pace with changes in the modern workplace,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Whether it’s a worker trying to care for an ailing relative or a parent needing to stay home with a sick child, we need to look at commonsense reforms that address modern workplace challenges. By reforming outdated policies and expanding workplace flexibilities, we can strengthen our middle class and enable businesses to be more competitive.”

SB 385 expands coverage for workers who take leave to care for a grandparent, grandchild or sibling and creates new protections for relatives of active duty service members. Additionally, the proposed legislation creates new options for private sector employees to voluntarily purchase coverage through a Family Medical Leave Insurance program.

“We know that access to sick leave helps prevent the spread of contagious diseases and improve workplace productivity,” added Shilling. “All businesses, from Fortune 500 companies down to local mom and pop stores, benefit from a safe and healthy workplace. With simple, commonsense updates to Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave law, we can create new opportunities for families and increase our ability to compete in a 21st century global economy.”

A public hearing on SB 385 today attracted broad public support, however, many Republicans remain opposed to the plan. Republican leaders have indicated they intend to adjourn the 2016 legislative session in February or March, leaving only a short window to advance legislative proposals.


Legislative writer Tony Palese contributed to this story.

Dismantling Civil Service Passes Senate Despite Disturbing Debate PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 15:17

walker-senate-signingDuring the Senate debate to pass the bill dismantling our 100-year-old civil service system, senators told of secret meetings held with state workers where supervisors intimidated employees and forbid them to talk with their elected representatives. A LAB Hotline established is valuable in cases of intimidation.

<< Start < Prev 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 Next > End >>

Page 201 of 208
Copyright © 2018. Green Bay Progressive. Designed by