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Battleground Wisconsin - GOP Seeks Sanctuary from Democracy PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Matt Brusky   
Friday, 03 November 2017 15:39

gopseeksWe discuss Foxconn, WEDC, the ACA open enrollment process, CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), immigrant rights, and more...


STATEWIDE - We discuss the latest Foxconn news including a new Democratic appointment to WEDC and the GOP desire to keep the details of the deal from public scrutiny.

Kevin Kane joins us to educate listeners on the ACA open enrollment process and our role in preventing health care sabotage.

We review Gov. Walker’s dirty effort to deregulation of CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). We also discuss immigrant rights efforts to stop a new state anti-sanctuary bill that threatens fundamental human rights.


LISTEN NOW - EPISODE #318
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Citizen Action Press Clips

 
Sen. Chris Larson: One Step Closer to Tackling Wisconsin’s Lead Crisis PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7   
Thursday, 02 November 2017 10:22

baby-lead-paintSenator says we need to continue the momentum after the passage of SB 48 relating to lead service line replacements and take immediate action to keep our kids safe from being further poisoned by lead.


MADISON – Each of our neighbors deserve to live in a healthy, safe community. Lead pipes are an avoidable public illness that is quietly devastating Wisconsin neighborhoods. Over the past few decades there has been significant research revealing how devastatingly harmful lead exposure is for both children and adults. We must prioritize addressing and preventing lead poisoning in our children.

Tackling the threat of lead poisoning is a moral and economic imperative. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), our state would save $7 billion if the threat of lead poisoning was eliminated. This includes savings in medical care, special education, and even crime reduction among adults and youth.

chris-larsonToday, the Senate took up a bipartisan bill (Senate Bill 48) that moves our state one small step towards addressing Wisconsin’s lead crisis. During the state budget debate last month, Senate Democrats fought for Wisconsin to take swift action by introducing a Lead Abatement Amendment, which would have committed the necessary funds to provide adequate relief to communities access the state, after Senate Bill 48 was stalled in committee for months.

I urge my Republican colleagues to continue the momentum and take immediate action to keep our kids safe from being further poisoned by lead. Among the available bills are Senate Bill 41, which would protect renters from lead poisoning, Senate Bill 141, which would give schools more flexibility to invest in lead abatement costs, Senate Joint Resolution 67, a bill to declare a Lead Poison Prevention Week in Wisconsin.

So far, despite the lead pipe crisis, none of these bills have even received a public hearing.

***

This statement from Senator Chris Larson (D - Milwaukee) regarding the Senate passage of Senate Bill 48 on October 31, 2017.

Senate Bill 48 was introduced by Senators Cowles, L. Taylor, Bewley, Carpenter, Darling, Feyen, Harsdorf, Johnson, C. Larson, Lasee, Miller, Olsen, Petrowski, Risser, Vinehout, Vukmir, Wanggaard and Hansen; cosponsored by Representatives Thiesfeldt, Krug, Genrich, Crowley, Barca, Bowen, E. Brooks, Brostoff, Fields, Goyke, Horlacher, Jagler, Kitchens, Kolste, Mason, Novak, Ohnstad, Ripp, Schraa, Spreitzer, Spiros, Steffen, Stuck, Subeck, C. Taylor, Tauchen, Tusler, Zamarripa, Zepnick, Anderson and Allen

 
Sen. Jennifer Shilling: Expand Family Medical Leave PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by GBP Staff   
Monday, 30 October 2017 16:34

healthcare-familyEnsuring working moms and dads have access to family medical leave is one way we can strengthen families and expand economic opportunities for all.


LA CROSSE, WI - Whether it’s caring for a newborn or tending to a sick parent, at some point in our lives most adults will have to take time off from work to care for a loved one.

As a working mother with two young boys, my husband and I can relate to the daily challenges that families face when raising children and helping care for a relative. Like many others, we value flexibility and believe that reforming outdated workplace policies will strengthen our state and enable businesses to be more competitive.

Unfortunately, only 11% of U.S. employees have access to paid family leave through their jobs, which means millions of workers are forced to choose between family health obligations and the income they need to cover basic expenses.

Wisconsin was one of the first states in the country to adopt a Family and Medical Leave Act to protect the jobs of workers who must miss work to care for a sick loved one or newborn. Sadly, a recent Republican proposal would reduce access to family and medical leave protections and create more obstacles and barriers for working parents. This will take our state in the wrong direction and severely hinder further progress for the residents of Wisconsin.

Democrats are pushing for solutions to elevate Wisconsin families and address the changing work-life balance of modern families. With more dual-income households than ever before, our economy needs to move past the 1950’s-era family structures and implement workplace policies that ensure flexibility and create a healthier workforce.

Democratic leaders Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) and Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) recently introduced legislation to create a Family Medical Leave Insurance Program that allows employees to contribute a portion of their paycheck into a trust fund. Employees would be eligible to receive a percentage of their pay during the time they take family or medical leave from work, at no cost to the employer. This innovative new proposal has earned the support of organizations that advocate for Wisconsin workers, including 9to5 Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Alliance for Womens Health.

Expanding family leave not only improves health outcomes and reduces health costs, but is an affordable way for businesses to support and retain workers when unexpected family and medical needs arise. All businesses, from Fortune 500 companies down to local mom and pop stores, benefit from a safe and healthy workplace. And so do working families.

If we want to boost our middle class, we need to focus on policies that will help families succeed. Ensuring working moms and dads have access to family medical leave is one way we can strengthen families and expand economic opportunities. Combined with additional Democratic solutions to expand health care coverage, student loan debt relief and affordable child care, we can modernize our workplace policies to be more efficient, cost-effective and family friendly.

 
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign: DNR Surrenders PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Saturday, 28 October 2017 16:00

deer-huntingBig dairy over DNR, special interests win in state forest plan, goodbye to local control, and more...

MADISON - In the past week, we’ve seen more evidence of the utter and abject surrender by the DNR of its responsibility to protect our environment.

First, it settled a lawsuit with the Dairy Business Association on terms very favorable to the factory farms:

DNR caves to big dairy

Then, it pushed ahead with a plan to open up a huge state forest near Minocqua to heavy ATV traffic:

Polaris, ATV Association win in state forest plan

Both decisions bore the fingerprints of special interest meddling.

And that meddling continues in the State Capitol, as the big boys are grabbing for more:

Big special interests push property rights over local control

Sometimes there’s a bill that has a lot of sensible – even laudable – things in it, but it also contains a fatal flaw.

Such is the case with the crime victim’s rights bill that’s called “Marsy’s Law.” I point out the flaw here:

“Marsy’s Law” has constitutional flaw

If you’re concerned about this constitutional issue, please contact your legislators about this proposal -- Assembly Joint Resolution 47 and Senate Joint Resolution 43.

You can contact your state legislators by calling the toll-free legislative hotline at 1-800-362-9472 (266-9960 in Madison).

Thanks, as always, for your concern about our state – and our democracy.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 16:21
 
"WEDC hammered by Carpenter" Battleground Wisconsin Podcast PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Matt Brusky   
Friday, 27 October 2017 15:12

hammertimeWe discuss the secrecy surrounding the Foxconn contract with WEDC, health insurance costs, the U.S. Senate and the Koch Brothers' targeting of Sen. Tammy Baldwin with millions in misleading dark money attack ads.


STATEWIDE - We welcome WEDC board member and State Senator Tim Carpenter to discuss the secrecy surrounding the Foxconn contract with WEDC, which is so extreme that board members are expected to vote without seeing the contract.

Ahead of open enrollment sticker shock on November 1st, the panel reviews new Citizen Action research documenting that because of Scott Walker's sabotage Wisconsinites will pay thousands more on average for health insurance than Minnesotans in 2018.

We also talk about the U.S. Senate's sudden repeal of a key financial regulation from the Dodd-Frank law, and the Koch Brothers' targeting of Sen. Tammy Baldwin with millions in misleading dark money attack ads.

Robert reviews Wisconsin GOP infighting over the "T" word, and Anna Dvorak joins us to preview a Fair Maps town hall Saturday in Bay View.

LISTEN NOW - EPISODE #317

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Citizen Action Press Clips

 
Democratic Radio: WEDC Audit is Déjà Vu for Wisconsin Taxpayers PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Assembly Democrats   
Thursday, 26 October 2017 15:56

walker-wedcMADISON - Today, State Representative Melissa Sargent (D – Madison) offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio Address regarding this week’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee’s review of the WEDC audit.

The audit results once again raised concern about WEDC’s continued trouble executing contracts, verifying job numbers, and complying with state statutes.

 

The audio file can be found here.

The video file can be found here or viewed below.

A written transcript of the address is below:

melissa-sargentHi, I’m State Representative Melissa Sargent with this week’s Democratic radio address.

Wisconsin Democratic Legislators know we must prioritize the values, needs and dreams of all Wisconsinites and stand against any system that is rigged to favor the rich and the powerful.

This week, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee held a public hearing on the results of the nonpartisan audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, more commonly known as WEDC.

Not surprisingly the audit is eerily similar to one released two years ago. WEDC has proven time and time again to be derelict in its duties to taxpayers and our state.

I am gravely concerned by the audit results as it highlights a disturbing trend: WEDC’s inability to substantiate job creation claims or effectively execute contracts pursuant to Wisconsin’s laws, as well as a failure to comply with statutory requirements.

WEDC should be able to account for what they’ve done with the dollars that they’ve been given, but they aren’t able to, even though they have been asked many times.

Wisconsin state laws are not a buffet - state agents don’t get to pick and choose which laws they want to follow. Governor Walker wants to run this state like a business, but WEDC behaves in a way that no responsible business would.

Ironically, the WEDC hearing comes less than a week after the Foxconn package vote was postponed by the WEDC board citing contractual concerns.

Simply put, how can the Legislature, as stewards of Wisconsin’s taxpayer dollars, honestly entrust WEDC to a $3 billion contract like Foxconn when WEDC has demonstrated not once, not twice, but three times that they are not capable of adequately executing contracts, verifying job creation, and even complying with the state statutes?

Democrats believe in building an economy that works for everyone, WEDC isn’t building an economy that works for anyone.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 October 2017 16:09
 
Bowen to Walker: Stop trying to silence NFL players PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Melanie Conklin   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 10:43

packers-natl-anthemWalker’s way of playing identity politics designed to pit Wisconsinites against one another, says Rep. Bowen.


MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign launched a petition Tuesday demanding NFL players stop taking a stand against racial inequality. State Rep. David Bowen, Democratic Party of Wisconsin First Vice Chair, released the following response:

david-bowen“Gov. Walker’s campaign stunt of a petition is his way of playing identity politics designed to pit Wisconsinites against one another. If Walker thinks continuing to divide our state will get him national attention for another presidential run, he should take a good look at Donald Trump’s dreadful approval rating before mimicking him.

“Walker’s attempt to silence NFL players’ First Amendment right to protest racial inequality is anti-American. It’s especially shameful that Walker choose to engage in this divisive, race-baiting tactic on the same day that a report was released that shows Wisconsin ranks among the worst states for African-American youth. 

“The governor should spend more time focused on Wisconsin and repairing the public schools, roads and health care he has damaged rather than pandering for national attention with his anti-American petition. His moves to stoke anger and resentment are as cynical as politics gets.”

 
Sen. Tim Carpenter: Let’s See The Foxconn Contract PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats, Scott May   
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 15:47

foxconn-dealBefore the WEDC gives away $3 billion in taxpayer dollars.


MADISON – State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee), is formally requesting to see the Foxconn contract before the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) gives away $3 billion in taxpayer dollars to Foxconn.

tim-carpenter“The way Governor Walker and WEDC have proceeded with the Foxconn deal is fundamentally flawed," said Carpenter. "As a member of the WEDC board I find it the height of irresponsibility to be asked to vote on an unprecedented $3 billion dollar deal without first seeing the contract."

This will be the last opportunity to make sure Foxconn will be required to deliver on its promises. Wisconsin taxpayers must be protected before Governor Walker’s WEDC turns on the spigot and the taxpayer dollars start to flow.

"Let’s see the Foxconn contract before WEDC votes on it on November 8th," concludes the senator. "I cannot abrogate my responsibility to protect the taxpayers of Wisconsin by not knowing exactly what it is I am voting on.”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 16:03
 
Funding Elections Commission Staff Ensures Secure and Efficient Elections PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 14:34

voter-fraud-signRepresentative Melissa Sargent and Senator Jon Erpenbach explain how important it is to override Governor Walker’s veto of Wisconsin Election Commission staff.


MADISON - To make our elections run securely and accurately, we need to repair the damage to the Wisconsin Elections Commission caused by Governor Walker’s veto last month, which removed five necessary staff from the Commission.

The simple reality is when government staff positions are eliminated, the services provided by those staff are also eliminated. Whether it is a snowplow driver, daycare license compliance officer, professor, veterans home nurse assistant, or an elections specialist, cuts to staffing or funding cause services to suffer. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has been at the receiving end of many staffing cuts, and with Governor Walker’s veto of five additional staff provided by the Legislature in the budget, our election system will simply not function as we need it to.

jon-erpenbachOur Elections Commission staff investigate complaints of fraud and misconduct in elections, but they are also in charge of the integrity and security of our elections systems. Among their many responsibilities, the Elections Commission is charged with communicating with and training our local election officials. We have a unique system for elections in Wisconsin: they are run from the local level with 1,853 municipal election clerks and 72 county clerks, and even though we have a statewide voter list, it is the partnership between our local and state election officials that truly makes sure our elections are secure and accurate. The Elections Commission provides all of these local officials need to know every change to the law that impacts elections, and trains these local officials on the process, laws, technology, court decisions and security of our elections.

melissa-sargentGovernor Walker issued his veto of the staff and told the Wisconsin Elections Commission to hire limited-term employees and contract employees. The Elections Commission will undoubtedly do everything in their power to “make it work” and come back to Legislature to request funding for staff in the next budget, but that doesn’t do much to ensure the integrity or security of our elections in the meantime. The Wisconsin Elections Commission should have the minimum staff they say they need to effectively and securely run elections in Wisconsin.

That is why we are co-authoring a bill restoring five full-time staff members to the Elections Commission—back to where the Commission was before Governor Walker’s veto—a provision that Republicans voted for in committee and on the floor of the Legislature. Yet, most Republicans did not sign onto this legislation despite supporting it mere months ago. We should at least restore the Elections Commission staff to the level provided for in the Legislature’s budget, which ensures election integrity and security in Wisconsin.

****

Written by Senator Jon Erpenbach, 27th Senate District, and Representative Sargent, 48th Assembly District

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 14:54
 
Andy Gronik - FoxConn Deal Gets Worse and Worse PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Andy Gronik Press Office, Brandon Weathersby   
Saturday, 21 October 2017 11:03

walker-WEDCMILWAUKEE - The FoxConn deal just gets worse and worse.

This week, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) delayed voting on the deal because they found a problem. They won't tell us what was wrong, but one member of the board described the problem as a "nuclear bomb."

Wow.

andy-gronikEarlier this year, Andy Gronik said that if he were a board member, and Governor Scott Walker brought him the Foxconn deal as a CEO, he'd fire him -- and the WEDC is proving that he would have made the right decision.

We don't know how bad the mistake in the contract is, because the WEDC is keeping it private, and the voting will happen in a closed session. That's not how it should be. With a deal this controversial and this critical to Wisconsin's future, we all should get a chance to see what we're signing up for.

Andy Gronik is calling on the WEDC to publicly release the FoxConn contract, and hold a public session for feedback on the deal. Join him and add your name to the petition.

In the effort to ram the Foxconn deal through, lawmakers almost signed a contract that "would not have protected taxpayers whatsoever."

You read that right -- lawmakers were more focused on another big corporation coming to Wisconsin than the hardworking folks who already live here.

As a successful progressive businessman, Andy Gronik has walked factory floors with workers and has appraised hundreds of manufacturing businesses. If Governor Walker had taken the same approach and listened to the workers of Wisconsin, he'd know that this deal isn't right.

That's why the WEDC should seize the opportunity to listen to hardworking Wisconsinites for feedback by publicly releasing the deal and holding a hearing to listen to workers.

Add your name now to demand a chance to see the deal that will impact Wisconsin for years to come. Join Andy Gronik.

 
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