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27
Jan
2016

teaching-studentsRepublican budget cuts in Madison cause local schools to face tough decisions and stiff budget shortfalls.

Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin   
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 11:07
 
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26
Jan
2016

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 By reforming outdated policies and expanding workplace flexibilities, we can strengthen our middle class and enable businesses to be more competitive.”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.

Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:31
 
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21
Jan
2016

walker-wedcMADISON - State revenue numbers released today by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau show Wisconsin’s economy continues to under perform, with actual state revenues nearly $100 million below earlier projections.

“The nearly $100 million shortfall in revenue today shows the state’s economy is still lagging badly behind neighboring states like Minnesota which has a $1.9 billion surplus,” said State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). “Wisconsin families still continue to struggle under a GOP-controlled Legislature that has chosen to give over $2 billion in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy and cut public and higher education by $2 billion.”

Continuing to give more tax breaks to the wealthy in the hope they will invest here, rather than send more of their money offshore to tax havens, has not proven as beneficial to the Wisconsin economy as Gov. Scott Walker had hoped.

Investing in Wisconsin families by improving funding for education, making it possible for nearly 1 million state residents to refinance their student loans, and fixing ailing roads and highways would provide more proven ways to stimulate growth.

2015 saw the continuation of mass layoffs and outsourcing under the Walker administration while job growth and family income continue to remain sluggish.

dave-hansen“Instead of giving billions in tax dollars to corporations that send Wisconsin jobs overseas we should restore the $200 million cut to technical colleges that have limited their ability to train workers for new jobs and invest in our local roads and highways,” said Hansen.

The GOP’s ongoing failure to address the growing student loan crisis continues to drag down the state’s economy. A recent study by the Baird investment firm shows that people with student loans are less likely to participate in the economy: 63% said they were unable to buy a new car; 75% say it has hurt their ability to buy a home and 43% said they have put off starting a family.

“We cannot repair our economy without truly addressing the high cost of student loans," said Hansen.  "Passing refinancing will not just make it possible for thousands of Wisconsin residents to buy new cars and homes or start families, it is one of the single best things we could do to improve our struggling economy.”

Written by GBP Staff   
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2016 14:29
 
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26
Jan
2016

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.

Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
 
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21
Jan
2016

wisconsinIn a move that may further open the door to corruption and cronyism, the Wisconsin Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to modify the State's civil service system that was put in place 110 years ago to keep politics out of hiring public employees.

Written by GBP Staff   
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2016 13:03
 
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