Monday June 24, 2019

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Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7

Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7

Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwaukee.

Sen. Larson on Republican Sour Grape Session

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Monday, 10 December 2018
in Wisconsin

walkerMILWAUKEE - We just had an election wherein the outcome was clear, the people of Wisconsin sought change and elected a new Governor. Now should be a time of peaceful transition, but instead we have just witnessed an unprecedented power grab by Republicans in the state legislature.

The recent passing of President George HW Bush is a stark reminder of how far our country has come since the days when good people from both sides of the aisle could work together in mutual respect.

In his note to his successor, President Bill Clinton, President Bush wrote, “Your success now is our country's success. I am rooting hard for you.”

After a lifetime of service to his country, President Bush understood what most of us take for granted: Democracies are only functional when citizens are confident in the peaceful transfer of power after the conclusion of an election.

Eight years later, President Clinton would write to President Bush’s son, George W, the following: “And from this day you are President of all of us. I salute you and wish you success and much happiness.”

chris_larsonMy sympathies are with my Republican colleagues; I know too well the pain of losing an election. As state Senator, I have had the privilege of serving when both my party held power and when it lost it.

But when I entered office in 2011, I swore to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the state of Wisconsin. I pledged, just as Scott Walker did, to respect the rule of law and the democratic process.

In an unprecedented move, Scott Walker’s Republican-controlled legislature pushed a series of bills in a lame-duck session to remove checks and balances from our state government.

This package of bills, rammed through committees in the dead of the night, are designed to rig elections and consolidate power in the hands of a few. Never in Wisconsin’s history have we faced such an attack on our state Constitution and the democratic process.

On Monday December 3rd, prior to the lame-duck session, Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald stated “We trusted Scott Walker and the administration to be able to manage the back and forth with the Legislature. We don’t trust Tony Evers right now in a lot of those areas.”

It is important for elected officials to remember that we can disagree with each other on policy, but elections are never about one person. We were elected to serve the people of Wisconsin regardless of who is elected alongside us. Taking extraordinary measures to limit the power of an office because we might not “trust” the person that was elected to that office is a slap in the face to the citizens of Wisconsin that voted for change on November 6th.

We must never make the mistake of thinking that we were only elected to serve the voters who agree with us. Wisconsin’s working families deserve a legislative body where elected officials can work across the aisle and with the governor to solve Wisconsin's toughest problems.

****

State Senator Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, released this opinion editorial on the transition of power and the unprecedented measures taken by Republicans to limit the power of the offices of Governor.

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Senator Chris Larson remarks on Gov. Walker’s ‘State of the State’

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 25 January 2018
in Wisconsin

walker-state-denialThe Governor's smooth talking spin on the State of our State ignores the facts that reflect the reality our neighbors are facing every day.


MADISON, WI – On Wednesday the legislature gathered once again to hear Governor Walker’s State of the State address. True to form Governor Walker donned his rose-colored glasses and told the state that our lackluster economy, healthcare crisis, underfunded schools, job creation failures, dismantled environmental safeguards, threats to our drinking water, and struggling middle class are not a problem. Like Trump, he is ignoring the facts that reflect the reality our neighbors are facing every day.

Just a few things Governor Walker is running away from:

 Rejecting the Medicaid expansion for the people of Wisconsin, costing our taxpayers over $700 million  Selling out our state’s future to a foreign company, costing taxpayers a staggering $4.5 billion

 Pushing for the dismantling of our conservation heritage

 Devastating the ability of our neighborhood schools to educate our children by cutting nearly $1 billion for their futures. Cutting more money from public schools than ever before

On behalf of my neighbors, I will continue to fight for a fair economy that expands opportunities for families and strengthens our community. I am committed to:

 Strengthening our neighborhood schools by restoring the over $1 billion in state aid that was cut by Republicans

 Making child care more affordable and expanding access to paid leave

 Updating our infrastructure to meet the needs of our current generation

 Adequately funding lead abatement to stop the poisoning of our children

 Protecting our environment

 Legalizing the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana

 Protecting and promoting Wisconsin born and grown businesses

Despite the smooth talk offered by the governor, Wisconsinites are still stuck cleaning up Walker’s mess of the last seven years. His apparent rush from his record of partisan extremes is a little too late to mediate the damage he has done. Our neighbors are calling out for sensible leadership that will serve the people, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

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One Step Closer to Tackling Wisconsin’s Lead Crisis

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 02 November 2017
in Wisconsin

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.

Today, 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

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Proceed with Caution During Foxconn Frenzy

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 27 July 2017
in Wisconsin

trump-walker-foxconn-anncWisconsinites should not blindly put their faith, and money, in this jobs promise. We’ve been deceived by Walker’s rose-tinted glasses before.


MADISON - It is with good reason that Wisconsinites are not yet willing to blindly put their faith, and money, in a feeble jobs promise. We’ve been deceived by Walker’s rose-tinted glasses before.

Since taking office, Walker has left a trail of broken promises. His pattern of deception has resulted in our hard-earned tax dollars being handed over to campaign donors and companies that outsource, as well as some of the biggest tax breaks going to the richest people in the state, some of whom have used tax loopholes to avoid paying any state income tax for years.

Our neighbors care about making sure this is a good deal for everyone in Wisconsin. Any move for Foxconn to locate in Wisconsin must also fit with the spirit of our great state. We look to partner with companies that will respect our state’s shared lands and waters. We should reward companies that pay our neighbors a living wage and treat them fairly. If they expect special treatment, they need to have a long-term commitment to our state so we know they won’t abandon Wisconsin as soon as a new enticement goes on the table from somewhere else.

Wisconsin leaders should not commit to corporate welfare or anything that carves out special exceptions in our laws if it will unfairly hurt local businesses already in our state. Every small-business owner knows: with a billion dollar pinky swear, the devil is always in the details.

Too many people in our state are struggling in low-wage jobs and living in fear that any day the security of health care could be pulled out from under them. They deserve leaders who will be looking out for their future.

We demand fairness, and that’s what we’ll be looking for in this deal.

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Larson 'Lock Your Doors, Protect Your Neighbors'

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Friday, 19 May 2017
in Wisconsin

david-clarkeMADISON, WI – Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke announced Wednesday that he has accepted an appointment as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.

With this disturbing news, it’s clear that Trump continues to betray the nation’s trust with his appointment of Milwaukee County Sheriff as the newest member of the Trump Deportation Team. This is the same person who attempted to incite violence against the very institutions he has sworn to protect by telling people to get their ‘pitchforks and torches.’

In January, Clarke threatened violence to fellow air passengers saying, ‘next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out.’ That threat came after a passenger on a plane shook his head at him. Sheriff Clarke has, again and again, shown our community and the nation a disturbing pattern of bizarre, irresponsible and menacing behavior. Our neighbors are right to be concerned with the damage Clarke could wreak on the national stage.

Trump knows that Clarke will back bad policies that betray our values, harm our neighbors, and enforce policies that rip families apart. As Milwaukee County Sheriff, Clarke recklessly pursued joining the Trump administration in their implementation of 287(g), which gives local law enforcement the ability to operate as federal immigration agents. Many of our neighbors oppose the program as it allows law enforcement to stop and question people based on just their appearance.

It’s no wonder Clarke was seeking an escape from his Milwaukee County mess before the next election, as he is facing communitywide anger for his gross mismanagement of the Milwaukee County Jail, including the recent tragic death of Terrill Thomas by dehydration. In a span of just months, four families lost their loved ones due to Clarke’s negligence and lack of supervision over his department.

Clarke has a history of mocking, belittling and intimidating our neighbors. He is yet another bad actor in a cast of clowns.

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Irresponsible Republican Bill Proposes Arming Teens

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 29 March 2017
in Wisconsin

gun-control-debatesRepublicans are not willing to stand up to rich gun manufacturers looking for profits at any costs, even our kids’ safety.


MADISON - Republican legislators here have made a decision to blindly ignore public safety concerns by introducing legislation to put more handguns into the hands of teenagers; circumvent safety training for concealed carry; and open the door for more guns in school zones, school grounds, and even directly in our schools.

In the wake of recent, tragic shootings that devastated several Wisconsin communities, this bill is a slap in the face to our neighbors that are demanding real solutions to our state’s gun violence public health crisis.

Wisconsin should be focusing on making our communities safer with laws that are both proven and have widespread public support. One such policy is having stronger background check laws, which has support from 85% of Wisconsin voters. In the 19 states and Washington, D.C., who have universal background checks, 47% fewer women are killed by their intimate partners, and 53% fewer law enforcement officers are shot and killed in the line of duty. Additionally, the majority of Wisconsin voters – 65% – oppose allowing guns near our schools. With 26,252 gun-related deaths nationally in 2015, this proposal takes Wisconsin in the wrong direction. Republicans are rejecting common sense and logic by ignoring public safety and the needs of our community.

We have the solutions and public support to make our communities safer. Unfortunately, Republicans are not willing to stand up to rich gun manufacturers looking for profits at any costs, even our kids’ safety. Instead of fighting this public health crisis, Republicans in control of the Legislature are proposing to give guns to teens with no training – an idea that is unwarranted, absurd, and dangerous.

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Drunk Driving Prevention Act Needed

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Monday, 23 November 2015
in Wisconsin

drunk-drivingMADISON, WI – On Christmas Eve 1998, I woke up to find out that my good friend and classmate at Thomas More High School, Jennie, had been killed by a drunk driver the night before. It was a devastating blow to each of her friends and everyone who knew her. It was a horrible, preventable tragedy and something that shaped each of our lives going forward. If I could have done something to bring my friend back, I would have. Unfortunately, stories like this are not uncommon in Wisconsin.

Sadly, seventeen years later, stories like Jennie’s are still happening because Wisconsin’s laws are woefully inadequate in addressing and preventing drunk driving in Wisconsin. With nearly 26% of adults admitting to driving while intoxicated, Wisconsin continues to top the national charts with the highest rate of drunk driving. More alarmingly, first-time OWI offenders are estimated to have driven under the influence at least 80 times before their initial conviction.

The use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) has shown to be successful in changing offenders’ behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention IIDs reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67%. These devices separate drinking from driving, and are proven effective in stopping drunk driving.

Today, I circulated the Drunk Driving Prevention Act (LRB 3902) for co-sponsorship which would require ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for all first-time OWI offenders. This legislation will catch us up to the modern world, reduce drunk driving, and ensure there will be a clear, personal consequence when someone is convicted of driving under the influence.

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We Need to Ensure Wisconsin Workers Receive Fair Wages

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 10 November 2015
in Wisconsin

homeless-youthMADISON - Wisconsin was once a state that protected and prioritized its workers.

Under Walker’s Wisconsin we are seeing stagnant wages, a shrinking middle class, and businesses fleeing our state. What’s more, we are one of the bottom 15 states in the nation that have a minimum wage at the federal minimum. Hardworking Wisconsinites are the economic engine for successful local businesses and vibrant communities. The Fight for 15 is the frontline battle for economic justice of our day.

Wisconsin families should not have to choose between paying for housing, putting food on their table, or caring for their family. No one should be working a 40-hour week and still be living in poverty.

For these reasons, I am a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 264, which would raise our state’s minimum wage to a livable wage of $15. Making sure our Wisconsin neighbors earn a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work is a win-win for our state as it strengthens our local economy and businesses. My Democratic colleagues and I are committed to working towards a future that invests in our neighbors and creates family-supporting opportunities in our local communities.

Today, I again call on Governor Walker and legislative Republicans to raise the minimum wage in order to support building an economy that works for all of us, not just corporate interests and wealthiest 1%.

It is time to put an end to backroom favors for big dollar donors and special interests and return to our state’s traditional values of prioritizing and rewarding our real profit creators: Wisconsin workers.

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No New Revenue for State Budget a Problem for Republicans

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 07 May 2015
in Wisconsin

madison_capitolRepublicans need to look past ideology and work with Democrats to fix Wisconsin’s budget crisis.


MADISON - On Wednesday, a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau indicated that, despite promises of windfalls, there will be no new revenue to salvage Walker’s sinking economy.

Despite a national growing economy nationally and significant revenue growth in neighboring Midwestern states like Minnesota, which is expecting a $2 billion surplus, Wisconsin continues to fall further behind because of extreme GOP policies. Instead, they have created a self-inflicted $2.2 billion deficit.

Instead of focusing on Wisconsin’s traditional shared values over the past five years, currently the Republicans in power have been consumed with historic slashes to education funding and denying our neighbors access to basic health services and family-supporting jobs, while at the same time widening tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations.

On one hand, Minnesota is flush with cash and reaping the benefits because they have invested in their public schools, raised wages for families, and expanded access to affordable health care. On the other hand, Republicans in Wisconsin have been busy selling out our state to the lowest bidder.

Now is the time for a course correction. Governor Walker must put his personal ambitions on hold and Republicans in the legislature must look past their extreme ideology and work with Democrats to start investing in pro-growth policies that represent the shared values of the state and our citizens to get us out of this budget crisis.

We can do this by moving forward with accepting the federal Medicaid expansion and by pausing the costly Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit.

It is time to end the regressive era in Wisconsin politics and get the state moving forward again.

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GOP Lawmakers Pushing Bill to Repeal the State Prevailing Wage Law

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 06 May 2015
in Wisconsin

rtw-hearingRepublicans push for lower pay and less skill for Wisconsin workers and their families.


MADISON - On Tuesday, Republican leaders in the Wisconsin legislature held a hearing on the repeal of our prevailing wage law.

After hours of testimony, it is crystal clear Wisconsin workers and businesses do not support dismantling yet another protection for Wisconsin’s middle class, our prevailing wage law, which has been critical in creating a top-notch construction industry in our state since the 1930s. This system is effective in delivering quality work, by a well-trained Wisconsin workforce, at a price that is mindful of our shared, public investments.

Hardworking Wisconsinites are already struggling under the failed policies of the governor and his Republican allies in the Legislature. Recently, it was unveiled that Wisconsin ranks the worst among all 50 states in terms of a shrinking middle class. Instead of facing this reality, we are talking about repealing a law that helps ensure jobs go to local workers whose families shop in local businesses, thus strengthening local communities. At the same time, just down the hall from the hearing, legislators on the Joint Finance Committee are discussing a budget that spends and borrows more money than at any point in state history.

In addition to workers, we heard from an expert who has studied the construction industry for over 20 years, Dr. Peter Philips. Dr. Philip’s posed a crucial question to lawmakers: ‘Do you want this to be a high-wage, high-skill industry or a low-wage, low-skill industry?’

The facts from other states show, repealing prevailing wage will drive down wages, promote the outsourcing of workers, lower productivity levels, decrease workplace safety, and restrict access to health care. It will ultimately prevent people from being part of the middle class and reaching the American Dream – an already increasingly rare commodity in our state.

Prevailing wage laws ensure we have well-trained, skilled workers, who give the taxpayers the best deal by doing high-quality work, efficiently. In fact, under the prevailing wage law, Wisconsin is the third most productive in the country and even the best in the Midwest in terms of our workers getting things done right and on time. Pulling prevailing wage out by the roots is morally and economically the wrong direction for Wisconsin. As one person who testified put it: ‘this is the kind of bill that will make those who build our bridges, end up living underneath them.’

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Vouchers Pass, While you were sleeping...

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 05 June 2013
in Wisconsin

MADISON - At 3 o'clock in the morning, in the dark of the night while most of Wisconsin was fast asleep, Republicans in the Joint Finance Committee voted to expand statewide taxpayer-funded vouchers for private education in our state.  This vote occurred after weeks of closed door backroom meetings with special interest groups.

The Senate Republican plan for statewide voucher expansion is even more extreme than what Governor Walker initially proposed.

It was bad enough that Scott Walker wanted to expand vouchers schools into 9 school districts throughout the state, but now EVERY community will see voucher expansion.

This voucher scheme forces all families to pay for their neighbor’s children to attend private schools, which have been proven to under perform compared to our neighborhood public schools and are not held accountable to the taxpayers.

In addition, taxpayers whose districts are forced to accept private school vouchers will see their property taxes increase and their local school aids cut to pay for a separate under performing, unaccountable school system.

Please contribute today to show Republicans you do not support their plan to expand vouchers schools to all of Wisconsin’s school districts.


We can do better in Wisconsin. Instead of doling out millions of taxpayer dollars to private school special interests in the middle of the night, we can invest in our children's future by supporting our public schools.  The only way to ensure that happens is by taking back the majority in the Wisconsin State Senate.

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Walker GOP Milwaukee County Bill Is An Outright Attack On Local Control

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Friday, 17 May 2013
in Wisconsin

MADISON - Earlier this week, the Senate and Assembly passed legislation, Assembly Bill 85, that is an outright attack on local control. This is only the most recent in a series of Republican-sponsored legislative attacks on their political enemies. This time, the victim is local government in Milwaukee. This big government move mandates the micromanagement of local government in our community, and leaves us wondering: who is next?

Below are just some of the concerning provisions contained in this bill, which has now been sent to the governor for his signature:

  1. Cut the county board budget to 0.4% of the property tax levy immediately upon passage of the bill, which equals an 85% budget reduction after paying existing commitments
  2. Transfer authorities away from the county board and department heads to the county executive
  3. Grant additional authorities to the county executive to prevent supervisors from working too closely with department personnel
  4. Reduce term length from four years to two years
  5. Change contract negotiation, signing of contracts, consolidation of service agreement processes, and administration and management of certain departments
  6. Limit supervisors' salaries to median income and the prevent them from obtaining health care coverage and pension benefits
  7. Reduce salary and benefits of supervisors in 2016 regardless of the outcome of the 2014 binding referendum
  8. Limit the referendum in April 2014 to only asking about possible pay and benefit reduction of supervisors, not the other provisions of the bill

county-board-debateClick here to watch the floor debate on AB 85 on WisconsinEye.

How the Milwaukee County Board Compares

The Milwaukee County Board is comprised of 18 supervisors, each representing between 50,000 and 55,000 neighbors, which is the same size as most State Assembly districts. Additionally, the County Board employs about 38 full-time staff members, including constituent service professionals, committee clerks, auditors, and budget analysts. Having a board and professional staff of that size allows supervisors to remain informed about county issues, be responsive to neighbors' concerns, and provide legislative oversight of the county executive and sheriff.

Furthermore, the proposed cut raises fundamental issues about maintaining a system of checks and balances in local government, and whether the Wisconsin State Legislature should have the authority to intervene in what is clearly an issue of local control. Although groups supporting the severe restrictions argue that no other Wisconsin county has a supervisory board comparable to Milwaukee, we must also remember that no other county in our state has such an economically and ethnically diverse population of nearly 1 million people, or more than one-sixth of the state's total population. Additionally, the Milwaukee Supervisory Board oversees a $1 billion dollar budget, and is responsible for oversight of a regional airport, county zoo, and county-funded mental health complex.

Critics of the current full-time board have compared the current structure of 18 supervisors and an annual salary of about $50,000 to the salary and structure of the Board in 1970. What critics have failed to mention, however, is that the Board in 1970 had 25 members, who were each paid a salary of $68,000 (when adjusted for inflation).

Watering Down Our Checks and Balances

While this bill makes enormous changes to the Milwaukee County Board, it leaves the County Executive Office completely untouched. With the long history of Milwaukee County Executives abusing their power, this proposal sets us on a dangerous course in the wrong direction. Milwaukee County has seen past executives, as recently as 2006, attempt to sell off our valued and profitable state assets, which include the Milwaukee County Airport, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and even our neighborhood parks.

By preventing the board from continuing its watchdog role of the county executive, he will now have the ability to continue where others left off with regards to selling our assets. Hopefully the people of Milwaukee county will see past the smoke and mirrors and realize that this bill is less about supervisor salaries and more about hampering oversight and removing the necessary checks and balances in local government to concentrate power in the County Executive Office.

Ignoring the People of Milwaukee County

In addition to circumventing Milwaukee County's local leaders, Assembly Bill 85 also ignores the wishes of the people residing in the county who are directly supporting the board. The Milwaukee County Board is an elected body and if Milwaukee County residents have a problem with their representation, it is their right to make their voice heard to promote change.

Further, while this bill allows Milwaukee County residents to vote in a referendum regarding the pay of county board supervisors, that is the only provision of the passed bill that residents will be able to vote on. They will not be able to vote on increasing the power of the county executive, decreasing the budget for the board overall, or reducing term lengths by two years.

Additionally, rather than putting the limited referendum to a vote during a major election, Republicans chose April 2014, an election where not all municipalities will even have major races and thus have significantly lower voter turnout. The main proponents of this legislation is an out-of-county special interest group, the county executive, and former supervisors that will not be affected by the changes. Clearly the residents of Milwaukee County were not the main consideration for furthering this bill.

Republicans Continue Their Attack on Milwaukee

This bill continues what we have already seen: a calculated attack on the city and county of Milwaukee. This attack has become so brazen that a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headline even asked: "Is the GOP-run state Legislature at war with Milwaukee?" Considering the proposals introduced this session, the answer appears to be yes.

In addition to passing this anti-local control measure against Milwaukee County, while leaving other counties untouched, for now, legislative Republicans have also pursued legislation or proposals to:

  1. Kill the Milwaukee street car project
  2. Revoke residency requirements for local employees
  3. Expand vouchers while refusing to give public school children a single additional dollar in the classrooms

What Republicans seem to be forgetting is that city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County play a pivotal role in the overall economic success of our state. In reality, as goes Milwaukee, so goes the rest of the state. Instead of continuing an unfair attack on our only world-class city, Republicans should be focusing on how to better support this economic engine.

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Thoughts and Prayers with Boston

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 20 April 2013
in Wisconsin

MADISON - Like many others across the country, I was devastated by the news coverage of the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon. My thoughts and prayers go out to the lives that were torn apart by this act of terror.

Finishing a marathon is not just an achievement, it is the culmination of months, if not years, of hard work a runner puts in just to get there. It is about overcoming hardship and adversity. The cowards that did this not only struck out against that American spirit of endurance and achievement, but they also struck out against a world community of runners from all 50 states and 90-plus countries across the globe.

As an avid runner who had family and friends attending and participating in the Boston Marathon, this affected me on a personal level. While my family and friends were uninjured, none of us were left untouched by this unthinkable event. My hope is that the people responsible for this horrible act of terrorism are found and brought to justice so that the those affected by this tragedy and their families are able to find peace.

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