Thursday August 22, 2019

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Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District

Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District

Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd District which covers La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and parts of Monroe County.

Wall Resignation Doesn't Erase Walker Cover Up

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Monday, 15 February 2016
in Wisconsin

boy-in-docMADISON – On Friday, Gov. Scott Walker’s Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall resigned as the investigation of potential abuse of youth at the Copper Lake and Lincoln Hills schools moves on to the FBI.

I am appalled by the latest revelations of child abuse and sexual assault that occurred in Gov. Walker’s Department of Corrections. Sec. Wall’s resignation doesn’t change the fact that Gov. Walker and his top aides ignored critical safety warnings for more than four years.

Rather than covering up Gov. Walker’s failure to act, the Legislature should immediately assert its oversight authority and hold hearings on the safety and treatment of children at Lincoln Hills. Democrats have introduced a series of Correction Reform measures that remain stalled in Republican legislative committees.

In addition to holding officials accountable, we need to address the serious safety and security concerns at Gov. Walker's correctional facilities and immediately pass these reform measures.

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State of the State - 'we need solutions, not sound bites'

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 20 January 2016
in Wisconsin

2015-budgetMADISON – Over the last five years, we’ve seen deep cuts that have limited economic growth, stifled innovation and denied thousands of families the opportunity to get ahead. Democrats continue to believe that the best way to move our state forward is by restoring investments in our schools, infrastructure and worker training programs. 

When it comes to the challenges facing our state, we need solutions, not sound bites. Placing more students in unpaid internships isn’t going to help the nearly one million Wisconsinites burdened by $19 billion in student loan debt. It’s time to follow the lead of other states like Minnesota and allow families to refinance their student debt at a lower interest rate just like you can with home and auto loans.

Democrats remain committed to creating a childcare tax credit for working families, supporting new jobs through infrastructure investments and expanding retirement security options for hardworking residents. With Gov. Walker’s presidential bid behind us, it’s time to look forward at ways we can improve our state and rebuild our middle class.

MEDIA NOTE: State of the State video responses from Sen. Shilling and other Democratic caucus members can be viewed and downloaded at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/democrats/videoreleases.

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Open, clean government is good for everyone in Wisconsin

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 29 October 2015
in Wisconsin

walkerSen. Jennifer Shilling talks about Wisconsin’s historical bipartisan commitment to laws that protect citizen access, prevent political corruption and maintain high ethical standards in our government. In recent weeks, Republicans who control the State Legislature in Madison are pushing a package of bills that may bring this commitment to an end.


MADISON - Differences of opinion are inevitable in government. Disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over public investments, funding for schools or the fairness of our tax code are common.

Despite these differences, everyone can agree that an open, transparent and accessible government is essential to our democracy.

Throughout Wisconsin’s history, both Democrats and Republicans have supported laws to protect citizen access, prevent political corruption and maintain high ethical standards.

Unfortunately, this historical bipartisan agreement is nearing an end.

Republicans who control the State Legislature in Madison are pushing a package of bills that severely limit the ability of Wisconsin citizens to have their voices heard and hold elected officials accountable.

These bills follow the recent attempt by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans to gut Wisconsin’s open record laws. These misguided efforts to limit disclosure of public documents were abandoned only after scores of newspapers, media outlets and citizens responded with overwhelming opposition.

Now, less than three months after the failed attempt to restrict open record access, Republicans are using an end-around tactic to rewrite long-standing campaign finance, ethics and anti-corruption laws.

The first of these bills, Senate Bill 43, was privately signed into law by Gov. Walker on October 23. This law makes it more difficult to prosecute political corruption by exempting politicians from Wisconsin’s John Doe criminal investigation laws.

A second bill completely rewrites Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws allowing corporations to contribute directly to political parties and eliminating important disclosure requirements. The sweeping changes in this bill go beyond the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court decision and will result in even more TV ads, robocalls and special interest attack mailers during campaign season.

Finally, a third Republican proposal dismantles the non-partisan Government Accountability Board which is tasked with overseeing state elections and ethics laws. The Board would be replaced with political appointees using a flawed model that encourages partisan bickering and gridlock rather than actual oversight.

Taken together, these bills make sweeping changes to many long-standing good government protections. This trio of bills is so troubling that one prominent government watchdog group recently called it “a massive, coordinated blitzkrieg on democracy and transparency.”

At a time when students, families and seniors across Wisconsin continue to face serious challenges, we should be focused on strengthening our state’s economy and improving financial security.

These misguided attacks on Wisconsin’s long-standing, bipartisan tradition of open and clean government are a threat to our democratic institutions and will only serve to further polarize Wisconsin’s political environment.

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Badger Blueprint Focuses on Growth, Innovation and Opportunity

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 08 October 2015
in Wisconsin

capitol-domeMADISON - As the days get shorter and the leaves change colors, my Senate Democratic colleagues and I continue to visit with Wisconsin residents of all ages about the challenges facing our state. 

From Bayfield to Beloit, Milwaukee to La Crosse and the hundreds of communities in between – one message has been consistent: Wisconsinites want their elected officials to work together, be problem solvers and put an end to the politics of resentment. 

In response to these conversations, Senate Democrats have crafted the Badger Blueprint, a roadmap of common-sense solutions to encourage growth, drive innovation and increase opportunity. 

Education and infrastructure are critical for our state’s success in the modern, global economy. The Badger Blueprint features several new and innovative pro-growth solutions designed to expand access to quality education, invest in infrastructure improvements and improve local economic development efforts. 

We also continue to hear about the importance of business start-ups for our state’s economy. Unfortunately, Wisconsin was recently ranked the worst state in the nation for start-up activity and rate of new entrepreneurs by the Kauffman Foundation. To improve Wisconsin’s start-up business climate, Senate Democrats are committed to leveraging federal funding for entrepreneurs, partnering with private investors and increasing collaboration between schools, colleges, and the private sector to help Wisconsinites turn their ideas into successful businesses.

To improve workplace flexibility and help working families achieve financial security, the Badger Blueprint will also provide student loan debt relief, make it easier to find affordable childcare and end taxpayer subsidies to companies that outsource jobs.

It’s also time to address the needs of our rural communities and underserved urban neighborhoods that continue to struggle with high unemployment and limited job creation opportunities. Despite their geographic differences, many of these communities share common challenges. The Badger Blueprint would promote much-needed economic growth by expanding worker training and apprenticeship opportunities, improving broadband access and creating good-paying jobs through long overdue infrastructure investments. 

I’m optimistic about the future of our state because Wisconsinites are resilient and hardworking. The Badger Blueprint reflects this sense of optimism and our shared vision for a state that is ready to work together, be problem solvers and address the challenges before us. Together, we can build an economy that works for every Wisconsin resident and strengthens urban, suburban and rural communities alike.

You can learn more and share your ideas at wibadgerblueprint.com.

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Back to School Provides Some Food for Thought

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Monday, 31 August 2015
in Wisconsin

kidsLA CROSSE, WI - With the ringing of school bells and the roar of high school football games, students across Wisconsin are heading back to class. But in many classrooms, the start of school is also marked by the rumbling of empty stomachs.

Amid all of the headlines about state budget cuts and teacher shortages, many schools are struggling to deal with the challenge of student hunger. It is a crisis that has worsened dramatically over the past several years as participation rates for free and reduced school meals have skyrocketed. Over 350,000 Wisconsin children, more than 43 percent of all students, now qualify for free and reduced meals.

Schools and communities across Wisconsin are doing their best to address this issue despite declining state support. Many parents, teachers and local businesses have stepped up to organize their own school meal programs, stock student food pantries and supply backpacks with meals for children struggling with hunger at home.

The community efforts being undertaken to combat student hunger are commendable, but they are a sign of the larger economic and financial challenges facing our state. Combined with Wisconsin’s shrinking middle class and the decline in family wages, state budget cuts to school funding are having a noticeable impact.

One proposal to help address the crisis of student hunger was recently introduced by Rep. Andy Jorgensen (D-Milton) and Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville). Commonly referred to as the “Food for Thought Act,” Assembly Bill 234 seeks to increase school breakfast program enrollment and provide more children with access to a quality meal. Given the well-established correlation between hunger and low academic achievement, the “Food for Thought Act” is helping to spark a much-needed discussion about this important topic.

It’s clear that we need to take a close look at how student funding cuts and increasing poverty rates are affecting classroom learning. Instead of taking more resources away from Wisconsin children, we must work together to invest in local schools, reduce student hunger and improve student achievement.

For too long, Republicans have prioritized tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of funding for our schools and communities. In recent months, Gov. Walker’s presidential ambitions have overshadowed the real challenges facing families and distracted from our ability to find solutions to this growing crisis.

It is high time we focus on the important issues affecting Wisconsin families and local schools. Together, we can work to end childhood hunger in Wisconsin and provide all hardworking students the opportunity to succeed.

Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd District which covers La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and parts of Monroe County.

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Leverage Investments to Spur Job Growth

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 16 July 2015
in Wisconsin

lacrosseharborLA CROSSE, WI - Wisconsin is struggling economically. While other states have invested in their communities and boosted family wages, So where do we go from here?

It’s simple. Stop cutting and start growing.

By working together to strengthen our schools, expand access to health care and invest in modern infrastructure, we can grow Wisconsin’s middle class and create thousands of good-paying jobs.

We are a diverse and hardworking state. In order to succeed, we need a team approach to leverage our shared assets and lift all communities equally.

Whether it’s an energy-saving upgrade to reduce utility bills at a local school, a broadband project to boost internet access in a rural community, the construction of a cultural center to encourage creative thinking and tourism or a highway expansion to improve safety and reduce traffic, communities across Wisconsin rely on one another to leverage our public resources and maximize private investments.

Like many in our state, I was skeptical when Governor Walker first proposed borrowing millions to help pay for a new arena facility in Milwaukee. I recognized the importance of this project and what it meant for our state, but I didn’t think it was the best deal for taxpayers or workers. I knew we could do better.

I wanted to see a more fiscally responsible plan that strengthened our state's bottom line and included stronger protections for all Wisconsin families.

By listening to local residents and working to find a more bipartisan solution, we have been able to leverage additional private investments, reduce the amount of state borrowing, increase the amount of state funding available for schools and create thousands of quality, family-supporting jobs for Wisconsin workers.

Keeping the Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin and encouraging more than $1 billion in private sector economic development will benefit everyone in Wisconsin. Best of all, the new plan doesn’t raise taxes and it ensures first and foremost that Wisconsin workers are protected. The state won't be on the hook for future maintenance or repair costs, and we can invest additional revenue into our schools and communities.

With these improvements to the governor’s original proposal, this investment is good deal for taxpayers, workers and families across Wisconsin.

But the same can be said for other state investments as well.

We all know it’s better to invest in quality schools and affordable higher education than additional prison cells. It’s better to help working families get regular health checkups and preventive care than pay for expensive emergency room visits. It’s better to keep our lakes and rivers free from arsenic and mercury than clean up industrial pollution later.

Across Wisconsin, I want to make sure that we are strengthening communities by responsibly leveraging our public resources to encourage private investments and expand economic opportunities.

Generating more revenue for our schools and creating thousands of family-supporting jobs with a new Milwaukee arena project is a good deal for working families that I am proud to support. I know it is a much better deal for families than the “cut and borrow” alternative and I hope that this spark of bipartisanship will renew our desire to come together and invest in other forward-looking priorities across our state.

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Dogged by scandals at home, Gov. Walker sets his sights on D.C.

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 14 July 2015
in Wisconsin

scott-walkerLA CROSSE – Despite ongoing questions about potential corruption, criminal pay-to-play activity and another financially reckless $1.2 million taxpayer giveaway at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Gov. Walker is set to abandon his post as chairman of the troubled agency and focus on his presidential campaign.

While the rest of the nation is enjoying strong economic growth, family wages are declining in Wisconsin and the state ranks dead last in the Midwest for job creation.

With a record of ethics problems, a lagging economy and declining family wages, Gov. Walker has proven that his priorities are more in line with Washington D.C. special interests rather than hardworking Wisconsin residents. Over the last four years he has devastated our schools, cut middle class wages and sold out Wisconsin families to benefit the special interests behind his presidential campaign.

While Gov. Walker continues to campaign full-time for president on the taxpayers' dime, families here in Wisconsin are being left behind. We need a full-time governor who is going to put the needs of Wisconsin families first and work to restore education funding, invest in infrastructure and expand access to quality health care.

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State Capitol Update - votes “Under the Dome”

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 09 July 2015
in Wisconsin

capitol-domeMADISON - This update is provided to keep citizens informed about important decisions happening at the State Capitol and to help you stay updated on how elected officials are voting on key issues in Madison.

Senate Extraordinary Session – July 7
The State Senate met in extraordinary session on July 7 to take up the 2015-17 state budget (Senate Bill 21). A full list of session activities, budget amendments and votes can be found here.

K-12 school funding (Senate Amendment 4 to SB 21)
Summary: The Department of Public Instruction estimates that more than half of all Wisconsin school districts will see a reduction in state aid next year as a result of cuts to school funding. Democrats proposed investing an additional $270 million in categorical school aid to restore the local public school cuts and ensure that all children receive a quality education.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 4 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Voucher school accountability (Senate Amendment 5 to SB 21)
Summary: Despite promises to increase voucher school accountability before further expanding the program and increasing the risk of fraud and abuse, no action was taken in the Joint Finance Committee to strengthen standards. In an effort to strengthen student and taxpayer protections, Democrats introduced this amendment to eliminate the expansion of private voucher school subsidies, increase education standards and strengthen public accountability.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 5 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

University of Wisconsin System funding (Senate Amendment 6 to SB 21)
Summary: This amendment would restore the $250 million cut to UW System schools, 2-year campuses and Extension programs.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 6 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

BadgerCare expansion (Senate Amendment 12 to SB 21)
Summary: This amendment would expand access to affordable health care and lower state taxpayer costs by accepting available federal funds to strengthen BadgerCare. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau concluded that Wisconsin would save $360 million in the 2015-17 budget if federal health care funds were accepted.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 12 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Preserve long-term care, IRIS and Family Care (Senate Amendment 13 to SB 21)
Summary: The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee made a number of sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s long-term care programs which will eliminate the popular IRIS self-directing care program and jeopardize access to critical services. Additionally, new requirements for an individual assessment prior to receiving personal care services will result in a reduction of $19 million in services available to people with disabilities.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 13 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Special education funding (Senate Amendment 14 to SB 21)
Summary: The end of the 2015-17 budget will mark the eighth consecutive year that special education funding has remained flat. Costs associated with educating students with disabilities have increased over time, resulting in an overall decrease in the average reimbursement rate the state provides to school districts. In 1980, the special education funding rate was 66.1% of total costs. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, the rate fell to just 26.8%. This budget amendment would have increased the reimbursement rate to 33% of schools’ special education cost.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 14 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Funding for state parks, science and educator positions, recycling grants and Stewardship (Senate Amendment 17 to SB 21)
Summary: This amendment would restore funding to numerous programs that were cut in the budget including state parks, DNR educators and scientist positions, recycling grants and bioenergy research initiatives. Additionally, it would maintain current bonding authority for Stewardship land conservation efforts and provide additional funding for urban forestry grants.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 17 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Higher Ed, Lower Debt student loan relief (Senate Amendment 20 to SB 21)
Summary: With over 800,000 Wisconsin residents impacted by student loan debt, Democrats have advocated for additional relief from high interest rates and burdensome debt payments. The Higher Ed, Lower Debt amendment would allow individuals to refinance student debt at lower interest rates similar to options currently available for home mortgages and car loans.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 20 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

WEDC accountability and prohibition on outsourcing Wisconsin jobs (Senate Amendment 22 to SB 21)
Summary: After years of troubling audits and revelations of potential criminal violations at Gov. Walker’s flagship jobs agency, government watchdog groups have called for greater accountability and public transparency. This amendment would prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to outsource Wisconsin jobs, require employees at the WEDC to report instances of fraud to law enforcement, and subject agency officials to state laws governing misconduct in public office.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 22 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Final passage of the 2015-17 Wisconsin State Budget (SB 21)
How they voted: Passage of the 2015-17 state budget was approved by the Senate on a 18-15 vote
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) supported passage of the budget.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay) opposed passage of the budget.

 

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This State Capitol Update is provided by Senator Jennifer Shilling, the Minority Leader in the Wisconsin State Senate. For additional information on legislative or committee action, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 608-266-5490.

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After Years of Cuts, Schools Deserve a Raise

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Friday, 15 May 2015
in Wisconsin

middle-school-studentsMADISON - Imagine you took a pay cut each of the last four years. Now suppose you were pulled into your boss’s office and told that you wouldn’t get a raise this year, even though the company is growing and seeing record profits. Would that seem fair?

Well, that’s the position our local schools are in after years of historic cuts. Despite spending billions more, the current Republican budget continues to roll back state funding for our schools to 2010 levels.

While avoiding another round of cuts is certainly important, is that really a victory? Should we be satisfied with the broken status quo of school funding that forces communities across our state to go to referendum year after year?

Democrats believe that education must be our top budget priority. That means putting the needs of children and our schools ahead of tax breaks for the wealthy and giveaways to special interests.

We know the funding is available. It has been for years. But Republicans made the decision to prioritize tax breaks for special interests and the wealthy while forcing our schools to do more with less.

To fully restore the cuts our schools have seen over the past four years, we need to invest an additional $200 per student above what Gov. Walker and Republicans have proposed. In the grand scheme of multi-billion dollar special interest tax giveaways, surely we can find $200 per student.

If budgets are about priorities, it’s time we invest in our children first and give them the same shot at the American Dream that our parents handed down to us.

Let’s not settle for the broken status quo. Let’s invest in our state and make our schools a shining beacon of opportunity for Wisconsin’s children once again.

On Tuesday, the Legislature will be voting on whether or not to restore the historic funding cuts to our local schools. I encourage everyone to contact your legislative representatives toll-free at 1-800-362-9472 and urge them to support our children by voting for a $200 per pupil increase in school funding.

Anything less than that amount continues the troubling trend of chronic underfunding that has forced larger class sizes, more local referendums and higher property taxes.

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Walker’s Subsidies to Corporations that Outsource Jobs to Mexico

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 29 April 2015
in Wisconsin

walker-no-jobsScandal-plagued WEDC agency linked to business outsourcing again.


MADISON – Multiple news reports have revealed that a Wisconsin company that received $370,000 in taxpayer subsidies from Gov. Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) plans to cut 93 positions and outsource Wisconsin jobs to Tijuana, Mexico. The Eaton Corporation in Pewaukee, WI had previously outsourced 163 Wisconsin jobs to Mexico in 2013. Governor Walker serves as the Chairman of the WEDC.

At a time when Wisconsin is facing a $2.2 billion budget deficit, it is unacceptable that Republicans would provide taxpayer subsidies to a company with a history of outsourcing Wisconsin jobs. It’s time to start investing in Wisconsin families and stop subsiding corporations that outsource jobs.

While Gov. Walker continues to travel around the nation preparing for his presidential campaign, Wisconsin has plummeted economically. Recent reports have shown that family wages are declining, poverty rates have increased and Wisconsin has dropped to 40th in the country for job creation.

Rather than catering to out-of-state special interests, we need to invest in local businesses that are going to stay in Wisconsin and pay their workers a fair wage. Democrats remain committed to boosting family wages, creating quality jobs and investing in the 21st century infrastructure that is needed to move our state forward.

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Republicans Reject Oversight of Gov. Walker’s Campaign Travel

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 22 April 2015
in Wisconsin

scottwalkerMove comes less than a week after limiting travel reimbursement for veterans.


MADISON – A Democratic proposal to provide greater oversight and transparency of the state taxpayer costs associated with Gov. Walker’s national campaigning was rejected by Republicans on the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee along a party-line vote today. The proposal would have required quarterly reporting of taxpayer costs associated with Gov. Walker’s out-of-state travel.

The decision by Republicans to block this proposal and continue subsidizing the Governor’s campaign junkets comes less than a week after imposing a travel reimbursement limit for military veterans.

For Republicans to limit the travel of distinguished veterans and then turn around and give Gov. Walker a blank check to campaign on the state taxpayers’ dime highlights the grossly misplaced priorities in this budget. If Republicans have the money to continue subsidizing Gov. Walker’s international campaign junkets, then they should find a way to help military honor guards, disabled veterans and distinguished medal recipients attend state-sponsored events.

As Gov. Walker increasingly leaves the state in pursuit of his presidential ambitions, costs for his travel have increased drastically. His six day trip to Great Britain cost taxpayers over $138,000 or roughly $23,000 per day.

While Gov. Walker continues to jet around the country, families here in Wisconsin are left paying for his bills. With a $2.2 billion budget deficit, a lagging economy and a shrinking middle-class, it’s time for Republicans to re-evaluate their priorities. I hope that we can improve this budget and adopt the cost-effective, pro-growth initiatives being put forward by Democrats to strengthen our economy and lift up Wisconsin families.

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Equal Pay Enforcement Bill Needed To Close Pay Discrimination Gap

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 14 April 2015
in Wisconsin

womenMADISON – Democratic legislators led by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Chris Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) announced the introduction of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act today. The bill would reinstate commonsense legal protections for victims of workplace discrimination and help deter pay discrimination.

The introduction of the bill coincides with the upcoming National Equal Pay Day on April 14th. This date symbolizes how far into 2015 women must work to earn the same amount as men earned in 2014. It is estimated that Wisconsin families lose over $8 billion each year due to the pay discrimination wage gap.

All workers should be paid a fair wage for an honest day's work. I’m proud to be a co-author of this legislation to restore Wisconsin's Equal Pay Enforcement protections and create a more level playing field for women, veterans and minorities in our state. Rather than watching as family wages continue to decline, we need to end pay discrimination and ensure that everyone is paid a fair wage for their work.

Statistics from the national census show that women earn 78 cents, on average, for every dollar men earn for similar full-time work. The majority of women in Wisconsin bring home at least a quarter of their family’s income and there are over 230,000 Wisconsin households where women are the primary source of income.

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Budgets Are About Priorities

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Friday, 10 April 2015
in Wisconsin

budget-hearing-2015MADISON - At listening sessions across Wisconsin this past month, thousands of residents testified in support of local schools, cost-saving health care programs and responsible environmental stewardship.

These are the investments that make Wisconsin the state we all love and value. So why are Republicans proposing cuts to all of these areas? Why, at a time of national economic growth and prosperity, is Wisconsin facing a $2.2 billion deficit?

After four years of special interest giveaways and tax breaks for the wealthy, Wisconsin has fallen further behind our neighboring states and the rest of the country.

While other states are investing in families, strengthening communities and growing their economies, Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans have created a massive $2.2 billion budget deficit and are moving our state backwards. Wisconsin has dropped nine spots to 40th in the nation for job growth and we are experiencing the worst middle-class decline in the country.

We need to turn our state around. Something needs to change.

If we want our next generation to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy, we need to invest in our children’s future. Republicans have made the largest cuts to public schools in Wisconsin’s history to provide massive giveaways to special interests. Rather than diverting even more money to subsidize an unaccountable private school voucher program, we should strengthen and improve the public school system we already have.

In fact, nearly $375 million could be used for school funding and property tax relief if Republicans would simply accept federal dollars to strengthen BadgerCare. This move would free up millions that could be used to invest in our schools, improve health care access and create thousands of good paying jobs in Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin taxpayers have been forced to pay more and get less as a result of the misguided budget decisions made over the past four years. With a self-inflicted $2.2 billion budget deficit, stagnant family wages and a lagging economy, it’s time we get back to our core values and priorities.

What does it say about our state’s priorities when we have a Republican budget that spends more state taxpayer dollars on prison incarceration than UW education? What does it say about our priorities when Republicans reject federal BadgerCare funding and then propose health care fee increases for seniors? What does it say about our priorities when Republicans limit environmental conservation and then open the door to allow corporate naming of state parks?

These certainly aren’t the priorities or values that Wisconsin families have expressed over the past several months.

If legislative Republicans can afford to subsidize Gov. Walker’s international campaign trips with taxpayer funding, then surely we can find a way to protect our schools, working families and local communities from another round of devastating cuts.

After all, budgets are about priorities.

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