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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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