Saturday September 19, 2020

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Supreme Court Put Profits Over People

Posted by Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30 has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 14 May 2020
in Wisconsin

covid-19-workers-meatpackingWednesday's decision comes as no surprise, says Green Bay Senator. Justices put the bidding of their corporate benefactors over workers' lives.


GREEN BAY, WI - Congratulations workers! Thanks to the corporate controlled State Supreme Court you’re going back to work whether you feel safe or not. Because now that they have repealed the Safer at Home order if your employer calls you back to work and you don’t feel safe you will lose your unemployment.

dave_hansenIn a decision that comes as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with the Republican, corporate-controlled State Supreme Court a majority has decided to put profits over the lives of workers, customers and their families.

Also in a move that is as no surprise, they abandoned their own values to do the bidding of their corporate donors. Judicial activism is alive and well on the state’s highest court when it comes to doing the bidding of their corporate overlords.

Perhaps those who believe people’s lives are more important than corporate profits should begin the process of recalling those justices who, once again, did the bidding of their corporate benefactors at the expense the people.

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The Importance of Being Prepared

Posted by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, Senator District 31 (D - Eau Claire)
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on Wednesday, 13 May 2020
in Wisconsin

mandela-barnes-cctfElected leaders have a responsibility to invest in safety nets to protect citizens when disaster strikes. Being prepared by properly investing in our future will ensure we’re successful for years to come.


EAU CLAIRE, WI - As we become responsible adults we are faced with many decisions that can affect our future and the future of our families. We choose a career, decide where we work and how to prepare for retirement. We may choose a life partner, start a family, move and continue to make important decisions because, after all, we’re responsible to prepare our children to be independent.

We buy insurance policies to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios for just about every circumstance: a house fire, car accident, health crisis and even death.

Almost all of the choices we make are with our future in mind, whether it’s next week, next year or 20 years from now. We do this because we know from experience that anything can happen and though we can’t predict the future, we can be prepared for it.

However, during this highly unusual and frightening time, the lack of foresight and planning by Republican leaders is on display. From the White House to Wisconsin, there have been years of tearing down the very safety nets that we, as tax-paying citizens, expected would be there when we needed them.

The safety nets we had in place were intended to support people when disaster struck. But over the last decade, the Majority Party latched onto a buzzword that became their rallying cry against the government: “austerity.” They bolstered the notion that we’d all be better off if we cut government funding.

Now, while facing a public health crisis, we see the visible ramifications of austerity policies. The reluctance to strategize on ways to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, on the part of Republicans, by expanding Medicaid or embracing a universal healthcare system is a significant reason why a pandemic is scary for so many. For almost a decade, Republicans in Wisconsin have rejected Medicaid expansion, even though the expansion would save our state $324.5 million and provide coverage for 82,000 low-income individuals. Looking ahead, Wisconsin would also bring in an additional $1.6 billion in federal healthcare funding if we expanded Medicaid now.

Without adequate health insurance, some may even be putting themselves at risk because they can’t afford a doctor’s visit, thus putting others at risk during this crisis. Republicans still aren’t making public health investments even in the middle of a pandemic; they cut a key provision from Governor Evers’ COVID-19 relief proposal that would have allocated $200 million for costs related to the current or a future public health emergency.

We’re fortunate to have dedicated public servants in local public health departments who grabbed the reins and are making the most of what they have to protect us. But still, Republican legislators choose to ignore the professionals and even look for more ways to limit their resources.

While all of this is happening, there is also the terrifying reality of not collecting a paycheck. That is why we have agencies at both the federal and state levels that work to provide support for those struggling to make ends meet. The Department of Workforce Development is currently left scrambling to help thousands affected by this crisis; the workload is further exacerbated by outdated phone systems.

jeff-smithTo make matters worse, Republicans ignored numerous requests by the Governor and Democrats to lift the one-week waiting period for unemployment compensation which caused Wisconsin to losing an additional $25 million in federal funding. Weeks have gone by and our office continues to handle daily calls and emails of desperate pleas for help.

It’s simple – we need to be better prepared. It’s the same reason we buy homeowners insurance and car insurance or the reason we make sure our local governments are funded to provide police and fire protection.

People choose their elected leader based on whether they appear responsible or have an eye for future comfort and success. Hopefully, when we come out of this pandemic, we realize that our government serves a purpose. We must properly support the people and programs responsible for keeping our communities safe. Being prepared by properly investing in our future will ensure we’re successful for years to come.

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Appleton GOP Press Conference on “Re-opening” Dangerous and Tone Deaf

Posted by Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30 has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 09 May 2020
in Wisconsin

jim-steineke-appleton-wbaySenator says area Republicans don’t seem to care that the majority of people in this state do not want to re-open now, nor do they care about the predicament the workers are in. They just seem so eager and willing to risk the lives of others.


GREEN BAY, WI - Thursday’s press conference at an Appleton dairy by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and area Assembly Republicans to call for regional re-opening at a time when Brown County is seeing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases is as dangerous as it is tone deaf.

Not one person speaking at their press conference was a health expert. Not one person there seems to understand that just because some parts of the state aren’t showing significant numbers of cases doesn’t mean there aren’t more cases than are known. Not one of them seems to care that re-opening those areas could lead to significant spikes in cases and overwhelm smaller, rural hospitals leading to needless loss of life.

covid-19-workers-meatpackingThey also don’t seem to care that the majority of people in this state do not want to re-open now. Nor do they care about the predicament they are going to put workers in by forcing them to choose between keeping their job and protecting their lives and the lives of their families.

dave-hansenNo life is expendable. No person should be forced back to work before it is safe to do so.

The fact that these so-called pro-life Republicans are so eager and willing to risk the lives of thousands of their constituents calls their judgment and motive into serious question.

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Justice Roggensack’s comments show she is unfit to serve

Posted by Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30 has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 07 May 2020
in Wisconsin

patience-roggensack_050720Her comments also show a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of just how transmittable the coronavirus is, says Green Bay Senator.


GREEN BAY, WI - As Brown County continues to increase at the fastest rate in the state, Justice Roggensack’s comments that workers at meat packing plants “are not regular folks” are as dangerous as they are insulting, demonstrating a sense of elitism and ignorance one might expect from our current president but not from a justice on our Supreme Court.

dave-hansen-gbHer comments also show a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of just how transmittable the coronavirus is which makes her judgment dangerous to those who will soon be forced back to work when she and the other activist Republican justices are expected to rule against Governor Evers’ Safer at Home order.

Justice Roggensack’s comments show her to be unfit to serve on the state’s highest court. At the very least she should recuse herself from any and all decisions related to challenges to Governor Evers’ order.

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Connecting During Crisis

Posted by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, Senator District 31 (D - Eau Claire)
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 06 May 2020
in Wisconsin

broadband-map-northwoodsKeeping connected during this public health crisis has again highlighted the lack of reliable internet in rural Wisconsin and the urgent need to expand broadband and better connect our communities.


EAU CLAIRE, WI - Think about it – thanks to technology it’s possible to do so much from the nearest Wi-Fi location during this global pandemic. Some people can work from home or have a video call with their loved ones, and children can get their lessons from their teacher. Folks feeling ill, or dealing with a health condition, can use telehealth to meet with a medical professionals. Many retail establishments are online, offering whatever we need, including groceries, clothing, and hardware. In this day and age, we can do all of this because we have the internet; but all this is only possible if you can access it.

It’s true. Rural Wisconsin doesn’t have the same access to high-speed internet as our urban communities. Many are unaware of the challenges we face in rural Wisconsin while we attempt to connect from our homes to businesses and our loved ones during this difficult time.

internet-ruralDuring the 20th century, electricity started as a luxury for some, but it became essential for people to work and take care of their families. Much like electricity in the last century, internet in the early 1990s was a luxury, but now, during this pandemic, internet access is crucial. While we practice social distancing and stay in our homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it’s even more important that we’re connected digitally.

Last week, I participated in a webinar with other legislators around the Midwest and a meeting with the Public Service Commission to discuss the lack of reliable internet. Since schools are closed, many rural school teachers have had to become more creative to deliver their lessons. Oftentimes, teachers and their students don’t have the bandwidth needed to connect to the virtual classroom, so they’ll park outside a library or school for the day to learn. Additionally, rural communities can’t rely on their internet to shop and buy household basics online, which is especially difficult during our current public health emergency.

Many people are becoming experts at using the latest meeting apps on their computers and seeing their co-workers and friends while conducting regular business. It’s still not better than meeting in-person, but it works. However, there are still too many people who cannot rely on it. For instance, when the State Senate convened last month to vote on the COVID Response Bill, I needed to drive to the UW-Eau Claire campus to use their internet. Even our most technologically savvy professionals from the state couldn’t come up with a good solution for me to connect and participate from my home because my satellite internet provides too slow of speeds with too many interruptions.

For others, it can be about life and death. In my district, I’ve heard stories about people who couldn’t get through when trying to call 911 or the EMTs couldn’t find a location in time to save someone. There are some things that cannot be fixed like isolated locations that are a long distance from a hospital, but then there are communication and electronic access issues that can save lives.

jeff-smithBroadband expansion is slow, too slow considering the pace our world operates nowadays. Hard work, creativity and funding are needed to accomplish our biggest modern-day infrastructural challenge. Simple solutions like my dig-once bill could save millions of dollars and plan our internet infrastructure more efficiently. Or my other bill to add $100 million to broadband expansion grants and improve our mapping capabilities can provide the roadmap we need to connect Wisconsin quicker.

Above all, just like the challenges of electrification, we need to think about how Wisconsin can connect the homes that will never be considered “profitable,” or the places too hard to go. Those must be our target so everyone in between gets hooked up and the internet becomes as trustworthy and necessary as the electricity that flows through our homes.

This pandemic has demonstrated how important and valuable that access is in today’s world. Nobody should be at risk just because they can’t visit their doctor or shop for groceries. We are social creatures. Family connections and friendships can be so important to our well-being. Let’s work for better connectedness during this crisis.

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