Tuesday December 10, 2019

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Homeless Wisconsinites Left out in the Cold by GOP PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Friday, 06 December 2019 11:41

homelessState Republican “A Hand for the Homeless” package just another stall tactic says Erpenbach.

WEST POINT - In Governor Evers’ budget proposal, he included funding to combat homelessness in Wisconsin. The funding was based on recommendations from an Interagency Council on Homelessness that was created in 2017. The recommendations were drawn from the council’s “A Hand and a Home: Foundations for Success,” an action plan that asked for $3.75 million annually to prevent and decrease homelessness in Wisconsin. Additionally, in February 2019, Republicans introduced a series of eight bills that had the same goals – the “A Hand for the Homeless” package. With both sides of the aisle working on the issue, there was hope that, before winter hit Wisconsin, the state would release funding and get to work on this pressing issue.

While all the funding was approved in the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) for the purpose of combatting homelessness, Republicans opted to hold the money in their supplemental appropriation fund, instead of releasing the dollars to the agencies charged with implementing the programs. Governor Evers included a detailed list of the programs that the funds would be used for, including increases for the Homeless Prevention Program, State Shelter Subsidy Grants, the Housing Assistance Program, and the creation of grants for Housing Navigation, etc. Yet, Republicans held back the funds, waiting instead for their own package of bills to be signed into law. Once again choosing partisanship over the good of Wisconsin.

This legislation passed unanimously in both Senate and Assembly committees and before the full Assembly, but despite Democratic effort, Republicans blocked the bills in the Senate, and adjourned until January 2020.

On July 15, 2019 the Department of Administration (DOA) requested the release of the funds passed in the budget and several months later they have not received a response. Despite the funding already being designated for this purpose, Republicans are forcing our most vulnerable to needlessly wait while they leave for their holiday vacations.

jon-erpenbachGovernor Evers sent a letter to the Republican JFC Co-Chairs, Senator Alberta Darling and Representative John Nygren, to release the funds on November 14, 2019, and JFC Democrats followed the call by requesting that the JFC convene to release the funding. Still, Republicans have stayed silent on the once bipartisan issue.

Those who are facing homelessness should not have to wait through the freezing Wisconsin winter months for Republicans to decide to do their job. There is support on both sides of the aisle for the legislation that was introduced by Republican Assembly members, yet Senate Republicans refuse to address this crucial issue.

Wisconsinites are sick of the constant political games. This is just another example of Republicans using tactics to stall progress in our state. Releasing the funds that the JFC is holding to combat homelessness should not be a partisan issue, and, with the funds already being slated for this purpose, the cost should not be preventing the programs from being executed.

Republicans have come out in support of these proposals. Democrats have pushed for the bills to be taken up in the Senate. Governor Evers has advocated for the funds. What is holding Senate Republicans back from taking the vote to help those in need?

There are only a few weeks left this year, and the legislature has yet to take up some of the most important issues to Wisconsinites. Wisconsinites expect more from their elected officials than to “play goalie” to issues that would have enormous positive impacts on our communities.

Democratic Radio: Forward on Climate PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Wisconsin Democrats   
Friday, 06 December 2019 10:11

hurricaneFor young people, climate change is urgent, and it makes their future difficult to imagine.

MADISON - This week, Representative Greta Neubauer (D - Racine) discusses the issue of climate change.

Audio File of Radio Address not included, text is below.

greta-neubauerHello, this is Representative Greta Neubauer with this week’s Democratic Radio Address.

Over the last decade I have dedicated myself to working on the issue of climate change.

It has become clear to me that if we want to make real progress in the fight against climate change, we need to develop solutions in our home states and communities.

We need to find thoughtful, collaborative ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, begin the transition to a more sustainable and just economy, and develop the family-supporting jobs Wisconsin needs.

As a state legislator, I make it a point to visit schools throughout my district. A few weeks ago, I was meeting with high school freshmen and I asked them to write down an issue they care about. I was blown away to see “climate change” on so many of their papers. I asked them why this issue is personal for them, and they talked about their fear for the future and the impacts of climate change that they already feel in their community.

For young people, climate change isn’t an issue that feels far away. It is urgent, and it makes their future difficult to imagine.

Our young people are right when they tell us that we don’t have any time to lose. No matter where we live, we all feel the effects of climate change and the fossil fuel economy, especially low income families, people of color, and our rural communities.

This week, legislative Democrats introduced a package of bills to begin addressing the effects of climate change, speed up our transition to 100% carbon-free energy, and build our next economy.

These bills were designed with input from people across Wisconsin to meet our priorities and invest in our shared future. From supporting our farmers, to building the clean-energy manufacturing sector, to investing in our kids and our schools, we can build up our communities and bring new opportunities to Wisconsin. These bills are just the beginning.

In the coming months, the Governor’s Climate Change Task Force will begin our work, meeting with people across the state to develop more Wisconsin-centered solutions to the climate crisis.

With this package of bills and the Governor’s task force beginning their work, I am confident that together we can move Forward on Climate.

Thank you.

Rep. Hintz on Shooting at Oshkosh West High School PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Gordon Hintz, Rep. 54th Assembly District   
Wednesday, 04 December 2019 17:05

school-guns-wiThe premise that students today must simply learn to live with the constant prospect of terror and violence when they attend school, or go about their lives in any other public space is unacceptable.

The Ho-Chunk Code Talkers: Honoring Native American History PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31   
Wednesday, 04 December 2019 09:56

wwii-code-talkersNative American Heritage Month is an important time to remind ourselves of our country’s past, the role of the World War II Ho-Chunk Code Talkers, and honor Native Americans’ contributions to our country.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2019 10:37
Democratic Radio: Democrats Call for Action to Address Homelessness PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Wisconsin Democrats   
Friday, 29 November 2019 15:25

homelessBipartisan legislation would fund homeless shelters all across Wisconsin.

MADISON, WI – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D – West Point) offered the Democratic weekly radio to discuss legislation to address homelessness.

The audio file of this week’s address can be found here.

A written transcript of the address is below:

“Hi, this is State Senator Jon Erpenbach.

“As the temperatures continues to drop here in Wisconsin, we are facing the fact that, due to political games, Republicans have pumped the brakes on many ideas and proposals that the majority of Wisconsinites support. Including proposals that would help Wisconsinites who are homeless.

jon-erpenbach“That’s why my Democratic colleagues tried to pass bipartisan legislation to fund homeless shelters all across Wisconsin. This legislation passed unanimously in both Senate and Assembly committees and before the full State Assembly. Despite the bipartisan efforts, Senate Republicans said no and have adjourned until January 2020.

“The funding was already approved in the budget, and both Governor Tony Evers and the Democrats are calling upon Republicans on the Joint Committee on Finance to meet and release these funds, so that we can get to work to help those that need it most.

“Homelessness is an issue that persists in communities all across our state. While we sit down with our families and loved ones to give thanks, it is important to remember that we do not forget those who do have no place to call home. I hope that my Republican colleagues will join us in remembering what season it is and what it is all about – it’s all about giving back.

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