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Senate Passes Bi-Partisan Kickboxing Bill PDF Print E-mail
Written by GBP Staff   
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 11:12

kickboxing-maleMADISON - Legislation that would extend mixed martial arts regulations to the sport of and other unarmed combat sports is on its way to becoming law after passing the State Senate on a voice vote Tuesday.

The legislation was introduced by Democratic Senator Dave Hansen and Republicans Representative Joel Kleefisch and Senator Rob Cowles in response to the death of Dennis Munson Jr. who lost his life in his first kickboxing competition.

dave-hansen-gb“This is an important step toward extending the lifesaving protections found in mixed martial arts law to competitors in kickboxing,” said Hansen, a co-author of the bill. “We cannot go back in time and save Dennis Munson Jr., but thanks to the efforts of his family and the bi-partisan support here in the Legislature, we are doing all we can to make sure that no other families will have to endure a tragic loss like Dennis Munson’s family has had to bear.”

An Assembly version of the bill, Assembly Bill 76, passed the State Assembly on February 9th, but the Department of Safety and Professional Services said it needed more time to implement the new law. Because the Assembly is set to conclude its business on Thursday the Senate needed to act quickly to pass an amended version of the Senate bill in time for the Assembly to pass it on Thursday.

“In 2009 we took a major step in protecting mixed martial arts fighters. Unfortunately, as we learned, Dennis Munson Jr. did not enjoy those protections when he lost his life in an unregulated kickboxing match," said Hansen.  "With today’s vote in the State Senate and Thursday’s action in the Assembly, we are poised to honor Dennis by extending those protections to all competitors in unarmed combat sports.”


Legislative writer Jay Wadd contributed to this story.

Mississippi Backwaters Cut Off to Citizens by Railroad “Police” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 13:15

ice-fishingSen. Kathleen Vinehout is working on a bill to restore the ability of people to cross railroad lines to access public lands. Laws meant to protect energy providers from protesters are being felt by folks who cross over land to access public areas, such as fisherman along the Mississippi River. A new Republican bill (AB 547) could make matters worse.

Walker's Delay on Clean Power Plan Will Cost Wisconsin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Clean Wisconsin   
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 11:56

walker_wavesGov. Scott Walker's politically motivated executive order barring state agencies from working on the state’s Clean Power Plan implementation may cost ratepayers up to $55 million on their energy bills and will almost assure that EPA will impose a federal plan on Wisconsin.

Republicans Break Promise to Public Schools, Push Last-Minute $14 Million Cut PDF Print E-mail
Written by Assembly Democrats   
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 10:26

teensMADISON - The State Assembly is set to ram through a last-minute change (AB 751) to the school funding formula today that will cut another $14 million in revenue limit authority from public schools in the 2016-17 school year. The change, which breaks a major promise that Republicans made to schools, is being pushed by special interest groups to appease far-right wing activists.

peter_barca“Republicans cannot be trusted to do what’s right for our kids and our schools and these cuts will harm our already-starving public schools,” Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said. “The people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly agree we are investing too little in our schools and yet legislative Republicans continue to break their promises to our schools. Many education leaders have spoken out against this change. I hope that Republican legislators will side with the children and schools in their districts – not with their party bosses and special interests.”

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), Republicans have cut more than $1 billion in state aid from public K-12 schools since 2011. The latest state budget also featured an unprecedented giveaway that harms local school districts by taking taxpayer funds directly from public schools to subsidize private school vouchers. The LFB estimates this change will divert up to $800 million from public schools to private schools over the next decade.

jennifer-shilling“Democrats stand united in support of our public schools,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Local taxpayers can’t afford to continue subsidizing an alternative school system that isn’t accountable to the public. We need to support our local community schools and ensure that every child has access to a quality public education.”

The latest Marquette Law poll found that 57 percent of voters believe our public schools are already receiving too little state support. Despite their unpopularity, legislative Republicans continue to push forward anti-public school policies to appease the pro-voucher lobbying interests who are bankrolling their campaigns.

During the state budget, Republican lawmakers promised that voucher students “would be fully counted by their school district of residence under revenue limits in the first year” (JFC motion #457). Under the new Republican proposal, public school districts will subsidize the cost for every new student enrolled in the voucher program for the first two years of their participation – a number that could face explosive growth as the voucher enrollment caps phase out over the coming years. For example, in year one, aid to the Appleton Area School District will be slashed by more than $587,000, La Crosse School District will lose more than $228,000 and Sheboygan Area School District will lose $381,000. Without the ability to ask their local taxpayers to make up those losses, opportunities will be taken away from public school students.

An LFB memo on the potential cuts to school districts under Assembly Bill 751 is available here.


Legislative staffers Tony Palese and Laura Smith contributed to this story.

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