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Wisconsin Students Award Ron Johnson a Failing Grade PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by League of Conservation Voters, Jonah Hermann   
Friday, 26 February 2016 12:28

uwgb-studentUWGB, St. Norbert College, Green Bay area educators, and other community leaders announce Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2015 National Environmental Scorecard.

GREEN BAY, WI - Today, students from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, St. Norbert College, Green Bay area educators, and other community leaders unveiled League of Conservation Voters’ 2015 Environmental Scorecard at a rally outside the Brown County Courthouse. This year, more votes than ever were tracked, revealing that the 114th congress has unleashed more attacks on our natural resources than any other year in our history.

ron-johnsonUW-Green Bay student, Lorissa Banuelos, said “As a leader of UW-Green Bay’s student environmental group, I know the importance of conserving our air, land, and water for the next generation. When I talk to my peers, they agree, and together we are doing our part in our community to ensure Wisconsin remains safe and beautiful for our children. I am disappointed to see Ron Johnson's grade so out of touch with reality.”

Scores are given to every member of the U.S. House and Senate. In Wisconsin, the most notable score was Senator Ron Johnson, who received a zero, bringing his lifetime environmental score to just four percent.

Maggie McConnaha a St. Norbert student, criticized Johnson, saying “Today, I join with my fellow students in giving Ron Johnson an F grade for his assignment to protect our natural resources. We are ashamed that Ron Johnson sided with corporate polluters and not the needs of his constituents. Students like us all across the state will not stand for this behavior from our Senator.”

Thielen continued, “Our decision makers in Washington DC need to stand up for us and support legislation that aims to reverse the undeniable science of climate change, not take steps to roll back progress we have already made on this enormous threat to our community.”

Rep. Bernier's Offensive Comments Toward Local School Leaders Continue PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by Assembly Democrats, Laura Smith   
Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:49

kathy-bernierBernier says “It’s worse than going to a dentist, going to these meetings” in an interview with the Chippewa Herald. Does not want to hear from local officials about the damage that her votes have caused to our children and schools.

CHIPPEWA, WI – Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) continued her verbal assault on local education leaders Wednesday, saying in an interview with the Chippewa Herald about Monday's regular meeting of the Chippewa Falls, Altoona, and Eau Claire school districts that “It’s worse than going to a dentist, going to these meetings.” (full story here)

peter_barca“Rep. Bernier’s continued disrespect to her constituents only compounds the harm she has done to our public schools,” said Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). “Rep. Bernier’s unwillingness to engage the community on the very important issue of funding our schools is as troubling as her record of defunding these schools. Rep. Bernier owes her constituents – and frankly, dentists – an apology!”

Rep. Bernier’s outburst is out of step with her community and even her Republican colleagues. Other Republican legislators attending these meetings said they actually find them helpful.

Rep. Barca provided the following statistics today in response to Rep. Bernier’s urging “Let’s get the facts first and remove partisan politics from the topic of educating our children. Then we can do what’s right for children and their families.” (source: Wisconsin Radio Network)

Here are “the facts.” Since joining the legislature in 2011, Rep. Bernier has:

  • Slashed Funding for K-12 Schools: The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) reported that since 2011, K-12 public schools have received more than $1 billion less in state aid (memo).
  • Restricted Local Control: Since 2011, Rep. Bernier and Republicans have passed approximately 100 measures that restrict local control or are considered unfunded mandates (memo).
  • Diverted Taxpayer Funds Directly to Private Schools: Rep. Bernier stood by silently as her Republican Party voted this year to divert more than $800 million in taxpayer funds from public schools to unaccountable private schools (memo). Last week, Rep. Bernier also voted for a bill (SB 615) that will cause immediate harm to our already-struggling public schools to the tune of $5.3 million this year.
  • Accepted Major Donations from Out-of-State Pro-Voucher Special Interests: Rep. Bernier has received nearly $11,000 in campaign contributions from pro-voucher special interests since 2010 (source: OWN report).

“It is shameful that Rep. Bernier is attempting to distract attention from her record of damage to her local schools and community,” Rep. Barca said. “Rep. Bernier simply does not want to hear from local officials about the damage that her votes have caused to our children and schools.”

Western Wisconsin Benefits from Local Solar Investments PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Thursday, 25 February 2016 10:44

solarForward-looking projects by local utility providers Dairyland Power and Xcel Energy to develop renewable energy solutions are welcome news for workers, families and communities.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2016 15:50
Lincoln Hills Cover-Up Continues as GOP Ignores Crisis PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Monday, 22 February 2016 15:55

juvenile-correctionsThree months pass after DOJ and FBI raid troubled facility, serious security deficiencies, under staffing issues and child safety concerns continue despite public calls for action.

Tiffany Ignored Warnings at Lincoln Hills PDF Print E-mail
News - Articles for State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Matt Ullsvik   
Monday, 22 February 2016 15:39

boy-in-docRecords reveal Northwoods legislator failed to act on child safety concerns.

MADISON, WI - Newly obtained documents show that Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) was contacted directly by multiple whistleblowers about problems at the Lincoln Hills juvenile facility. An open records request to his office revealed more than 550 pages of documents including detailed warnings about understaffing, inmate overcrowding, assaults and other safety issues.

tom-tiffanyMonths before a high-profile FBI raid on the facility, one email warned Sen. Tiffany bluntly that riots, fights and assaults had “skyrocketed.”

“As shocking as these 550 pages of documents are, what's even more disturbing is Sen. Tiffany's inaction,” said SSDC Executive Director Matt Ullsvik. “Despite being confronted with horrific claims of child abuse at a facility in his district, the record shows that Tom Tiffany dropped the ball. Even after being warned about safety concerns and understaffing at Lincoln Hills, Tom Tiffany voted to cut over 100 staff positions and $140 million in funding from the Department of Corrections budget last year. Had Sen. Tiffany acted on these warning and addressed the serious safety concerns at Lincoln Hills, it’s possible that additional cases of child abuse, neglect and assault could have been prevented.”

Records show that Sen. Tiffany was warned at least as early as April 2015 about dangerous conditions at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile facilities. Aside from one email to the Dept. of Workforce Development, none of the 550+ documents released by his office show any effort by Sen. Tiffany to intervene on behalf of at-risk employees and children at Lincoln Hills.

“When children and workers needed his help the most, Sen. Tiffany let them down and chose to ignore multiple warnings,” added Ullsvik. “We may never know whether Sen. Tiffany was trying to protect Gov. Walker’s image during the lead up to his presidential campaign, or whether he didn’t think the red flags were worth investigating. However, given the ongoing safety concerns and staff shortages, it’s time for Sen. Tiffany to step up to the plate and stop defending Gov. Walker’s failures. Children, parents and workers deserve better than Tom Tiffany’s indifference and inaction.”

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