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New Legislation to Help Nonviolent Criminals Find Work PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lena Taylor, State Senator, 4th District   
Saturday, 05 March 2016 11:22

criminals-find-workMADISON - Employment for ex-felons should always be a bi-partisan issue. That’s why I am excited to co-author a bill that will remove barriers that prevent people who have been convicted of a crime from finding work.

Assembly Bill 614 was introduced by Rep. Dave Knudson, passed in the Assembly last month and had a hearing in the Senate this week. This bill will allow a person who has been convicted of a nonviolent crime to apply for a certificate of qualification for employment (CQE).

This certificate removes many sanctions that come with a conviction and can prevent a person from being hired. Unemployment rates for ex-felons can be as high as 60-70% and men with convictions account for about 34% of all nonworking men from ages 25-54. Also, formerly incarcerated people with one year of employment had a 16% recidivism rate over three years compared to 52.3% recidivism in three years among un-employed ex-convicts.

AROW Honors Recycling and Waste Reduction Efforts throughout Wisconsin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin   
Friday, 04 March 2016 10:06

landfill-recycling-wasteOCONOMOWOC, WI - Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW), proudly held their annual awards ceremony at the 2016 Wisconsin Integrated Resource Management Conference (  The ceremony, held on February 25th in Oconomowoc, recognized individuals and groups for outstanding work in the field of recycling and waste reduction.  This year AROW presented four awards:

  • One to an individual recognized for her excellence in recycling education whose dedication and enthusiasm has encouraged and enhanced recycling education in Wisconsin;
  • One to two cities in western Wisconsin who worked in collaboration to develop and implement automated, single stream recycling collection for their communities;
  • One to an exemplary Public/Private Construction & Demolition Recycling Facility Partnership; and
  • One to a Dunn County Solid Waste Director who has been a dedicated participant and steward in the Wisconsin waste and recycling industry for 27 years.

“As the voice for recycling and waste reduction in Wisconsin, AROW is incredibly pleased and honored to recognize the achievements of recycling industry professionals, Wisconsin businesses and local governments,” said Meleesa Johnson, AROW’s President. “This year’s recipients clearly demonstrate the caliber of our industry and the dedication of Wisconsin’s governments and businesses to continually improve recycling and waste reduction efforts in the state.

The recipient of the prestigious Christy Dixon Recycler of the Year Award was George Hayducsko, Director (retired) for Dunn County Solid Waste.   This recognition is given to an individual whose career demonstrates the highest professional standards. Mr. Hayducsko was recognized for not only his dedication to recycling and waste reduction in  Dunn County, but also across the state.

George has been a dedicated participant and steward in Wisconsin’s waste and recycling industry for 27 years and tackled each new project and opportunity with vigor and enthusiasm. His strong aptitude for mixing business sense and realism, along with progressive recycling initiatives, makes many of his projects win-wins (and sometimes win-win-win-wins) for all involved. His enthusiasm and commitment has shone through to both the general public and his waste and recycling colleagues.  His incredibly successful track record has brought the respect of local and state policy makers, his staff and his colleagues.  George is a true advocate for recycling.

The Outstanding Achievement in Recycling Award is awarded to an individual or group that has excelled in their recycling program. This year two groups were honored with this award.

The Outstanding Achievement in Recycling-Public Sector was given to a joint collaboration between the cities of La Crosse and Onalaska, Wisconsin, who worked together to develop and implement automated, single stream recycling collection for their residents. Their efforts have resulted in a significant increase in the volume of recyclables collected, and have improved efficiency and safety for haulers. Citizens have embraced the program, as demonstrated by a high level of participation and customer satisfaction.

Community leaders have shown that determination to provide a convenient, easy-to-use recycling program, along with a comprehensive education program, can net big results.  In fact, a recent study, conducted by the La Crosse County Solid Waste Department, indicated a 137% increase in recycling tonnage.   La Crosse and Onalaska hope this program will teach residents the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling in these communities in addition to cleaning up the neighborhood.

Outstanding Achievement in Recycling-Private/Public Partnership was given to another joint collaboration between Dane County and Landfill Reduction & Recycling, LLC of Appleton.  May 2013 marked the start of Dane County Solid Waste Division’s entrance into the construction and demolition (C&D) recycling business.  The program, prompted by the need to better manage landfill air space, started with the construction of a nearly 21,000 square foot state-of-the-art transfer facility, specifically for C&D waste headed for recycling in Appleton.   Soon, the cost of transporting bulky construction waste from Madison to Appleton started to take a big bite out of the program budget.  After discussion options it became clear that a C&D recycling facility, in Dane County, was necessary.  The next phase of the discussion included taking the relationship between the two entities from that of customer and service provider to a true public/private partnership.

January 2015 launched the start of the formal relationship and the construction of the $3.2 million, 7500 square foot addition to the existing transfer facility.   Dane County will own the equipment, building and land, continuing to access fees for tipping.  Through a contract for operations, Landfill Reduction and Recycling will provide operational staff, as well as specific expertise to ensure the efficient and successful operation of the facility.  Once fully operational, this project will have created 20-25 jobs, preserved landfill air space and diverted valuable materials into productive use.

The Outstanding Achievement in Education Award is given to an individual or group that has excelled in environmental education, specifically related to solid waste and recycling. Applicants may be from the public, private or nonprofit sector.  This year’s award went to Elisabeth (Lis) Olson, former Recycling & Waste Reduction Communications Coordinator, Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin Coordinator, Bureau of Waste and Materials Management - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). For over seven years Lis has been instrumental in advancing statewide recycling and waste reduction education efforts. She has an incredible enthusiasm for education and a creative vision for sharing information in a way that people notice.

Lis’ enthusiasm strengthens municipal and county solid waste management programs by coordinating efforts with the DNR Statewide Recycling Team.  She directed the "Green and Healthy Schools Program" , a collaborative project between the DNR, UW-Stevens Point, and the Department of Public Instruction, with a goal of supporting end encouraging schools to have healthy, safe and environmentally friendly practices. Most importantly for AROW, Lis helped to build the very popular Recycle More Wisconsin ( program and its social media footprint on Facebook, preparing and disseminating hundreds of  interesting and fun educational posts and materials.

AROW is a membership-based organization, serving the recycling and waste reduction interests of citizens, organizations, municipalities and businesses across the state.  For those who support recycling and wish to see more waste diverted into productive use, consider joining the cause by becoming an AROW member.


About the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW)

Founded in 1990, AROW is an association representing Wisconsin’s recycling, waste reduction and sustainability professionals. The organization provides leadership through education, advocacy, and collaboration and promotes effective, efficient and sustainable material recovery initiatives. For details on AROW, its positions and programs visit

Scott Walker's Partisan Politics Cost Taxpayers Over $600 Million PDF Print E-mail
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 16:50

scottwalker-dreamMADISON - As President Obama comes to Milwaukee to celebrate the success of the ACA, reports from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel show Gov. Scott Walker's solely partisan, and political opposition to the Affordable Care Act is costing taxpayers in Wisconsin over $600 million. Journal Sentinel’s Guy Boulton wrote on Monday, “The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated in December that Wisconsin is on track to spend $678.6 million more through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, than the state would have had Walker accepted the federal money available through the law."

martha-laning“It is beyond me why the governor wouldn’t accept federal dollars to help the hard-working families of Wisconsin,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Thursday. "Gov. Scott Walker could have saved millions of dollars for the taxpayers and helped thousands of Wisconsin families, but instead, he put ideology and politics ahead of the need to do what is right for Wisconsinites."

Gov. Scott Walker and his rubber-stamp legislature rejected $4.4 billion in federal funds to expand our successful BadgerCare program. Instead of accepting federal funding that would have covered the majority of the costs, Gov. Walker created a plan to kick more then 92,000 people off their healthcare, including some children. Not only did Wisconsin Republicans compromise access to affordable healthcare for Wisconsinites, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, they missed an opportunity to create an additional 10,000 jobs in our state.

Walker's decision to reject federal funds to expand BadgerCare had immediate harmful effect on Wisconsinites. Now, we know for certain that the hits keep on coming as our state continues to insure fewer people and Wisconsin taxpayers remain on the hook for more than $600 million through 2017.

“This news makes it clear that Scott Walker should evaluate his fiscal responsibilities. His partisan rejection of federal funds to expand healthcare access comes at cost to our entire state," concluded Laning.

Senate Republicans Continue to Block Student Loan Refinancing PDF Print E-mail
Written by GBP Staff   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 16:13

uwgb-studentRefinancing good enough for Minnesota graduates but not Wisconsin residents. Up to $295 million per year could be lost to state's economy.

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