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Another Missed Opportunity for the Legislature to lead PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wisconsin Assembly, Ryan Neigbauer   
Tuesday, 01 September 2020 09:49

kenosha-shootingMadison- Rep. Gruszynski (D-Green Bay) released the following statement Monday responding to Assembly Leadership ignoring Governor Evers Call for a Special Session on Police Reform:

staush-gruszynski-official“It comes as no surprise that Assembly Leadership chose to abdicate their responsibilities to lead our state. By gaveling in and recessing today’s special session, GOP leadership has decided not to take up these important pieces of legislation and help lead our state. They should stop playing politics and put us to work so we can debate these common sense solutions for policing reform. These bills have already been put into place by numerous states before us -- this is just another missed opportunity to take action.”

Everyone Must Do More to Interrupt Systemic Racism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig   
Friday, 28 August 2020 11:44

kenosha-militia-streetCommentary on the arrest of the white supremicist militia member who murdered two Black Lives Matter protesters and injured a third in Kenosha, and law enforcement’s apparent lax response before and after he shot his victims.

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 August 2020 12:39
DPW on Protester Deaths in Kenosha PDF Print E-mail
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Philip Shulman   
Thursday, 27 August 2020 09:36

kenosha-protesters-shotTrump and his allies have fear-mongered and stoked hate, egged on armed right-wing militias through calls to “liberate” states during stay-at-home orders and protests. Now we see the result.

AFSCME Rebukes Kenosha Police Shooting of Jacob Blake PDF Print E-mail
Written by AFSCME Wisconsin, Valerie Landowski   
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 14:25

kenosha-shooting-082320Union stands in solidarity with the family of Jacob Blake and reiterates that Black lives matter.

MADISON - AFSCME Wisconsin rebukes the atrocious shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of the Kenosha Police. AFSCME Wisconsin stands in solidarity with victims of police violence and recommits to eradicating all forms of brutality perpetrated against communities of color and the working class.

AFSCME Wisconsin Executive Director Patrick Wycoff stated, “amid a renewed call to honor and protect Black life, officers from the Kenosha Police Department terrorized the families they swore to protect. Shooting a Black man in the back in the presence of his children was not just reckless, it is an abuse of power.

AFSCME Wisconsin demands the implementation of community-controlled policing oversight; robust community services investment in behavioral health, social services, education, and housing; and an end to federally supported militarized police presence in our communities. Without these measures in place, trust cannot be built and repaired with the community and those who the police force swears to protect.

In solidarity with national efforts, AFSCME Wisconsin advocates for federal funding to create a civilian corps of unarmed first responders such as social workers, EMTs, and trained health professionals who are trained to handle nonviolent emergencies and specialize in de-escalation. Moreover, AFSCME Wisconsin lends its support to the creation of a national database to prevent officers who have been removed from employment or resigned in the face of misconduct, from being reemployed by another law enforcement agency.

Executive Director Wycoff stated, “as public employees, we spend our lives and labor investing in our communities. Disregard for the lives of our neighbors of color destroys the trust we have worked so hard to build. We cannot heal the wounds of white supremacy and brutality against the working class while this senseless violence persists. The safety of one means the safety of all. We cannot let up until each community member feels safe. We stand in solidarity with the family of Jacob Blake and reiterate that Black lives matter.”

Palzewicz on Kenosha Shooting of Jacob Blake PDF Print E-mail
Written by Palzewicz for Wisconsin, Chelsea Cross   
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 14:02

jacob-blake-1Systemic racism is a problem and a public health crisis says Tom Palzewicz.

Brookfield, WI - At the height of public outcry, protests, the Black Lives Matter movement, and calls to defund the police, I am shocked and appalled that law enforcement deemed it appropriate to shoot an unarmed person, a Black man, a father, seven times, in front of his three children shortly after trying to be a good citizen and maintain the peace in his own neighborhood.

tom-palzewiczWe need to invest and reinvest in other social services, we need to move money spent on police activities to other government services while stripping police departments of their military-grade weapons. Our police force shouldn’t have to be the one that gets called for everything that happens in our society. Systemic racism is a problem and a public health crisis that poses a severe threat to this country. Wisconsin consistently ranks last as a safe, healthy, and integrated state for the Black community.

I stand with Governor Evers and the rest of the public officials who are outraged at these senseless shootings and demand justice for Jacob Blake.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2020 14:22
Citizen Action on Police Shooting of Jacob Blake PDF Print E-mail
Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin Press   
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 10:18

kenosha-jacob-blake-shooting-wsjGroup wants officers involved in shooting brought to justice and meaningful actions taken against structural racism.

Milwaukee, WI - Citizen Action of Wisconsin stands in solidarity with the family and friends of Jacob Blake, tens of thousands of protesters across the country fighting for racial justice and every person who loves humanity, in demanding that the officers involved in his shooting be brought to justice and meaningful actions against structural racism are immediately taken at the state, local and national levels.

We very much need the officer who shot Jacob Blake, and other officers who stood by and watched, to be prosecuted quickly. Before we can even begin to heal, justice must be brought to the police officers involved in this racist shooting and anyone else who tries to cover it up.

But the healing cannot stop there, because what happened to Jacob Blake, and all the other victims of publicly sanctioned racist violence, is ultimately caused not by a few bad apples, but the structural racism that is at the very core of the American criminal justice and policing system. The system of mass incarceration grew out of the backlash against the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s and has made the U.S, the most incarcerated and over-policed country in the history of the free world. Only a massive shift in resources away from the publicly funded oppression of Black people, poor people, and all communities of color can begin to reverse structural racism. Ultimately structural racism cannot be addressed unless we deal with the unequal political power communities of color have in American society as a direct result of economic marginalization and inequality.

There is much that needs to be done in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s racial inequality is among the worst in the nation, including the highest disparity in incarceration rates between African American men and whites. In July 2020, a new report from the UWM Center on Economic Development ranks Milwaukee as the worst major city in the country for African American wellness, which includes a series of 30 health and economic measures.

While we commend Governor Tony Evers for calling a special session of the Legislature and proposing some interim steps towards police reform, we urge the Governor to go further in addressing the root causes of structural racism and biased policing. We would like to see the Governor introduce his own major package of reforms up to the scale of the problem, including:

  • Take meaningful steps to end the system of mass incarceration and biased policing, and instead invest in harm reduction, restorative justice, and both mental and physical health and other social supports which reduce the role of police in our communities. This should include the Wisconsin African American Civic Engagement Roundtable’s proposals to shift resources away from police and towards healthy communities and public health.

  • Follow up on the campaign commitment you made in 2018 by supporting WISDOM /EXPO’s goal of ending mass incarceration, and take meaningful steps to reduce the incarceration rate by half by 2022 and create alternatives to prison for offenders.

  • End police impunity for racial violence by eliminating qualified immunity, creating an independent prosecution section in the Department of Justice, so that conflicts of interest between local DAs and police do not stand in the way of justice, and the elimination of special rights for police not also held by all other public employees.

  • Require that police who patrol Black and Brown communities also to live in those specific communities, to create a real stake for those charged with protecting public safety. If you are unwilling to live in the communities you police, you should not carry live and death powers over their residents.

"First, let me send peace and blessing to Jacob Blake and his family. No one should have to go through what y'all did yesterday. I hope justice will be done," said Rafael Smith, Climate and Equity Director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin. "Unfortunately, what happened in Kenosha is as American as apple pie. The killing of Black and Brown people by the state and it's racist vigilantes has been a permanent feature of our democracy. It is in our national DNA. As a proud Black man, I am tired of all the talk and demand real, substantial policies that will lead to the free abolishment of these racist systems."

robert-kraig“Our words are no longer enough. Our actions and deeds are how history will judge us in this moment,” said JoAnna Bautch, Movement Politics Director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Be sure you can say you did all you could to make sure this never happens again.”

“It is hard for us to believe that anyone other than a police officer would be able to avoid immediate arrest when such damning video evidence of a crime is available,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Jacob Blake should be with his family today, not fighting for his life in an intensive care unit, and prosecuting officers for his shooting is the start, not to the attainment of justice.”

Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2020 10:36
Sinicki Applauds Call for Special Session PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wisconsin Assembly Democrats   
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 09:52

robin-vos-is-safe-to-voteRepublicans who run the Legislature need to get to work.

MADISON - State Rep. Christine Sinicki issued this press statement Monday afternoon:

“I applaud Governor Evers for calling a special session next Monday, August 31st, to take up the bills Democrats drafted in early June. This package of bills would create accountability and transparency from Wisconsin law enforcement.

christine-sinicki“The people of Wisconsin have been waiting since June for the Republicans who run the Legislature to call us into session to take up these bills.

“Speaker Vos and Senator Fitzgerald should stop hiding and step up to require all their members to attend the special session next Monday.

“It is time for Vos and Fitzgerald to do their part in this crisis by taking up this urgently needed legislation.

“Vacation time is over. It’s time to do the work we were elected to do.”

Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2020 10:05
Special Session: We Don’t Need a Taskforce PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 09:36

kenosha-shooting-082320Erpenbach Urges GOP to Make Real Change in Special Session

West Point - In response to another incident involving Police and a Black Wisconsinite, Governor Evers has issued Executive Order #84 relating to a special session of the Legislature on the use of force by law enforcement. State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point), issued the following statement.

jon-erpenbach“We don’t need a task force. We need to roll up our sleeves, and do the work we were elected to do. We have a package of bills, ready to go since June. Let’s go to the floor August 31st and make real changes. The people of Wisconsin are demanding it.

“Many of the concepts in this package of bills are already the work of a task force convened years ago. And we certainly don’t need another report to highlight the glaring racial disparities that have given Wisconsin a bad name for far too long.

“Too many tragedies have resulted in too little action. We must do better to ensure Black Wisconsinites are treated equally in the eyes of the law and within our communities.”

Centennial Celebration of Women's Suffrage PDF Print E-mail
Written by GOV Press Wisconsin   
Friday, 21 August 2020 10:08

womens-march-dcMADISON — First Lady Kathy Evers delivered the Democratic Radio Address today on the centennial celebration of women's suffrage and the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The first lady chairs the Wisconsin 19th Amendment Centennial Celebration Committee.

Audio file of radio address.

Hello, Wisconsin, First Lady Kathy Evers here.

kathy-evers-first-lady-wiThis August, I am excited to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment and 100 years of women's suffrage.

As many of you may know, Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1919, and that milestone was reached after more than 70 years of constant effort by Wisconsinites and women across the nation.

However, it is important to recognize that the 19th Amendment was just the start and did not grant every woman the right to vote. Many people of color would wait another 45 years for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

But the history of the suffrage movement is fascinating, and it is as relevant today as ever. 

The final efforts to pass the 19th Amendment occurred during the 1918 pandemic that swept the world. Additionally, suffragists were the first group to picket the White House.

I encourage you to join me in celebrating the enactment of the 19th amendment on August 26th at noon by wearing white and ringing bells, just as suffragists did 100 years ago, and then I encourage you to exercise your right to vote that so many fought to secure by requesting your absentee ballot today at:

Thank you.

It’s Well-Past Time for Wisconsin to Expand Medicaid PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Friday, 21 August 2020 09:55

medicare-patientBottom line, far too many Wisconsinites are without coverage, making our state even more vulnerable to the threat at hand.

WEST POINT – In this month’s primary election, Missouri voted to expand Medicaid. The initiative that made its way onto the ballot will expand coverage to about 230,000 low-income residents, and was supported by over 53% of voters, making Missouri the 38th state, and the sixth Republican-led state, to do so. When given the chance to be heard, Missouri’s citizens said ‘yes’ to providing medical coverage to those who need it most – and it’s time for Wisconsin to follow-suit.

Despite the fact that an overwhelming 70% of Wisconsinites support expanding Medicaid, legislative Republicans have spent the last nine years playing politics and refusing to accept federal dollars that would extend coverage to tens of thousands of our states most vulnerable citizens. And Wisconsinites have been paying the price, literally. In this budget cycle alone, accepting Medicaid funding would’ve saved $324.5 million in state taxpayer money, and brought in over $1.6 billion in additional federal dollars for health care services that could benefit our struggling rural hospitals and clinics. Instead, our taxpayer money is going towards the expansion of Medicaid programs in other states like Illinois and New York.

jon-erpenbachWhile it’s clear that when it comes to crunching the numbers, our state is much better off accepting the Medicaid expansion money, there’s an even more compelling reason to do so. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. People are sick and dying, and we need to take action, now.

Since March, Wisconsin has seen more than 70,000 COVID-19 cases, leading to more than 1,000 deaths. And with workplaces shutting down or laying off employees as a result of this pandemic, thousands of people are losing medical coverage during the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. Not to mention all of the folks who fall into the coverage gap by not quite meeting income restrictions under our state’s current Medicaid policy – many of which, like grocery and transportation workers, are considered ‘essential,’ and are expected to face the threat regardless of their ability to fight the virus or afford the medical bills should they contract it.

Bottom line, far too many Wisconsinites are without coverage, making our state even more vulnerable to the threat at hand. And, if you ask me, if our system is failing us during such a clear time of need, it’s broken, and something needs to be done to fix it.

With Missouri voting to expand Medicaid, the people of America have made it clearer than ever – they do not support Republican agendas that put politics before the health of their fellow citizens. If this pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that we need to care for one another. And that starts with your legislature fighting for what’s best. I encourage you to call on your Republican representatives to do their jobs and act on legislation that would allow us to join the 38 other states that have expanded their Medicaid programs. Because every single person in Wisconsin deserves access to affordable healthcare. Especially during a global pandemic.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 August 2020 10:06
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