Tuesday June 18, 2019

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Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64

Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64

Representative Peter Barca is a lifelong citizen of Kenosha and Somers. He currently represents much of the City of Kenosha and portions of the City of Racine, Town of Somers, Village of Mount Pleasant, and Village of Elmwood Park as the State Representative from the 64th Assembly District.
He had previously served as Majority Caucus Chairman and as Co-Chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Representative Peter Barca. currently Minority Leader from Assembly District 64 (D - Kenosha). Elected to Assembly 1984-1992 (resigned 6/8/93 upon election to U.S. Congress); reelected since 2008. Minority Leader 2015, 2013, 2011; Majority Caucus Chairperson 2009, 1993, 1991. Member of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Opioid Treatment Bills Don’t Go Far Enough

Posted by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Representative Peter Barca is a lifelong citizen of Kenosha and Somers. He curre
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 06 April 2017
in Wisconsin

drugaddicts-youngAssembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca speaks out on the bills debated Tuesday aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic.


MADISON - I applaud the bipartisan effort that led to the acknowledgment of this serious epidemic, but these bills could have a much greater impact to positively affect so many lives. In order to help Wisconsinites struggling with opioid addiction, we need to increase funding for treatment programs and expand BadgerCare.

Instead of working with Assembly Democrats, Republicans tried to shut down the debate. It’s time to put people over politics. We need to follow the example of 31 other states and accept the BadgerCare expansion. We need a more complete and aggressive approach to this devastating epidemic.

Medicaid, known as BadgerCare in Wisconsin, is the most significant source of coverage and funding for critical substance abuse and prevention treatment. In the 31 states that have chosen to expand Medicaid, 1.2 million individuals with substance abuse disorders have gained access to coverage. By failing to expand BadgerCare, Wisconsin taxpayers are losing out on access to opioid treatment and resources paid for with federal money.

By June 30, 2019, Wisconsin taxpayers will have lost more than $1 billion. We need to follow the example of every one of our neighboring states— Republican and Democrat—and expand Medicaid. Just this past week, we saw the legislature of Kansas vote on a bipartisan basis to accept the federal Medicaid fund—we’d like Wisconsin Republicans to do the same.

****

Olivia Hwang contributed this story. Rep. Barca spoke about legislation aimed at the opioid epidemic on Facebook Live; the video is available here: https://www.facebook.com/RepPeterBarca/videos/1514005181956851/.

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Rep. Peter Barca on 'Permitless Carry' Bill

Posted by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Representative Peter Barca is a lifelong citizen of Kenosha and Somers. He curre
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 30 March 2017
in Wisconsin

guns-stopvAssembly Democratic Leader says allowing individuals to carry firearms without proper safety training, especially on school grounds, goes too far.


MADISON - Wisconsin Republican legislators have proposed a bill to allow individuals to carry firearms without proper safety training.

The authors of the bill put forward extreme provisions that go beyond even constitutional carry by allowing guns in schools, secure mental health facilities and police stations, while placing the burden on these facilities to protect citizens. This will also create confusion and a lack of clarity on where weapons are allowed, which is troubling.

Law enforcement, school administrators, Democrats and Republicans have been long opposed to allowing guns on school grounds, yet this bill changes that safety presumption. Additionally, the authors have some explaining to do as to why they reduce the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor for illegally carrying in a school zone. This is a serious legal breach that should be treated as such.

Finally, when concealed carry was enacted, there was a clear bipartisan emphasis on proper training to make sure those with a concealed carry permit to understand the gravity and responsibilities of carrying a gun, especially in high risk facilities. Allowing anyone to carry a loaded, concealed firearm without a background check or safety training has implications almost certainly do not fully understand.

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Walker State of the State Out of Touch with Wisconsin Reality

Posted by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Representative Peter Barca is a lifelong citizen of Kenosha and Somers. He curre
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 11 January 2017
in Wisconsin

scott-walkerAs the Governor begins his seventh year and delivers his rosy State of the State, the majority of Wisconsin believes we are on the wrong track.


MADISON – Six years ago, Gov. Walker spoke before an audience in the Assembly chamber and made a lot of promises. He said Wisconsin would lead the economic recovery. He said we would stop kicking the can down the road on funding transportation. He said we can’t rely on short term fixes, and we can’t borrow excessively anymore.

Yet here we are, as the Governor begins his seventh year and delivers the State of the State, we have a $700 million budget deficit, an economy that is lagging significantly behind the rest of the nation, the 3rd worst roads and the most diminished middle class in the nation.

The primary driver for a better workforce would be supporting our world-class education system. K-12, technical colleges and the UW system are the pride of our state—despite relentless attacks and budget cuts administered by Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature. We need quality education and bold, vibrant worker training.

school-closedIt’s clear education is not a priority when the tech schools have lost $203 million in state aid, last session alone the UW system was gutted by a quarter of a billion dollars, and k-12 schools have lost $1 billion in state aid since 2011. The governor also discussed college affordability, how he froze tuition without properly funding the university, and yet there is no relief for the skyrocketing student loan debt most Wisconsin students graduate with, despite other states allowing for refinancing of debt, including Minnesota.

If we want to fill jobs and have skilled workers, funding education, worker training and making higher education accessible for all is the most basic thing we can do, and Democrats have drafted bills to take exactly those steps.

The governor indicated he will continue to kick the can down the pothole-filled road with no sustainable, long-term plan to fund transportation in sight. Instead, we continue to put more money on the credit card, delay projects that drive up costs, all the while commuters are paying the cost of deteriorating roads. Wisconsin drivers are now paying $6 billion a year due to congestion-related delays, crashes and vehicle repairs.

Of course, with our roads and bridges suffering alongside our state’s middle class, the governor does have one solution—get rid of prevailing wage. The Fiscal Bureau has already said this wouldn’t save us money, and it would punish our road and bridge construction workers who are completing each mile of roadwork 43% more cost-effectively than the national average.

The governor has bragged about his tax policies, while neglecting to mention that his cuts have largely benefitted the wealthy of our state. Not to mention, many local schools have had to pass referendums to make up for state aid shortfall—this unfairly places the tax burden on the backs of Wisconsin families and small businesses who are struggling to make ends meet.

Democrats in the Assembly will continue to put forward bold ideas that have been proven effective in order to fund our schools, fix our roads and rebuild the middle class. This is why the majority of Wisconsin believes we are on the wrong track. They deserve better.

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Walker Higher Ed Bills are Election-Year Smoke and Mirrors

Posted by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Representative Peter Barca is a lifelong citizen of Kenosha and Somers. He curre
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 29 March 2016
in Wisconsin

loanMADISON, WI - On Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed into law four higher education bills, Assembly Bills 740, 741, 742 and 744, calling the package 'college affordability bills' .

These Republican bills do nothing to address the burden of student debt and the people of Wisconsin shouldn’t fall for the Republicans’ lack of action with these modest election-year smoke and mirrors.

These anemic Republican bills do not provide a single ounce of relief for the roughly one million Wisconsinites burdened by the $19 billion student debt crisis. Republicans did not even pass the most significant of these weak bills which at least would have provided a tax break to a small percentage of those with significant debt.

Democrats provided Republicans ample opportunity to support our ‘Higher Ed, Lower Debt’ bill which is a real solution to providing relief to Wisconsinites with student loan debt. The Democratic proposal allows borrowers to refinance their loans, just like a car loan or mortgage. It is a common sense, popular plan that would grow Wisconsin’s economy and unfortunately Republicans voted against this proposal several times this session.

Gov. Walker and Republicans also cannot hide from their record of gutting higher education in Wisconsin. Since they came into power, the UW System has lost $795 million in state aid* and the technical college system has lost $203 million in state aid.

(*excluding debt service. Source: Jan. 2016 Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo)

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State of the State - 'nothing more than Band-Aid proposals'

Posted by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Representative Peter Barca is a lifelong citizen of Kenosha and Somers. He curre
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 19 January 2016
in Wisconsin

scott-walkerMADISON - During his speech tonight, Governor Walker offered nothing more than Band-Aid proposals that are anemic and weak compared to the significant challenges we face.

The numbers are staggering.

In 2015, roughly 10,000 hardworking Wisconsinites received layoff notices, the highest single-year total since the governor took office. Wisconsin still ranks in the bottom third for job growth and worst in the Midwest, and our middle class is shrinking faster than any other state. We rank third-worst for student loan debt and our roads are also third-worst in the nation. And Republicans have cut $1 billion from public K-12 schools since 2010.

Wisconsin should be a leader; however, under Republicans we are falling behind. When I travel the state I hear people say we should invest in our public schools, level the playing field for the middle class, promote good-paying jobs and invest in our roads and bridges.

The truth is the State of our State is being neglected by Republicans putting their own needs above the needs of everyday Wisconsinites.

Last year, legislative Republicans turned their backs on Wisconsin’s interests in order to help Governor Walker in his failed run for president.

The Republican agenda included:

  • Shifting $800 million from public schools to unaccountable private voucher schools over the next decade;
  • A quarter billion dollar cut to our world-class university system;
  • Driving down wages for hardworking families;
  • And rejecting federal funding that would have meant health care coverage for tens of thousands more of our citizens.

This past fall, Republicans opened Wisconsin for corruption with an agenda designed to consolidate their own power and enrich the special interest groups bankrolling their campaigns. Perhaps most egregious was their late-night, secretive effort to dismantle our open records laws so they could hide their actions from the public.

It is clear after that Republicans cannot be trusted to do the right thing for the people of Wisconsin.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans at this juncture could not be clearer. My Democratic colleagues and I have made growing our economy and rebuilding the middle class our top priorities.

Our “Economic Opportunity Agenda” would help create good-paying jobs, close the skills gap by connecting workers with available jobs, increase wages and make us more competitive in a global economy. Our “Bring Back the Middle Class” package would boost retirement security and provide relief from high child-care costs and student debt.

Today alone on the Assembly floor, Democrats voted for proposals that would ensure significant investments in our public schools and affordable health care coverage for tens of thousands of Wisconsinites that, incidentally, would save Wisconsin taxpayers more than $300 million over the next two years. Democrats also voted for much-needed relief for more than a million student loan borrowers and equal pay protections for women in the workplace.

Sadly, Republicans rejected every single one of these bills.

Yet even in the face of Republicans’ inaction on these important issues and their betrayal of your trust and your interests, I believe the State of the People of Wisconsin is resilient.

I am inspired every day by the hardworking men and women who make up the fabric of our state. Wisconsin is in need of bold action for our workers and middle-class families and Democrats are ready to lead.

As Republicans continue to stack the deck against ordinary Wisconsinites and obscure their harmful agenda with election-year distractions, Democrats are focused on leveling the playing field and rebuilding the middle class the Republican agenda has hurt so deeply.

You can trust Democrats to restore opportunity and grow wages for ordinary, hardworking people.

You can trust Democrats to work to rebuild a strong middle class.

You can trust Democrats to grow an economy that works for everyone, not just a privileged few.

While legislative Republicans pursue an agenda focused on helping special interests and their own self-interests, legislative Democrats will continue to advocate for the people’s agenda in 2016 and beyond – but we need your help.

One of the proudest moments of 2015 was when you rose up and demanded the Republicans end their assault on open records. Your hard work and advocacy forced Republicans to back down, and you can do it again.

I encourage you to talk to your neighbors, friends and families about the direction our state is headed. Become engaged and make your voice heard. Together, we can put Wisconsin back on the right track and make sure the State of our State is stronger for all our citizens.

Thank you for watching, and as always, my fellow Wisconsinites, Forward!

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