Tuesday October 19, 2021

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Wis Democracy Campaign - Article V Folly

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 05 March 2021
in Wisconsin

assembly-wi-robin-vosMADISON - This week, Republicans in the State Legislature introduced a bill, as they have before, to call for a Convention of the States, which is often referred to as an “Article V” way to amend the U.S. Constitution.

It’s a bad idea, for several reasons, which I outlined in testimony that I emailed to the Assembly Committee on the Constitution and Ethics:

Wisconsin GOP’s Misguided Move on Amending the Constitution

This week, we noted that Rebecca Kleefisch has been tossing a lot of money around to candidates here, as she prepares to run for governor. You can read about that here:

Former Lt. Gov’s New PAC Doled Out $121K to the State GOP, Legislative Candidates

matt-rothschild-2018And we’re continuing to meet with our partners in the Wisconsin Voting Rights Coalition to call attention to the nasty voter suppression bills that some GOP legislators are circulating. The Cap Times published my article on this, as you can see:

Matthew Rothschild: Say no to voter suppression bills

I hope you enjoy the nice weather this weekend!

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Building Momentum to Vaccinate More Wisconsinites

Posted by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, Senator District 31 (D - Eau Claire)
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 03 March 2021
in Wisconsin

covid-19-vaccination-65Sen. Smith writes about Governor Evers’ Administration’s ongoing efforts to get more Wisconsinites vaccinated.


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in one way or another now for almost a year. It’s been a tough year for so many reasons; we’ve been disconnected from people in our lives, and sadly many Americans are burdened with grief over the loss of a loved one. In February, we surpassed a grim milestone that many of us never thought was possible just twelve months ago: 500,000 of our fellow Americans are dead from COVID-19.

The staggering number of lives lost to COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on our communities. Here in Wisconsin, we lost more than 6,000 of our neighbors and community members. In contrast to these tragic statistics, the number of vaccines administered thus far provides hope to ending this nightmare.

Last month, Governor Tony Evers announced Wisconsin administered more than one million vaccines since the state began receiving doses in December 2020. The vaccine is a critical tool in our fight against COVID-19. Fortunately, there’s been a downward trend in the number of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Wisconsin since the vaccine became available. Governor Evers’ Administration’s continued efforts in building statewide partnerships and developing public health infrastructure made this vaccine achievement possible.

Wisconsin is currently one of the top-ranked states for administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible populations. In fact, vaccine providers in Wisconsin’s western region leads the state’s effort to vaccinate the public. More than 50% of Wisconsinites over the age of 65 have been vaccinated. This is incredible progress. As the Federal Drug Administration approves more vaccines and more doses become available, more eligible populations will be able to get vaccinated.

Last week, Governor Evers and the Department of Health Services announced new groups that are eligible to receive the vaccine. On March 1st, vaccine eligibility was extended to education and child care staff, some public-facing essential workers, and facility staff and residents in congregate living settings. The groups previously eligible for a vaccine – including frontline health care personnel, long-term care facility residents and adults sixty-five and older – will still be prioritized over this new group.

Now that more populations are becoming eligible to receive the vaccine, DHS launched a COVID-19 scheduling website on March 1st. This website will update residents for knowing when and where they can get vaccinated and how to schedule an appointment.

Last week, Governor Evers made an exciting announcement about the launch of four new community vaccination clinics in the state. Currently Wisconsin has one community vaccination clinic in Rock County to help get shots in people’s arms as quickly as possible. The new community vaccination clinics will be located in La Crosse, Racine, and Marathon Counties, with the last clinic split between Douglas and Barron Counties. These clinics are expected to open within the next two months.

jeff-smithWe’re all anxious to return to our normal lives; it may be frustrating when vaccines aren’t immediately available for everyone. It’s never easy to wait for something so life-changing, like the COVID-19 vaccine. But the only way to ensure safe and proper distribution is through an organized effort like we’re seeing. Imagine the chaos if it wasn’t organized. After all, the goal of vaccinating a nation is immense when you consider the manufacturing, distribution and scheduling of appointments for over 300 million citizens.

When you become eligible, make an appointment. I’m over the age of sixty-five and am scheduled to receive my second shot. But I know life will still not be back to normal until we reach herd immunity. We must still wear masks and follow other public health precautions so we limit our risk of infection and prevent the spread to others. Momentum is building and more vaccines are coming.

Sometimes it takes a calamity, like this pandemic, to make us stronger and pull us together. I appreciate all of you even more. I’ll be so happy to be close once again when we’re all safer thanks to the diligent work of the scientists and frontline healthcare workers who have come through for all of us.

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Wis Democracy Campaign - Stop Voter Suppression in Wis!

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 26 February 2021
in Wisconsin

assembly-wi-robin-vosMADISON - This week, some GOP members of the State Legislature have been circulating a raft of ugly voter suppression bills. Here’s what we posted on them:

Say No to Voter Suppression Bills

I hope you’ll contact your legislators and urge them not to back these anti-democracy bills!

For our part, we’re doing all we can to oppose them. I’ve written op-eds for the Cap Times, the Wisconsin Examiner, and Urban Milwaukee about them, and I’ve been interviewed on WORT and the Devil’s Advocates. Plus, we’re working with our partners in the Wisconsin Voting Rights Coalition to get the word out.

This week, we also filed four formal complaints with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission when we discovered that the following committees accepted donations from corporations in excess of the $12,000 statutory limit:

-- Republican Assembly Campaign Committee
-- Committee to Elect a Republican Senate
-- Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee
-- Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Here’s our report on that:

Legislative Campaign Committees, State Party Accept Excessive Contributions

And if you want to find out which corporations gave the most to the legislative campaign committees and political parties in Wisconsin, we dug that out for you, too:

State Parties, Legislative Campaign Committees Accepted $1.6M in Corporate Contributions in 2020

As you can see, It’s been a busy week for us!

matt-rothschild-2018I hope you have a nice weekend.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

****

P.S. The Big Share online day of giving kicks off this year at 6:00PM, Monday, March 1, and goes through midnight on March 2! Please show your support for our good work by giving online here during those hours. Note that your gift may be doubled with matching funds from our Board of Directors when you give between the hours of 10:00-11:00AM on Tuesday, Please share The Big Share opportunity with your friends and colleagues! Learn more here--The Big Share. Thanks!

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Proven “Pot-ential” for Rural Communities

Posted by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, Senator District 31 (D - Eau Claire)
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 24 February 2021
in Wisconsin

marijuana-hemp-dairy-farmers-wiSen. Jeff Smith writes about Governor Evers’ budget proposal to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin, sharing information about the positive impact it could have on the state’s economy and agricultural industry.


MADISON - Governor Evers’ 2021-23 budget will enable Wisconsinites to bounce back from the pandemic stronger than ever. His budget includes initiatives, like marijuana legalization, that will get our economy back on track and create new opportunities for our rural communities.

My colleague, Senator Agard (D – Madison) often says the most dangerous thing about marijuana is that it’s illegal. I agree; marijuana prohibition does more harm than good. Marijuana legalization will create a safe product for consumers, while opening doors for farmers and entrepreneurs to get involved in a controlled market.

Wisconsin is already lagging behind other states–even our own neighboring states–to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. Thirty-six states already legalized medical marijuana. Fifteen states, including Michigan and Illinois, already legalized recreational marijuana for adults. Minnesota’s top lawmakers and Governor are pushing for legalization too.

Wisconsin should take advantage of the same opportunities our neighbors have by legalizing marijuana. In doing so, we can plant the seeds, so our state can grow to be more equitable and successful. Marijuana legalization will deliver a better future for Wisconsin.

Marijuana legalization would have a positive impact on Wisconsin’s economy and help us recover from COVID-19. Governor Evers’ budget taxes marijuana similar to the way alcohol is taxed. This policy would create new business opportunities and generate an estimated $165 million in revenue. Almost $80 million from marijuana sales would be reinvested throughout the state through the Community Reinvestment Fund. The Fund would even direct $34 million to sparsity aid to support our small, rural schools.

marijuana-wi-presentMarijuana could be a boon to Wisconsin’s agriculture industry. Our greatest weakness in agriculture is the average age of farmers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age of farmers nationally is 57.5. Young people are saddled with student loan debt, they need broadband to stay connected and raise their families and land prices are through the roof. It’s hard for our kids and grandkids to even consider farming without offering some hope to make a living.

Marijuana legalization offers hope to a beleaguered group of youngsters who want to come home to run the family farm. According to the U.S. Agriculture Census, a small but significant rise in young farmers preceded the 2018 Hemp Bill passage. Young farmers are cultivating hemp and can cultivate marijuana while also milking cows, baling hay or fixing up those old barns throughout the countryside. We need new farmers and marijuana could draw them in.

Our neighboring states are generating new income for farmers. In 2020, Illinois sold $1 billion worth of marijuana and Michigan sold $440 million. Wisconsin farmers can grow high-quality safe products for consumers while accessing a new market of opportunity.

Marijuana legalization has broad support across the state. According to a Marquette Law School Poll done in 2019, 60% of Wisconsinites support marijuana legalization. When it comes to medical marijuana legalization, an overwhelming 83% of Wisconsinites are supportive.

Medical marijuana legalization will ensure there is a safe product available for individuals with chronic pain or other illness. Medical marijuana has shown promising results to manage a variety of debilitating symptoms for diseases, such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Crohn’s or cancer. Medical marijuana is considered a great alternative for opiates. In fact, studies have indicated that states that legalized medical marijuana have seen a reduction in opioid-related deaths.

jeff-smithI’ve never had the desire to use marijuana, but I do recognize how it has been vilified for decades, often considered more dangerous than alcohol. Like alcohol prohibition, laws against marijuana possession have led to an overburdened justice system and unregulated market.

There’s much to be said about the ethics of marijuana legalization. Medical marijuana seems like an easy choice to ease others’ suffering. It’s almost certainly safer to regulate the manufacture, distribution and sale of recreational marijuana, than the unknown origins of what many are using now.

Times and attitudes are changing. But still, the most dangerous thing about marijuana right now is that it’s illegal. Wisconsin needs to catch up to our neighboring states and create a safe market for marijuana. This plan makes sense – it’s about time Wisconsin acts on it.

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A Call to Action

Posted by Jon Erpenbach Press. State Senator 27th District
Jon Erpenbach Press. State Senator 27th District
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legisla
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 20 February 2021
in Wisconsin

coronavirus-small-businessWe must have a strong sense of community and watch out for our neighbors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, says Madison area Senator. Wear a mask to keep our communities safe and schools open.


MADISON - This past year has been tumultuous to say the least. We’ve missed out on time spent with friends and family, community events, festivals, and other social gatherings. It’s been difficult and challenging, but we have been resilient. While the vaccine offers a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, we still must work together to avoid more preventable deaths from COVID-19.

That’s the key. Working together as a team to continue wearing masks and social distancing to curb the spread of this virus.

For the last year, Governor Evers and the Department of Health Services have listened to the advice of health and science experts to pragmatically and calmly guide our state through this public health crisis.

What was he met with? Constant Republican obstruction and lawsuits to undermine those efforts. Think about that for a second. Republicans sued the Governor over something that has been scientifically proven to save lives. All while having no plan of their own to protect the health and wellbeing of Wisconsinites.

jon-erpenbach-2021We need to be on the same team when it comes to fighting this virus. But at the end of the day, we have to ask, what team are the Republicans playing for?

Almost a full year later and the Republican led legislature is pushing for legislation that prioritizes political interests rather than protect communities from the virus. Over 6,000 Wisconsinites have died, there’s a more contagious variant of the virus in the state and yet Republicans are fixated on eliminating a safety measure that could save lives.

Their actions will only prolong this crisis and lead to more preventable deaths.

Here in Wisconsin, we have a strong sense of community and watching out for our neighbors and this moment is a call to action. Now more than ever, we can and must wear a mask to keep our communities, schools and businesses a safe place to be and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Let’s all do our part to beat this. Mask up, Wisconsin.

****

Jon Erpenbach represents the 27th Senate District which covers Sauk, Dane, Iowa, Columbia and Green County.

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