By Mark Smith, Oconto
Stores out of numerous products. Churches and schools closed. Yet nationwide, there are a million+ people stuck in jails today, many only because they can’t afford bail. Another million+ are in prisons. Add in caged immigrants and asylum seekers. 10 million+ American citizens cycle through revolving-door jails every year, bringing big money to government and business. This is unsustainable, particularly in a world preoccupied by the worst pandemic since 1918.
These caged prisoners cannot self-isolate. Basic hygiene is limited. Proper soap, water, disinfectant, and medical care are often unavailable. Institutional food with inadequate nutrition is daily fare for this captive group with generally poor health. Prisons and jails are notorious for spreading disease due to close proximity and poor conditions.
Wisconsin has some of the highest incarceration rates in the country and just recently, efforts were made to lock up even more people in a 21st century where no one, let alone American citizens, should be in overcrowded cages anywhere. Into this environment comes COVID-19.
It is time for compassionate release of and expedited parole hearings for the elderly, the infirm, and the nonviolent with ridiculously long sentences. Nonviolent individuals not found guilty of anything except being poor should not be jailed, period.
For the few incorrigibly violent, we need ready access to free communication methods, news sources, no-fee financial accounts, profit-free items, and fully-staffed, proper medical care with waived copays. Basically, we need to treat others as we would treat ourselves.
What would Jesus do?
Be a delegate to the 8th
Congressional District and State Democratic Party Conventions.
Our Conventions are where our Policy and Platform is
decided and where we elect our Regional and State Leadership.
This year the 8th CD Convention is to be held
just two days before the Presidential Primary. We expect some major speakers
though names are not finalized yet.
Sunday, April 5th;10:30am – 2:30pm
La Sure’s Hall;1570 Ripon Ln; Oshkosh, WI 54904
Registration opens at 10:00am. Convention convenes at 10:30am.
Pre-registration fee: $35, at the door: $40, students $10. (Includes lunch).
The Convention is being held in cooperation with the 6th CD. Winnebago County is in both Districts. Speakers will address a joint meeting. The business meetings will be in separate rooms in the same building
This year the State Convention is Friday Saturday June
12-13, 2020 at The Wilderness Resort, Wisconsin Dells. To reserve rooms at the
State Convention Hotel, call 1-800-867-9453 and ask about the Democratic Party
of Wisconsin 2020 State Convention room block.– Room block rate closes May 12 –.
Register to be a delegate from Brown County for this and/or
the State Convention using this form.
Your registration fee does not have to paid now but you get
a discount for advance payment at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2020.convention
As I mentioned in my update at the monthly meeting, in the month of February we have voted on nearly 300 bills during only three floor days in the span of just ten days. With all of that work, there are a few big projects that we have been able to get across the finish line in the Assembly with broad, bi-partisan support that will be wins for the 90th Assembly District and will bring major improvements to the environment as well as the economy of Green Bay. There is also one bad PFAs bill that was introduced by Assembly Republicans in the dead of the night that we need the Senate to vote against. If you care about these projects please you’re your state senator. We can’t afford to fall behind on fighting PFAs in Northeast WI.
Senate Bill 295 – Cole piles are an issue that has plagued downtown Green Bay for decades. Moving this bill through the Senate will be good for our environment and our local economy. SB295 would provide Green Bay with a harbor assistance grant of 1.5 million dollars in order to make improvements related to port expansion and relocation of coal piles. This funding would allow Green Bay to repair the aging dock walls, replace a bollard and be the largest port expansion on the Great Lakes in two generations with an estimated 200 million dollars in economic impact. After receiving bi-partisan support in the Assembly, and support from the City of Green Bay, this bill has been in a holding pattern in the Senate for three months.
Senate Bill 721 – Tourism is an economic driver in our community, creating important jobs and bringing in an estimated 5.7 million annual visitors. That has an incredible impact on our community with over a billion dollars of economic impact. This bill would provide the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitor Bureau with an interest free loan to complete the funding for the construction of a new visitor and education center. With countless stakeholders in this project and much to be gained, this bill has passed the Assembly and it is important that the Senate gets this bill scheduled for a vote so it can be sent to the Governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 559 – Protecting Wisconsin families from the harmful effects of PFAS should be at the top of everyone’s priorities in Wisconsin. Sadly, this bill does nothing but hurt Wisconsin communities where PFAS are an extremely concerning issue. Rather than bringing the preferred CLEAR Act to a vote, or even the compromise bills AB842 and AB843, Assembly Republicans attached a poison pill amendment. With the amendment added this bill will significantly undermine the department of health and add redundancy in the DNR’s process. The CLEAR Act would have provided funding that they need for more testing and staff, and tools for remediation and protecting local communities. We also need to match the aggressive standards for PFAs that have been put forward by other states. We cannot move backwards on this emerging contaminant PFAs and I urge you to call your Senator and tell them to vote NO.