Recently State Sen. Lena Taylor tried—to no avail—to delay action on a bill that will have grave consequences on our community, especially those who have felony convictions in their past or who have been released from prison, are on parole and searching for a job.
The senator tried to pass a motion in the senate to require the Committee on Labor, Public Safety and Urban Affairs to hold a second hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 207, which will allow a business to bar or fire an individual who has been convicted of a felony.
But, as noted in an article that ran in the Oct. 26, 2011 edition of the MCJ, the motion failed, with the majority of Republican senators voting against it. This defeat denies the Milwaukee community a chance to learn about the bill and speak out in opposition to it.
Taylor noted in the MCJ article the proposed legislation would overturn a large portion of Wisconsin’s non-discrimination statutes.
A previous hearing on the bill was held in Madison on October 24.
The proposed bill—if passed—will make it virtually impossible for African Americans—especially our males (nearly 50% of whom are unemployed already)—to obtain gainful employment if they have a conviction. Anyone can tell you that employment is a major component to a successful reentry into society after prison and prevents recidivism.
Wisconsin is second in the nation for incarceration of African Americans. We believe SB 207 will push us to the unenviable position of number one!
We urge you to contact state Sen. Van Wanggard of Racine, the chair of the Labor, Public Safety and Urban Affairs Committee, and voice your opposition to the bill. Tell him of the consequences such a law would have on our community and that he should hold another public hearing IN Milwaukee and IN the community so our people—the ones who will be adversely impacted by this proposal, can be heard.
You can contact Sen. Wanggard at (866)-615-7510. Or you can email the senator at [email protected] You can also call the legislative hotline at (608)-266-9960. The toll-free number 1-800-362-9472.
We cannot stress enough the importance of your action on this draconian legislation, which will do irrevocable damage to our efforts to turn our condition in Milwaukee around as it relates to our people obtaining and retaining employment, as well as reconnecting families, which is integral to reviving our neighborhoods and pushing our community to true and total prosperity.
Call and voice your opposition. Sen. Taylor and her pro-community colleagues in the state Senate need your voices to be heard if they are to have any success defeating SB 207.