Dear WISDOM Leaders and Friends:
One of the great things about working with all the WISDOM groups around the state is that I get to work with a wonderful variety of dedicated, faithful people who are willing to dig in to the hard work of making our communities more compassionate and fair places for everyone. I am grateful for all of you.
We have a lot of work in store for us in 2016. Some of it will begin right away. Two bills have been introduced in the state legislature that will require a response:
* AB210 is a bill that would give Wisconsin counties the ability to hold a referendum and to increase their local sales tax by .5% in order to pay for road and street repair. The problem is that it does NOT allow for counties to use any of that new revenue for Transit. Many people depend on the bus for work, for Church, for doctor visits, for grocery shopping, and more, and they should benefit from this as much as people who drive cars. WISDOM members will need to come together to call on the legislature to change the bill so that a fair share of revenue goes to maintain or improve bus service.
* The so-called “Impound Bill” needs to be opposed. It calls for the cars of people driving without a license to be taken away. To retrieve the car, the person would have to pay an additional fine. The Impound Bill is supposedly to ensure that repeat drunk drivers cannot stay on the road. The way it is written, however, would do far more to hurt poor people and immigrants. Most people getting stopped for driving without a license have either lost their license because they could not afford to pay a previous fine, or they are undocumented workers who are prohibited from getting a drivers’ license. In either case, the majority are hard-working people who need to drive to get to work. Rather than charge them an extra fine, we need to establish Drivers’ Cards for undocumented people as other states have done and we need to step up programs that help people in poverty to get their licenses restored.
These are just two of the major things WISDOM will deal with in the New Year. Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce the racial disparities, and overall to reduce our state’s obscene rate of incarceration. Stay tuned for lots of ways to help with that in 2016.
If you are able to make an end-of-year donation to any of our local WISDOM organizations, i.e. MICAH, RIC, CUSH, SOPHIA, ESTHER, JOSHUA, JOB, AMOS, JONAH, NAOMI, MOSES, RUTH, it will be greatly appreciated. When our local organizations are strong, WISDOM is strong. If you want to send a donation, let us know which local community or issue you want it used in. You can do so electronically on our website, www.ROCwisconsin.org, or mail it to the address below.
Together, we will continue to work for the kind of state we can be proud to live in.
David Liners, WISDOM State Director
3195 S. Superior Street, Suite 313
Milwaukee, WI 53207
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