Reps in the News: Evers Calls for Cap to School Voucher Program

Governor Tony Evers

Gov. Evers is calling for a cap on the number of students who can use publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools. Under the proposal, which will be included in the governor’s budget proposal this week, the number of available vouchers would be frozen beginning in 2021. There are currently about 28,000 students using vouchers in Milwaukee and 10,000 in other parts of the state combined. Roughly 600 schools participate in the program, which has been growing.
Vouchers are used when parents choose to send their child to a private school rather than their local public school.
According to the governor’s office, the program grew 8.7 percent in the 2018-19 school year, while costs grew about 12 percent. The total cost is roughly $300 million.  
In addition to capping vouchers, his plan would block the creation of new charter schools through 2023 and create new minimum standards for teacher licensing and school accreditation for private schools.
Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin, called the governor’s proposal a “political statement.”
“This isn’t a decision that’s based on any academic outcome or educational improvement for kids,” Bender said.
The plan is part of the governor’s $1.4 billion K-12 education budget, which will include major spending increases for special education, mental-health services and early-childhood development.

Source:  Wisconsin Public Radio

Representative Mike Gallagher

Representatives Gallagher and Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Advancing Medical Resident Training in Community Hospitals Act, a bill that would amend an outdated Medicare rule limiting the funding under the Graduate Medical Education program for medical residencies in the state, which will expand opportunity for residency training in community and rural hospitals.

“This bill is aimed at addressing something we’ve known for a long time – that rural areas like northeast Wisconsin need more doctors,” Gallagher said. By offering additional medical-resident opportunities, more doctors will continue to work locally upon completion of their training. When we allow our community hospitals to better train and retain the next generation of physicians, we help strengthen our health care and our community.”

The Advancing Medical Resident Training in Community Hospitals Act is co-sponsored by the entire bipartisan Wisconsin delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives and has the backing of several Wisconsin health-care organizations.

Source:  Gallagher press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of her Senate colleagues in urging Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Ajit Pai to create a public-feedback mechanism that would allow consumers and states to help inform broadband-coverage maps and report any lack of broadband access to the FCC.

The Senators write, “While we are glad the FCC is trying to address some of the issues with its mapping through the ongoing Form 477 proceeding, this alone will not solve everything. As long as we continue to rely solely on carrier-reported Form 477 data, we will never have a complete picture that accurately depicts the real-world experiences of Americans.”

They continue, “We are not suggesting that crowd-sourced data is perfect and that it alone will be enough to fix the greater challenges with broadband mapping, but it is an important tool we should have in the toolbox. We believe the creation of a public-feedback mechanism is feasible and would be a critical first step toward creating more reliable and accurate broadband maps.”

Source:  Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

After voting in favor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – legislation to protect newborns who are born alive after botched abortions – Sen. Johnson said: “More than a million Americans have fought and died for our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today’s vote to protect a baby born alive is an unfortunate reminder that we will need to keep fighting for those rights, and in this case, for the most basic of those rights: life.”

Source:  Johnson press release

President Donald Trump

The president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified Wednesday that Donald Trump directed him to “threaten” Trump’s high school, colleges and the College Board to not release his educational records.

“When I say con man, I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores,” Cohen told the House Oversight Committee during a public hearing.

Cohen provided the committee with copies of a letter he said he sent at Trump’s direction “threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission.”

In a copy of a letter Cohen gave to the committee and that CNN obtained, Cohen wrote in May 2015 to Fordham University, where Trump studied before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. In the letter, Cohen notes that “several media outlets have asked for the release” of Trump’s records and that they turned them down.