The public is cynical of a system where a criminal is sentenced to 20 years in prison but is out in five. Truth in sentencing is plain old common sense. It abolishes parole, eliminates mandatory release and replaces time off for good behavior with more time in for bad behavior. It gives our elected judges sole authority to determine when a criminal will get out of prison.
It is beyond me why anyone would oppose such a common sense reform to a complicated justice system that is breeding cynicism in the people.
So enough with the silly excuses and political gamesmanship. Get truth in sentencing passed!
If truth in sentencing is not on my desk by the end of this legislative session, I will call you back into session in April until you get the job done.
As we provide for the health of our families, we must look forever forward at the health needs of our people.
This is why we created a landmark women's health initiative, expanded the Community Options Program for our seniors by another 2,000 slots, and developed BadgerCare for uninsured working families.
Badger Care will help 50,000 working families -- especially mothers raising their children alone - access the state's top-notch health care system.
Yet, as our population ages, a growing concern for many families is how they will be able to afford the care of their parents while they provide for the education and growth of their own children.
Perhaps our greatest health care challenge right now is long-term care, as scientific advances help people live longer and our baby boomers move into retirement.
Between 1960 and 1990, the number of people age 85 and older grew 10 times faster each year than the population as a whole. And by the year 2010, we expect this segment of seniors to grow another 60 percent.
As you can see, our state's elderly and disabled population is growing faster than our available resources.
I know the people of Wisconsin are concerned about how they will care for their parents in old age. We want to give our parents the same loving care they gave us as children, but how do we afford it? And where do we get it?
The current long-term system is intimidating, complex and sterile. There are 40 ways to access the system, people don't know how to get the appropriate care because it's so complicated, and the concerns of families are often ignored.
The greatest hope of our families is for a compassionate system of high quality choices so they can give their parents the very best care possible.
Tonight, we unveil a revolutionary new program to meet the needs of our aging and ease the worries of their children. We call it Family Care - an idea whose ambition and scope is even greater than W-2.
Family Care will touch the lives of more than 1 million Wisconsin citizens - 10 times as many families who were on welfare when we began reforming that system.
It will combine our long-term care programs into one system to provide the maximum range of care options for seniors and disabled. It is built upon consumer choice and one-stop shopping for services.
Family Care will develop for every person a plan of supportive care tailored to meet his or her specific needs and desires. Families will turn to one place for professional help in determining the best services for their loved ones and choosing the best service providers. This comprehensive service will be provided with full input from the family.
Financial support will follow people to the best place for them, whether it's in their own home, an assisted living apartment or a nursing home. By making the system more efficient, we make it more affordable as well. Family Care will not strain the family budget.
To help keep living at home a viable and affordable option, we seek tonight to expand the Community Options Program by another $10 million. We have already quadrupled the number of COP slots under my administration and we're doing even more.
Family Care gives families security, peace of mind and hope for the future. It will set the standard for the nation, providing people like Dorothy Spaulding with the high quality care we expect in Wisconsin.
Dorothy has been in a wheelchair for 20 years and joined the COP program after her husband passed away nine years ago.
COP helped Dorothy remain active in her community, participating in church activities and pursuing her art interests. And holidays are still celebrated at grandma's house, something that wouldn't have been possible without the COP program.
Dorothy Spaulding is joined tonight by two daughters, her granddaughter and two great-granddaughters. Four generations of women who symbolize why we must build today the long-term care system of tomorrow. Thank you Dorothy and best wishes.
Our health care plans must meet the needs of the disabled as well. You have heard me say often that every person in this state is capable of contributing something to society.
Yet only 1 percent of our disabled leave public assistance for the workforce even though most are very much able to contribute.
The reason: Fear of losing their health and long-term care benefits.
Tonight, we remove this barrier to work by proposing a demonstration project in five communities that guarantees Medicaid and Medicare coverage to the disabled regardless of their earnings in the private sector.
And we expand our innovative Wheelchair Recycling program, which repairs used or broken wheelchairs and distributes them to those in need.
S408 We are wasting too much talent by allowing legitimate fears over health care to keep the disabled out of the workforce. Give the disabled their freedom by protecting their health.
Tonight, we pursue the Wisconsin dream for our children and ourselves. Our future depends on helping our children grow to be the most successful, well-educated and healthy adults in the history of our state.
But meeting the dreams of the youth of Wisconsin can't happen if we don't work together.
Cooperation is most critical if we are to pass a meaningful campaign finance reform package and help restore public confidence in the electoral process. The biggest reason campaign finance reform continues to fail across the country is that both parties use it to get a leg up on the opposition.
Therefore, common sense says the only way we're going to achieve real reform is if a proposal is developed by both parties with independent leadership. And we have just such a plan ready and waiting to go.
Professor Don Kettl, a national expert on campaign finances at the University of Wisconsin, developed this plan with equal input from Democrats and Republicans. Don is with us tonight.
This is the only bipartisan campaign finance reform plan in the state -- the only one.
The package of 54 reforms limits special interest spending, imposes spending caps, requires greater public reporting by candidates, improves public access to campaign records, and bolsters the authority of the State Elections Board.
I strongly urge the Legislature to promptly pass the Kettl Commission package so I can sign it into law before this important election season begins.
The Kettl Report is the compromise.
In the first State of the State Address 150 years ago, Governor Dewey talked about the hopes and dreams of the ordinary men and women who founded this great state. He said:
"Wisconsin possesses the natural elements, fostered by a judicious system of legislation, to become one of the most populous and prosperous states of the American Union…..The course of the state of Wisconsin must be onward, until she ranks among the first of the states of the great West."
Governor Dewey would be proud tonight, for Wisconsin is not only the greatest state in the West, she is the greatest state in the nation.
During our first 150 years, Wisconsin was the first state to end welfare, insure the working poor, eliminate legal discrimination against minorities, and allow women to vote.
We created kindergarten, agricultural education, youth apprenticeships and private school choice;
We built the first automobile and held the first car race.
We invented the typewriter, the outboard motor, Vitamin D, the hamburger and the malt, the fountain pen, Jockey shorts, and the automatic clothes dryer to dry them in.
We're the birthplace of the circus, the hydroelectric power plant, and my personal favorite, the Republican Party.
And we are home to the first, second and defending Super Bowl Champions - the Green Bay Packers.
But there is something we will never do first. We will never be the first team to lose to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Right Eugene?
Good luck Eugene. And please tell the team the entire State of Wisconsin is behind you come Sunday. The Packers are America's Team.
And we are America's State. This is our Sesquicentennial. And let us celebrate together.
Last year, in the spirit of bipartisanship, I brought you chocolate chip cookies. Obviously, the cookies weren't sweet enough. So this year, I brought a nice, creamy chocolate cake.
It's a birthday cake, reminding everyone that 1998 is our Sesquicentennial -- a year of celebration, pride, and above all, unity.
So before we leave this chamber tonight, let us sing happy birthday to our great state together. For we are much more than Republicans and Democrats - we are Wisconsinites.
Ladies and gentlemen, as Wisconsin celebrates her 150th birthday, she will do so with her eyes firmly focused on the horizon. For Wisconsin moves in only one direction.
Forever Forward. Let the celebration begin!
executive communications
State of Wisconsin
Office of the Governor
January 7, 1998
The Honorable, The Senate:
I am pleased to nominate and with the advice and consent of the Senate, do appoint Dummer , Michael F., of Holmen, as a member of the Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2003.
Read and referred to committee on Agriculture and Environmental Resources.
referrals and receipt of committee reports concerning proposed administrative rules
Relating to the administrative confinement of inmates.
Submitted by Department of Corrections.
Report received from Agency, January 15, 1998.
Referred to committee on Health, Human Services, Aging, Corrections, Veterans and Military Affairs, January 20, 1998 .
Relating to vehicle marking.
Submitted by Department of Transportation.
Report received from Agency, January 20, 1998.
Referred to committee on Labor, Transportation and Financial Institutions, January 20, 1998.
Relating to the personal loan program.
Submitted by Department of Veterans Affairs.
Report received from Agency, January 15, 1998.
Referred to committee on Health, Human Services, Aging, Corrections, Veterans and Military Affairs, January 20, 1998 .
The committee on Agriculture and Environmental Resources reports and recommends: