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Kaine joins in introducing Senate bill to protect domestic violence victims

Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) to introduce the Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act of 2014, legislation that would encourage states to remove firearms from domestic abusers.

The senators presented their bill at a press conference where they were joined by Merry Jackson, whose daughter Lori Jackson was shot and killed this year by her estranged husband, who was under a temporary restraining order at the time. Kaine shared the story of Deborah Wigg, a Virginia Beach resident who was tragically shot and killed in 2011 by her separated husband, who, despite being arrested and issued a restraining order for domestic violence against Deborah, never had his gun confiscated as federal law requires.

“I’m proud to help introduce the Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act of 2014 in the Senate,” said Kaine. “Domestic violence fatalities are far too common in Virginia, and they are often at the hands of gun violence. By focusing on individuals already subject to a temporary or domestic violence restraining order, this commonsense legislation provides critical protection to abuse victims, especially women, who are five times more likely to be killed by their domestic abuser if the abuser owns a gun.”

'Misery in Our Midst' forum tackles scourge of gun violence

Mayor Tom Barrett went to bed Friday knowing he would spend Saturday speaking with a community exhausted by gun violence. He hoped against hope that the topic of his speech wouldn’t be selected for him as the night unfolded.

But it was.

It was contained in a text message on his phone. Two men shot, one fatally, shortly before midnight in a car in the 5100 block of W. Lisbon Ave.

The only thing really surprising about the message, Barrett said, was the ethnicity of the men shot: Asian.

The vast majority of the people who are shot and killed in Milwaukee are black males.

“What we are witnessing, right now, is the annihilation of black males in this city,” Barrett told more than 100 people who attended the forum, “Misery in Our Midst — Gun Violence,” at the African American Women’s Center.

“I need our community to be engaged & enraged:” Politicians try to stop the violence

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Some big name politicians meeting to try to find a way to stop the violence — there’s one easy step, start talking about it!

Just days ago we saw the latest incidence of young children caught in the crossfire of gun violence. Now, some of the city’s most powerful politicians are pooling ideas on how to make it stop.

Crime scenes and headlines of children caught int he crossfire, are sadly prompting calls like this summer.

“Repeat the chant after me, say I will not let the babies die young,” says one attendee.

The city’s most powerful are echoing that theme and doing their best to raise the community to its feet, in hopes of stomping out the shootings.

Wary Democrats approach new Paul Ryan poverty plan with caution

Washington — While citing some areas of common ground, Democrats reacted with general skepticism to the anti-poverty agenda unveiled by House budget chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville on Thursday.

One big reason: their deep disdain for the House budgets Ryan has crafted in recent years, which they view as punitive toward the poor.

“It’s a case of total cognitive dissonance between the (Ryan) proposals today and the Republican budgets” that Ryan has shepherded through the House, said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on Ryan’s budget committee.

The Ryan budgets offered sharp cuts in social spending. But the proposals on poverty-fighting offered by Ryan on Thursday are squarely focused on reforming programs for the poor — not reducing the actual amount of money the government spends on the poor.

In a conference call with reporters, Van Hollen described that as “policy and political schizophrenia on steroids.”

Ryan says he wants to separate the discussion about fighting poverty from the regular clashes over the budget.

More pay = more Social Security

Pay equity for women is a hot topic in Congress these days. Cynics say it is because Democrats are eager to stir up female voters who, according to the Associated Press, comprised 53 percent of all voters in 2012 and preferred Democrats by 11 percentage points.

The Associated Press points out that the voting rate for women drops in non-presidential elections like the one coming up in November, so Democrats are doing their best to get women interested in the election so they’ll go to the polls.

Thursday, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) co-hosted a press conference with advocacy group Social Security Works to release new research that says closing the gender pay gap would strengthen Social Security’s finances and improve women’s benefits over their retirement. DeLauro said that currently women earn 77 cents for every $1 that men earn, and if women made more, they would pay more into Social Security. “Closing the gender pay gap would provide greater Social Security benefits for women and it would reduce the long-term Social Security shortfall by one-third,” DeLauro says.

Young girl, shot while playing outside Milwaukee school, dies from her injuries

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a Wisconsin Public Radio year-long series tracking all gun-related homicides in Wisconsin.

A candlelight vigil took place Monday night for a 10-year-old girl who has become the state’s 55th gun homicide victim of the year.

Sierra Guyton died on Sunday, nearly two months after being hit by crossfire while playing outside a Milwaukee school. Her death was front-page news, as she’s one of about 30 young people in the city shot this year.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Guyton’s death should prompt a number of measures, including more laws discouraging felons from using guns.

Congressional Art Competition Winner Comes to Washington!

Each year, I am so proud to host the annual Congressional Art Competition, “An Artistic Discovery,” for high school students from the 4th Congressional District. Since 1982, this nationwide visual arts contest has been fostering artistic talent, among our youth, in each participating congressional district. Winners from my district are recognized, both in Wisconsin and at an awards ceremony in our nation’s capital.

Throughout my years as a community leader, I have been an avid supporter of the arts and the vibrancy that they bring to our community and our culture. Student participation in the arts encourages creativity and an exploration of many unique modes of expression. The work presented by this year’s artists beautifully reflected the realities of their lives and the larger world, and I am thankful to all who participated in this year’s competition.

House votes to boost DOJ immigration review funding

The House late Wednesday night adopted a proposal to increase funding for the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review.

Adopted by voice vote after five minutes of debate, Rep. Gwen Moore’s (D-Wis.) amendment to the 2015 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill would increase funding for the Executive Office of Immigration Review by $1 million. It would be offset by reducing the same amount from the budget for the Justice Department’s salaries and expenses account.

The Executive Office of Immigration Review handles immigration court proceedings and administrative hearings. 

Moore said that the court system was unable to keep up with the record-high level of deportations.

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