Election season can be a difficult time to work for a nonpartisan public policy think tank. On a personal level, the urge to spout off on social media about things we see or hear from candidates must be squelched, and requests to place yard signs or make campaign contributions must be rejected... 
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Latest Marijuana Research Released

The second in the Forum's two-part research series on municipal marijuana policy is creating quite a "buzz" (sorry, we couldn’t resist), with comprehensive coverage by WUWM's Lake Effect and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. The report analyzed four years of Milwaukee Police Department data and found that citations for minor marijuana possession infractions have plummeted. The report also questions, however, whether arrests should be made at all for small-scale offenses, as opposed to issuing citations on the street. While this concludes the Forum's initial foray into municipal marijuana policy, we plan to continue to delve into justice system policies that may unnecessarily create barriers to employment as part of our ongoing workforce development research.


While the first quarter of 2016 was relatively slow by Forum standards in terms of published reports, the pace will pick up dramatically in the next three months, with five major reports scheduled to be released:

  • The third report in our Milwaukee Educator Series will analyze the dimensions of a possible teacher shortage in Metro Milwaukee and how we should respond.
  • A report analyzing the City of Milwaukee's Residents Preference Program will explore how that program is faring and discuss ways to enhance it using best practices from other metro regions.
  • Our analysis of emergency communications in Milwaukee County will recommend steps to better integrate County and municipal dispatch operations.
  • Our research on potential service sharing between the Milwaukee Public Schools, the City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County will outline where the potential for such sharing is greatest and what it would entail.
  • Our annual review of the Milwaukee Public Schools budget will examine the difficult decisions made to balance the budget for 2017 and what those mean for the district's long-term fiscal and programmatic health.

Still deciding who to vote for in the upcoming election? View coverage and watch the videos from our recent Milwaukee County Executive and City of Milwaukee Mayoral debates! 

The Forum hosted a Milwaukee County Executive debate between Chris Abele and Chris Larson on February 22.

The Forum hosted a Milwaukee Mayoral debate between Tom Barrett and Bob Donovan on March 23.

Our new researcher, Ben Juarez, will focus primarily on the Forum's local government finance portfolio. He has experience conducting economic policy research in Latin America, as well as acquiring and analyzing raw data to provide consulting to businesses and political campaigns. Ben recently worked for the office of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin as her representative to Southeast Wisconsin.
Sue Moeser joins the Forum as a part-time researcher and will work on local government finance and social services projects. Sue recently retired from Milwaukee County where she was the Behavioral Health Division's fiscal director.

The Forum is a membership organization, and our members have kept us a vital part of the community for more than 100 years. We'd like to welcome the following new members to the Public Policy Forum community:

The Burke Foundation | Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin | IBEW Local 494 | Next Door | Pabst Theater Group | Rogers Memorial Hospital | Richard Cantor | Claude Crawczyk | Michael Hennick | Ed Henschel | Christine Korjenek | Julie Tolan | Paul Ziehler


Viewpoint Luncheon: Is Metro Milwaukee Running Out of Teachers?
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
11:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Italian Conference Center, Milwaukee
Registration opening soon!

Salute to Local Government
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
7:00 - 9:00 a.m.
Italian Conference Center, Milwaukee
Now accepting award nominations!

Gala Dinner with Bob Woodward
Thursday, October 6, 2016
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Location TBD
Registration opens this summer


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