FRIDAY, JULY 8TH NEWS ROUNDUP
Wisconsin State Journal: Lawmakers introduce amendment to require open meetings for Legislature
The state Legislature would be subject to Wisconsin's open meetings law under a constitutional amendment announced Thursday by Assembly Democrats. Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said they decided to introduce the amendment because Republican lawmakers exploited an open meetings law loophole in their rush to pass the controversial measure to dramatically limit collective bargaining for public workers. They said the constitutional amendment would ensure lawmakers are required to provide reasonable notice and public access to meetings of the Legislature and other government bodies -- or face citations and civil penalties. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Journal Sentinel: Rail executive gets probation in campaign finance case
West Bend - William Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. and a major donor to Gov. Scott Walker, was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation for violating state campaign finance laws. Washington County Circuit Judge James Pouros also sentenced Gardner to 100 hours of community service at Tenor High School, a charter school in Milwaukee. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Wisconsin Reporter: Unions giving millions to Wisconsin PAC
MADISON — Labor unions are throwing millions of dollars into Wisconsin's recall elections. And the political action committee getting the millions has a simple goal: Make sure Democrats win and Republicans lose. To date, We Are Wisconsin's political action committee has raised more than $4 million for recall efforts, with most of the large contributions coming from labor unions, according to campaign finance documents. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
La Crosse Tribune: Concealed carry to become state law
Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign the state's concealed carry bill into law today in Wausau. The law doesn't take effect until Nov. 1, has a number of restrictions on where weapons can be carried and will require a permit and training. Additional details about concealed carry include: Where can I carry? In most public buildings, businesses, churches, workplaces, city and state parks and at outdoor public events, unless a sign is posted saying they are not permitted. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Politico: Wisconsin inmates used for government work
The first impacts of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's gutting of union collective bargaining rights -- using jail inmates to do work previously done by state employees -- have liberal bloggers fearful of forthcoming moves to further defang public employees. In Racine County, just south of Milwaukee, the county jail is outsourcing landscaping, painting, and snow-shoveling jobs that used to be done by unionized workers to its inmates, the Journal Times of Racine reported. Provisions won by unions in collective bargaining had prohibited inmates from performing that kind of work in the past. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
THURSDAY, JULY 7TH NEWS ROUNDUP
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Recall incumbents were allowed to receive unlimited donations while writing budget
Madison - Driven by recall elections and rules that allow unlimited contributions, members of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee received huge campaign donations in recent months while they were writing the state budget. For instance, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chairwoman of the committee, raised $30,000 this year from a single contributor. Normally, state senators can't receive more than $1,000 from a single donor, but since she was facing a recall Darling was able to raise unlimited amounts for a period of time because of a quirk in state law. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
The Cap Times: John Nichols: Anti-war campaigners and wise senators block move to extend presidential war-making powers
Abraham Lincoln got it right when, as a young congressman, he warned against the penchant of presidents to abuse any war powers afforded them: "Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him?" READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
La Crosse Tribune: State reaches gloomy milestone: 100,000 foreclosures
St. Paul - In the five years since Kari Musil lost her own home, she and her 18-year-old daughter have moved three times. A musician, composer and teacher, she bought her house in east St. Paul in 2004. But after her daughter's health problems required seven surgeries in one year, she ran up thousands of dollars in hospital bills and fell behind on her mortgage payments. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Oshkosh Northwestern: Wisconsin Voter ID law causes confusion
In a year of recounts, recalls and redistricting, it's not surprising that a number of voters have questions on the new Voter ID procedures and other rules. A primary election that will decide the Democratic candidates in the recall elections involving state Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, and state Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, will be held Tuesday, July 12. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Wisconsin State Journal: Walker, donors accused of breaking finance law
Wisconsin state insurance commissioner Ted Nickel and nine other donors to Republican Gov. Scott Walker have been accused of breaking the state's campaign finance law. Watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign filed a complaint Wednesday with the Government Accountability Board related to donations that exceeded the $10,000 limit allowed to be given during the campaign period. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
The Ed Show: More pressure on Justice Prosser to step aside - As the investigation continues into whether Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser put a female justice in a choke hold, there are more calls for him to take a leave of absence.
CMD REPORTS: WOMEN'S GROUPS CALL ON JUDGE TO STEP DOWN PENDING INVESTIGATION INTO CHOKING INCIDENT
7:40 a.m. - Mary Bottari reports for CMD:
In the wake of allegations that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser placed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a chokehold in her office, women's rights organizations and elected officials across the state are calling for him to step down until investigations are complete.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 6TH NEWS ROUNDUP
The Cap Times: On Topic: Women's groups, lawmakers, call for Prosser to take a leave from Supreme Court
Women's rights groups and women lawmakers from the city of Madison, Dane County and state Legislature are calling on Justice David Prosser to take a leave from the Supreme Court while an investigation proceeds into allegations that he physically assaulted Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during an argument. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Two GOP senators raise more funds than six Democratic challengers combined
Two of the GOP senators fighting recall elections have raised nearly $1.7 million so far this year, more than the six Democrats who are challenging Republicans combined. The reporting period for Republicans is longer -- they could start as soon as recall efforts were launched, while Democrats had to wait until they declared their candidacy. Nevertheless, Alberta Darling of River Hills and Dan Kapanke of La Crosse so far dwarf their opponents in fundraising. The other two Republicans reporting also are ahead of their opponents so far. The final two had yet to report as of late Tuesday. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker signs Manitoba hydro, trucking bills
Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a bill that allows large dams such as those planned for Manitoba to count toward the state's renewable energy mandate. "Allowing electric providers to use a wider range of renewable energies will make Wisconsin's environment cleaner for future generations," Walker said in a statement Tuesday. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Sheboygan Press: A year later, Wisconsin's statewide smoking ban's impact on business minimal
Like most tavern owners, Pat Nohelty was more than a little worried when Wisconsin's statewide smoking ban went into effect last July. With half his patrons dedicated smokers, Nohelty assumed ending something as integral to Wisconsin bar culture as booze itself would be bad for business. But when the smoke cleared, it turns out he was only half right -- while he's lost some business at his Kim's 5 Corners Tavern in rural Sheboygan Falls since the ban started, he's also been gaining dinner customers, no doubt because of the fresh air. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
La Crosse Tribune: An election that isn't about the candidates, primary signals strange times
James Smith thinks Wisconsin law makes it too easy to recall a sitting legislator. And he's willing to spend taxpayer dollars to protest it. Smith, a self-described libertarian Republican and former officer of the La Crosse County GOP, will be on the ballot Tuesday alongside Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling in a bid to challenge Sen. Dan Kapanke. He is one of six fake Democrats across the state running as part of a GOP strategy to delay recalls until August. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
TUESDAY, JULY 5TH NEWS ROUNDUP
Wisconsin State Journal: Public financing of elections a state budget casualty
Kevin Kennedy, asked what's happened to public financing of elections in Wisconsin, sums it up succinctly: "It's all gone." And Kennedy, executive director of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, played a role in its elimination. What happened, he explained, is that Gov. Scott Walker proposed in his biennial budget to change how the state's public financing system is funded. But the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, after hearing from Kennedy that this would create a purely token program, decided to do away with it entirely. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Cap Times: Madison 360: Baldwin likely to forego safety for her dream of Senate seat
She really wants to do it. That's the precise phrase I've heard for weeks from elected officials, political professionals and supporters who know her. While the words are consistent, they are accompanied by differing tones and expressions, ranging from enthusiastic to not so much. This second group displays a scrunched face or subtle head shake, a fond but unmistakable "what's she thinking?" semi-rebuke. But make no mistake, U.S. Rep. Tammy Suzanne Green Baldwin, 49, is steaming toward a 2012 candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
The Nation: Medicare's Still Delivering After 45 Years; The Only Serious Threat to Its Future Is Paul Ryan
Forty-five years ago this week, the first Medicare checks were delivered, and the United States made a great leap forward. Before Medicare was implemented -- as a social-welfare program designed not just to deliver care but to poverty -- one in five Americans lived below the poverty line. After the program was implemented, and after related "War on Poverty" initiatives were developed, that number was cut almost in half. Poverty among seniors dropped by two thirds. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Wisconsin State Journal: Need a free photo ID to vote? Be prepared to wait
That's why Balthazor, 69, a retired postal clerk from Madison, was getting a state-issued photo identification card Friday at the Division of Motor Vehicles Center on the city's Far East Side. A new state law requires residents to show photo identification to vote. Balthazor does not have a driver's license -- a physical disability prevents her from driving -- and so needed to find another way to prove her identity. The law includes a clause that allows residents to get a state photo ID card for free if they need it to vote. The cost is $28 otherwise. Friday was the first day the cards were available for free. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Cap Times: John Nichols: Using current court problems to end judicial elections would be absurd
Gov. Scott Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the other day that he is interested in exploring proposals to end Wisconsin's historic tradition of electing those who judge us. And the newspapers that actively backed Walker for governor last year, the Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal, are making all kinds of noise about making the state Supreme Court an appointed body. This is not exactly new. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Panel suggests changes could save Wisconsin millions
Madison - The state could save $267 million a year by casting a sharper eye on fraud, keeping a tighter rein on state worker overtime and private contractors, and using more shared services among local governments, according to a new report to Gov. Scott Walker. Not all the savings laid out in the preliminary report would go to state taxpayers -- much would go to federal taxpayers -- and in many cases it would require action by the Legislature and even federal agencies before any savings could be achieved, according to the 87-page report. Even in a best-case scenario, the annual savings identified could not all be achieved right away but would need to be implemented and ramped up over a period of years. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.