Wisconsin

Utah Group Seeks to Recall Wisconsin Democratic Senators

The conservative American Recall Coalition, a group from Salt Lake City, Utah, is leading the charge to reel in eight Democratic Senators in Wisconsin who are among 14 lawmakers who left the state in protest of Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill, according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB).

The out-of-state group last week filed with the GAB website to recall the Senators, but initial filings did not have anyone from the local senatorial district as part of the recall requests.

"They didn't have any local people involved, so we contacted them and said they need to have one local person in each district," said GAB spokesman Reid Magney. "They withdrew those initial filings and made new ones and we are waiting for the signed paperwork."

Wisconsin Protests, Monday, February 28, 2011

CMD REPORTS: LEGAL ACTION TAKEN MONDAY TO KEEP CAPITOL OPEN, TUESDAY COMMITTEE HEARINGS "OPEN" TO THE PUBLIC

9:00 p.m. - Mary Bottari reports: Peg Lautenschlager, the former Attorney General of Wisconsin, announced Monday night on the Ed Schultz Show (MSNBC) that she had already filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) to keep the WI State Capitol open to citizens. The TRO was filed in response to the fact that citizens are having a more and more difficult time getting into the WI capitol building, as the Governor's office attempts to clear the building in advance of his 4:00 p.m. budget address on Tuesday.

Access to the capitol is protected by the Wisconsin Constitution and WI open records law when there is legislative business. Late tonight, Jonathan Rosenblum spotted committee hearing notices at the State Capitol with the following language at bottom:

"We Shall Not Be Moved"

A large, multi-union coalition gathered near the "Fighting" Bob LaFollette bust on the first floor of the East Gallery in the Wisconsin State Capitol this afternoon. Wearing gray T-shirts with the words "Wisconsin United for Worker's Rights" printed in red across an outline of the state, they sat down and started to sing, "We shall not be moved," just after the official building shut-down at 4 p.m.

"We know we have a right to peaceful protest," said Candice Owley, a Milwaukee nurse with the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. "We don't believe they should be removing us from the State Capitol."

Owley said those in her group planned to follow directions outlined by a grassroots group inside the capitol that has been preparing for today. The goal: to keep the protest peaceful, and allow those who wish to continue to keep vigil in protest of Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill to remain in the building.

Wisconsin Protests, Sunday, February 27, 2011

 
Representative Brett Husley's office door papered with post-its from unions, students and regular citizens thanking him for staying around the Capitol to oppose SB 11.11:58 p.m. - Jonathan Rosenblum reports: According to unofficial count approximately 300 protesters are staying the night and a low profile contingent of law enforcement, some with "State Fair" patches on their shoulders. Less than two dozen visible.

10:51 p.m. - Jonathan Rosenblum sends this photo of Representative Brett Husley's office door papered with post-its from unions, students and regular citizens thanking him for staying around the Capitol to oppose SB 11. He and Representaive Kelda Roys were present through the announcement around 7:00 p.m. tonight that protesters of the bill would not be expelled from the Capitol.

8:48 p.m. - Jonathan Rosenblum reports that he is in line for official occupation manna (more pizza) with Andrew Rohn and Cat Capellaro who wrote the musicals Temp Slave and Walmartopia. They say they have contributed the following chant to the rotunda: "Unions make Wisconsin better. This revolution is fueled by cheddar.

What Else Is In Walker's Bill?

While news coverage has focused on how Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill attacks the state's 300,000 public sector workers (and by extension, the entire middle class), the law is increasingly recognized as an attack on the poor. It curtails (and perhaps eliminates) access to the Medicaid programs relied upon by 1.2 million Wisconsinites, limits access to public transportation, and hinders rural community access to broadband internet. The bill keeps the poor unhealthy, immobile, and uninformed.

Governor Walker and the GOP have said they will not balance the state's alleged "budget deficit" by raising taxes and increasing revenue. Instead, they will focus on decreasing expenditures in a way that disproportionately impacts the poor and middle class. At an event at Wisconsin Law School on February 24, former U.S. Solicitor of Labor and professor emeritus of law Carin Clauss said, "We have to acknowledge that we are imposing what amounts to a de facto tax hike" on the poor. She noted that "this bill will kick people off medicare, require increased payments into health and pension funds," and "could hamstring mass public transport," all of which decrease take-home pay and increase costs for poor- and middle- class Wisconsinites.

Koch Brothers "Prank" No Laughing Matter

WalkerphoneEmbattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came under fire today after news broke about statements he made in a 20-minute phone call from a Buffalo-area alternative news reporter, Ian Murphy of the Daily Beast, posing as David Koch, a billionaire whose corporate PAC directly supported Walker and who has given millions to groups that have run ads to aid Walker's rise to the state's highest office. (Listen to the call here.)

As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, the Koch PAC not only spent $43,000 directly on Walker's race, but Koch personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association which spent $5 million in the state. Besides the Governor, the Koch brothers have other "vested interests" in the state.

Walker’s Budget Plan Is a Three-Part Roadmap for the Right

Guest Opinion by Mike Konczal

Tim Fernholz wrote an excellent article in the National Journal about the "bait and switch" of Governor Walker's Wisconsin plan. Fernholz points out that the short-term deficit problem can be covered by debt restructuring, and that the big pieces of the bill that relate to dismantling public sector unions, control over Medicaid and creating a no-bid energy asset sale process are not directly budget related. (See Bait and Switch?).

There's a three-prong approach in Governor Walker's plan that highlights a blueprint for conservative governorship after the 2010 election. The first is breaking public sector unions and public sector workers generally. The second is streamlining benefits away from legislative authority, especially for health care and in fighting the Health Care Reform Act. The third is the selling of public assets to private interests under firesale and crony capitalist situations.

Wisconsin Protests, Saturday, February 26, 2011

SATURDAY NIGHT ENERGY AT CAMP CAPITOL

"Saturday night energy" on the last night the State Capitol will officially be open to the public.11:00 p.m. - Lynn Welch reporting: On the last night the State Capitol will officially be open to the public, those inside describe a festive atmosphere as a larger crowd has gathered. A circle of drummers and dancers engaged a larger group of overnighters with a real "Saturday night energy," described Oma Vic McMurray, a Madison resident staying her second night in the building.

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