News

CAP TIMES: Walker puts himself ahead of Wisconsin

June 20, 2011
Cap Times Editorial Board

Scott Walker, the governor who rarely makes public appearances in Wisconsin and never has time to meet with citizens who want to raise issues regarding his budget priorities, has finally found a forum in which he is comfortable.

He is hosting CNBC’s morning business show “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.

And this is not just a quick hit. The governor will devote two hours to the project, hosting from 6 to 8 a.m. Central time.

Walker and his apologists are, of course, claiming that the hosting gig will be used to promote Wisconsin as a good place to do business. But does anyone seriously think CEOs make their calls about where to site factories, warehouses or research centers based on what politicians say on “Squawk Box”?

FORBES: No Public Hearings On Medicaid Cuts As Scott Walker Tightens His Grip On Wisconsin

June 20, 2011
Rick Ungar

What’s a governor to do when he has a big agenda but little tolerance for the nagging voice of the people?

He either loads up on the anti-acids and the aspirins, or he finds the peace and quiet he requires to bring his society-changing schemes to life by simply legislating away the annoyance of having to listen to the voice of the voters.

Apparently, Gov. Scott Walker has decided to skip the Maalox and go for the muzzle.

POLITISCOOP: This is what judicial corruption looks like

June 18, 2011
Carrie Wifore-Ward

Madison Wisconsin -- WKOW in Madison Wisconsin is reporting that they have obtained an email sent prior to the Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Circuit Court Judge Sumi's decision to block the heavily contested collective bargaining law. WKOW reports that four Republican legislators met with Sheboygan County Department Heads Monday as part of regular monthly meetings of state and local officials. Carl Buesing (the Sheboygan County Corporation Counsel who encouraged JoAnne F. Kloppenburg not to seek a recount) informed other county attorneys across Wisconsin of the following via email:

THE PROGRESSIVE: Netroots Nation proves Wisconsin uprising still inspiring activists nationwide

June 17, 2011
Elizabeth DiNovella

At the sixth annual Netroots Nations gathering, the Wisconsin Uprising has taken center stage. So many attendees are inspired by the organizing efforts that Wisconsinites get rounds of applause wherever we go.

Several panels on the first day of this progressive blogging conference focused on the fight-back against the Governor Scott Walker’s radical rightwing agenda.

“Wisconsin is Ground Zero right now,” said Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a PAC that supports “bold progressive candidates,” according to its website.

CHANNEL 27: Email reveals Republican lawmakers may have coordinated with Supreme Court on timing of decision

June 17, 2011
Inside Scoop

An email obtained by WKOW27 News indicates several local officials Monday were assured by Republican lawmakers the state Supreme Court would rule on the contentious collective bargaining case this week.

In a 4-3 decision, state Supreme Court justices Tuesday upheld the collective bargaining bill and vacated a Dane County judge’s restraining order against it.

Four Republican legislators met with Sheboygan County department heads Monday as part of monthly sessions involving state and local officials.

IN THESE TIMES: Wisconsin to be GOP’s Own Privatized Idaho? Or Will Voters Strike Back?

June 17, 2011
Roger Bybee

To borrow a phrase from an old B-52’s song, Wisconsin’s out-of-touch Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his legislative allies hope to be living in their own privatized Idaho (or perhaps Mississippi).

By 3 a.m. yesterday morning, the Republicans had rammed through the State Assembly a budget plan that is aimed at radically re-configuring Wisconsin as a Southern-style state where corporate CEO "job creators" are enthroned and enriched with new tax breaks, workers are reduced to near-sharecropper status, and public services like education and health suffer massive cuts and privatization. 

THE PROGRESSIVE: Wisconsin's worker's uprising demobilized by some in the movement

June 17, 2011
Matthew Rothschild

The mood in Wisconsin is dejected.

After a string of defeats, first losing the state supreme court race against David Prosser, then losing the decision at the state supreme court on the anti-collective bargaining law, and finally losing the vote on Walker’s hideous budget in the state legislature, people are down.

People see that Walker won everything big that he asked for, and despite all the great activism, we don’t have anything to show for it—at least not yet. As a result, lots of people are going to suffer.

The mass protests that I expected this week at the capitol in Madison did not materialize. On Tuesday, there were maybe 5,000 people there. On Thursday, barely 1,000. I’m sorry, but that was pathetic.

Mark Pocan: State budget taxes poor, gives to the rich

June 17, 2011
Mark Pocan

Last night, I was the second member of the Assembly Democratic caucus to talk about the Republican budget on the floor of the Assembly. I’ve received good feedback from my speech, so I’d like to summarize it here:

1) Republicans have created so many corporate tax breaks in this budget that the Legislative Fiscal Bureau pegs the 10-year cost in reduced revenue to the state at $2.3 billion.

2) Republicans use credit card spending to push $338 million dollars in state debt off into the future, costing us an additional $89.9 million in interest.

3) The GOP budget includes, at a minimum, $411 million in fund raids.

WSJ: Republicans run fake Dems in all six Republican recall districts

June 17, 2011
Dinesh Ramde

The state Democratic Party is pulling its "placeholder" candidates out of several upcoming recall elections, saying it only devised the tactic to defend against a possible Republican ploy that has since failed to materialize.

The announcement Friday was the latest act of gamesmanship between the two parties ahead of as many as nine recall elections this summer.

Six GOP state senators are being targeted for recall because they supported Republican Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to cut collective-bargaining rights from most public employees. Three Democratic senators are also being targeted for opposing those efforts.

WSJ: Effects from the passage of devastating budget already being felt

June 17, 2011
Mary Spicuzza and Clay Barbour

Gov. Scott Walker's aggressively austere budget is one step from becoming law, but state officials say its effects are already being felt across Wisconsin.

The state Senate on Thursday night passed the $66 billion plan, which uses a combination of budget cuts and corporate tax breaks in an attempt to close an estimated $3 billion budget hole while trying to spur the economy and promote business growth.

The measure passed at about 10 p.m. on Thursday on a 19-14 party line vote, and Walker said he will sign it before June 30.

"I remain confident that the Senate and Assembly passed a budget that met and exceeded the goal of balancing the budget by cutting spending and not increasing taxes," Walker said.

The Cap Times reports on UW system admins positive reaction to budget; links to articles about Martin's departure

June 17, 2011
Todd Finkelmeyer

Catching up on a couple higher education-related items ...

** Although no one is doing back flips because of an impending cut of $250 million in state taxpayer support over the next two years, University of Wisconsin System officials are generally pleased with the budget bill now awaiting Gov. Scott Walker's signature.

Op-ed in the Cap Times promotes a 'Wisconsin Values Budget' over Walker's devastating budget

June 17, 2011
Robert Kraig and Ken Taylor

Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters in the Legislature have asserted throughout the budget process that the only way to balance the state's books is to raise taxes on low-income workers and make slashing cuts to public services. It did not have to be this way.

CAP TIMES: Women particularly harmed by state budget

June 17, 2011
Cap Times Editorial Board

Don’t let legislators who voted for Gov. Scott Walker’s trash-and-burn budget try to tell you they believe that all women are full citizens with equal rights and equal protections under the law.

They don’t.

Forward Lookout reports on the new court order that reopens the Capitol building

June 16, 2011
Brenda Konkel

Well, lets see if they follow this court order . . . From Peter Barca . . . .

A victory for the people in the People’s House
Lawsuit forces Walker to reopen the Capitol to its rightful owners: Wisconsin citizens

Mark Pocan thoroughly debunks Republican claims that the state budget is balanced

June 16, 2011
Mark Pocan

Tonight, I was the second member of the Assembly Democratic caucus to talk about the Republican budget on the floor of the Assembly. I’ve received good feedback from my speech, so I’d like to provide my Assembly floor speech here.

Cap Times Op-ed asks: Can Wisconsin uprising grow nationwide movement?

June 16, 2011
Pat Schneider

It may have been a small crowd compared to those that thronged the state Capitol in the winter, but the “It’s Not Over” rally in May drew the kind of numbers that would have been stunning in any other year: 10,000 protesters gathered under a threatening sky to raise a collective fist against the political agenda of Gov. Scott Walker.

When Mahlon Mitchell, the first African-American president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, took the microphone on the steps of the Capitol, he evoked the civil rights movement to call on the crowd to steel its resolve.

WSJ: Labor groups file suit to block parts of collective bargaining law

June 16, 2011
SANDY CULLEN

One day after the state Supreme Court cleared the way for Gov. Scott Walker's controversial bill limiting collective bargaining to become law, several labor organizations filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday in an effort to prevent some of its provisions from taking effect in federal court.

WSJ: Assembly passes budget after 13 hours of blistering debate; Senate next

June 16, 2011
Mary Spicuzza and Clay Barbour

The state Assembly passed Gov. Scott Walker's state budget about 3 a.m. Thursday, sending it to the state Senate, which was taking it up Thursday.

Cap Times Op-ed exposes hypocrisy of state government criticizing unions for pension plans it pushed for

June 16, 2011
Robert Schaefer

Recent commentaries on Wisconsin public pension systems that blame public employee unions for what are perceived as excessive benefits have too often little or no actual knowledge of the facts. It’s time to set things straight.

JOHN NICHOLS: No checks, no balances — kangaroo court upsets rule of law in Fitzwalkerstan

June 16, 2011
No checks, no balances — kangaroo court upsets rule of law in Fitzwalkerstan

The founders of the American experiment separated the powers of the federal government they established, and encouraged a similar separation in the states.

Cap Times Editorial Board discusses Biddy Martin's departure

June 16, 2011
Cap Times Editorial Board

University of Wisconsin Chancellor Biddy Martin was, during her relatively short tenure as the head of the state’s flagship institution of higher learning, a relatively controversial figure.

GLENDALE NOW: Glendale opens only one polling location for recall election

June 15, 2011
Mary Buckley

Glendale - Plan to vote at City Hall on July 12.

The Common Council on Monday decided to open only one of its six polling locations for the recall election for the 8th District State Senate Race. Sen. Alberta Darling, who is being recalled, will be on the ballot as well as Sandy Pasch, who currently represents the 22nd Assembly District.

If more candidates submit the paperwork to run for the seat, the July 12 election will be a primary with a general election to follow in August. City Administrator Richard Maslowski said the election does not include all city voters as the 6th Aldermanic District and part of the 1st Aldermanic District are not part of the 8th Senate District.

Interview with CWA President on the nationwide assault against organized labor

June 15, 2011
David Moberg

Throughout his career in the labor movement, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen has championed organizing new workers, mobilizing members for issue-oriented politics, union democracy, coalition-building and the right of workers to unionize and collectively bargain. He has also played an important role in developing policy on technology and the structure of the telecommunications industry. But CWA represents workers in a wide range of industries beyond those related to its origin as a telephone union, including public workers.

Forbes blogger discusses the brewing constitutional crisis in Wisconsin

June 15, 2011
Rick Ungar

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, overturned the lower court decision that had barred implementation of Scott Walker’s anti-collective bargaining law on procedural grounds.

While Walker’s law will now take effect, this is the least of the problems revealed by the high court’s ruling.

MJS: Dem. Party challenge validity of recall petitions against Dem senators

June 15, 2011
Tom Tolan

The Democratic Party took state election officials to court Wednesday over the legitimacy of recall elections against three Democratic state senators.

The Democrats' action comes after six Republican state senators also challenged in court the decision of the Government Accountability Board to set elections in their recalls.

The board has scheduled recall election in the nine senatorial districts - July 12 for the six Republicans and July 19 for the three Democrats.

CAP TIMES: Martin sites many considerations for leaving UW

June 15, 2011
Todd Finkelmeyer

There were times, not so long ago, when Biddy Martin envisioned spending the rest of her career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

But after getting embroiled in a contentious debate with other higher education leaders across Wisconsin about how best to garner long-sought freedoms from state oversight, the 60-year-old UW-Madison chancellor announced Tuesday she is taking her talents to at least one more stop.

MJS: Unions seek to overturn court order reinstating collective-bargaining law

June 15, 2011
Don Walker and Patrick Marley

Madison - As state officials took steps Wednesday to all but end collective bargaining for most public workers as of June 29, a coalition of unions filed suit in federal court seeking to block the action.

PR WATCH: Protesters target DOA on Wednesday

June 15, 2011
Eric Carlson

Dozens of Walkerville activists marched from the Wisconsin state Capitol to DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch's offices at noon on Wednesday, June 15, to protest the former GOP state rep's archaic Capitol security measures.

Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council reacts to supreme court decision budget repair bill

June 15, 2011
Bill Lueders

It's important to be clear about what the state Supreme Court did not do today. It did not rule that the Wisconsin Legislature obeyed the state Open Meetings Law in passing changes to collective bargaining. It did not deem the Open Meetings Law a dumb idea. Rather, it concluded, on separation of powers grounds, that the judiciary had no right to "intermeddle" with the Legislature's interpretation of its own rules.

WSJ: Remove anti-craft beer provision from budget

June 14, 2011
Wisconsin State Journal editorial board

It’s too complicated and hasty to stay in the state budget — especially when it has so little to do with spending state money.

The Legislature this week should remove from its state budget sweeping changes to how breweries may operate in Wisconsin.

And if this last-minute addition to the budget reaches Gov. Scott Walker’s desk, he should veto its provisions. That way, the public, Wisconsin’s beer industry and state lawmakers will have ample time to analyze and weigh the implications as a stand-alone bill.

Op-ed in the Progressive about the true meaning of solidarity

June 14, 2011
Rebecca Kemble

This morning I woke up at 6:00 am after having gone to sleep well after 2:00. I was feeling anxious, thinking about how this week in Madison will shape up given the extreme measures Republican legislators and the Department of Administration are taking to make sure the 2011-2013 biennial budget gets passed into law.

WSJ: Protest starts to build at Capitol as Assembly vote looms

June 14, 2011
Doug Erickson

A few thousand protesters began making laps around the state Capitol late Tuesday morning and yelling "Recall Walker" in the rotunda, turning the Capitol Square once again into a hub of activism, emotional appeals and political theater.

CAP TIMES: Protests continue despite supreme court decision

June 14, 2011
Jessica Vanegeren

For a guy known for strong outbursts when he sees union rights being trampled, Marty Beil was quietly standing alone amid a crowd of several thousand outside the Capitol Tuesday evening, shortly after learning that a huge blow was dealt to his cause by the state Supreme Court.

CAP TIMES Op-ed discuses ALEC's nefarious influence on state governments over 30 years

June 14, 2011
Randall Schumann

Paralleling the role of the wizard in the “Wizard of Oz,” there is a little-known but powerful, big-business/corporate interest, national organization that has been at work behind the scenes of state government legislative proposals for the last several decades.

CAP TIMES provides more coverage of Biddy Martin's departure

June 14, 2011
Todd Finkelmeyer

Biddy Martin is leaving her post as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to become the next president at Amherst College, a highly regarded liberal arts school of 1,600 students located in Massachusetts.

CAP TIMES: 'Extraordinary' session never before used to pass budget

June 14, 2011
Jessica Vanegeren

If top Republican lawmakers move forward Tuesday with a plan to pass the state budget in "extraordinary session," it will be the first time lawmakers have used this speedy political maneuver to pass a budget in at least 80 years.

DANE 101: Assembly delays vote on budget until evening as protesters once again converge on Capitol

June 14, 2011
Emily Mills

The Assembly today opened their session as planned at 11:00 a.m. but immediately adjourned for the parties to go to caucus. An executive session of the Joint Committee on Retirement Systems has been called for 4:00 p.m. this afternoon to discuss adding the collective bargaining provisions to the budget, after which the Assembly will re-convene and take up the full bill.

NYT: Biddy Martin to leave UW to head Amherst College

June 14, 2011
Tamar Lewin

Carolyn A. Martin, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a flagship public research university with 29,000 undergraduates, is resigning to become president of Amherst College, a prestigious liberal arts college with 1,750 students.

 

DANE 101: Wisconsin Wave leads protests of WMC

June 14, 2011
Emily Mills

A protest contingent of about 100 marched from the Walkerville encampment at the Capitol down East Washington to the headquarters of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce on Monday, focusing their attention on one of the organizations they say is behind some of the worst provisions in the proposed state budget.