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.
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.
The federal lawsuit came a day after the state Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of the collective-bargaining legislation that Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed into law in March but that a Dane County judge quickly blocked.
Two other lawsuits are pending against the limits on collective bargaining, and more are expected.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although the crowd size so far is nowhere near the tens of thousands who turned out in February and March, several protesters said they expected the numbers to grow as the day unfolds. A rally is set for 5:30 p.m.
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.
Martin made her announcement in an email sent to the campus community Tuesday morning. She started her post in Madison in September of 2008 after serving as provost at Cornell University.
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.
The state's Legislative Reference Bureau has records of every vote made by the Legislature since 1931.
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.
Madison - The Legislature will write Gov. Scott Walker's frozen limits on collective bargaining into the state budget Tuesday if the state Supreme Court hasn't restored them by then, the leader of the state Assembly said Monday.
As time was running out for the high court to act and the budget showdown loomed, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) and other Republicans said they also would seek to pass the budget bill under so-called extraordinary rules that allow it to be advanced more quickly from one house to the next.
On Monday, June 13, at noon, Wisconsin citizens organized by the group Wisconsin Wave marched around the Capitol building and converged on the offices of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the largest business lobby group in the state, to protest the WMC's support for Governor Scott Walker and his devastating state budget.
MILWAUKEE — A fight brewing over beer in Wisconsin pits the growing market of craft brewers against a large, well-known brewer.
A group of craft brewers say a proposal being supported by MillerCoors, the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association, Tavern League of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Grocers Association and others would limit smaller brewers’ ability to expand and could limit them from getting beer to consumers in the future.
Mark Pocan, Wisconsin state assemblyman from Madison, just issued a warning about how rapidly Republicans may move on the budget in the coming week. He also warned that they may decide to tuck into the budget the anti-collective bargaining bill that sparked such controversy over the past five months.
Dear Editor: Progressive Dane joins Affordable Housing Action Alliance in vigorously opposing Senate Bill 107 and Republican legislative efforts to eliminate municipal authority to regulate landlord tenant matters. SB 107 rolls back over a decade of improvements in housing access and tenant protection in Dane County and the city of Madison.
Ran into former Gov. Tony Earl during lunch at the Avenue Bar earlier this week and asked him how he was.
“Frankly, I’m despondent,” said the governor, who at age 75 otherwise looked quite chipper. “Every day it’s something even more unbelievable.”
Earl was talking, of course, about the goings-on in the state Capitol these days, where no one should be surprised any longer by the audacious pandering to the special interests and their bottomless cache of campaign money.
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, is proud of the fact that his Republican Party is recruiting and running spoiler candidates in Democratic primaries for the seats of GOP senators who are being recalled.
That comes as no great surprise. Fitzgerald is the chief legislative handmaiden of Gov. Scott Walker, and he is shameless in service to the governor.
But not all Republicans take pride in seeking to deceive the voters of Wisconsin, confuse the election process and cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in election expenses.
Yesterday morning Governor Scott Walker addressed participants in a conference called “New Partnerships: Government and Real Estate” which was sponsored by the UW Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, Wisconsin Department of Commerce, Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin Bankers Association and M&I Bank. In attendance were scores of property developers, bankers, mortgage brokers, and real estate agents.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Dane101 has learned through a direct, anonymous source that a state emergency response team has been operating out of the GEF-2 (101 S. Webster St.) building downtown specifically to monitor protest related activity on social media sites and elsewhere.
The team is allegedly coordinating with law enforcement to identify and shut down any major direct actions planned by protesters at the capitol, by watching things like the #wiunion hashtag on Twitter and related Facebook groups, etc.
Executives surveyed by Wisconsin's largest business lobbying group overwhelmingly say the state is "going in the right direction," a near-complete reversal of sentiment from a year ago that comes against a backdrop of exceptional political animosity.
The 2011 Economic Outlook Survey from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce shows that business leaders have shifted their views sharply in the aftermath of last year's change of political control in Madison from Democrats to Republicans.
Russ Feingold leapt into the center of the fight for worker rights and people-first budgeting in Wisconsin this week, stirring excitement about the prospect that the popular former U.S. senator might soon be re-entering the political fray — as a candidate for an open Senate seat in 2012 or perhaps as the champion of the forces seeking to remove right-wing Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election.
Yesterday’s march from Madison’s Fire Station 1 to the Walkerville camp and around the Capitol – stopping by the criminal M&I Bank along the way – was an inspiring spectacle, but things should have turned out better.
Aiming to make Wisconsin more attractive to business, Republican lawmakers have proposed reducing the state tax on the production earnings of manufacturers and agricultural businesses to almost nothing by 2016.
The tax reductions - slashing the rate in annual steps from the current 7.9% to 0.4% - would apply to the production income of the businesses, not to income such as royalties and investments.
ATHENS — Thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens late Sunday on the 12th consecutive day of protests against the government's draconian austerity measures.
Over 50,000 people, according to police estimates, thronged the capital's central Syntagma square for a peaceful demonstration responding to calls for gatherings across Europe. Some 3,000 people also gathered in Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, according to the police.