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Privatizing Water! PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 29 January 2016 14:58

clean-drinking-waterMADISON - This week we revealed that there is one company behind the Republican bills to make it easier to sell off municipal water utilities. Find out who that company is, and how much it spent on lobbying last year, by reading this article:

Bills would make it easier to privatize public water utilities

And guess whose fingerprints are all over these bills? None other than ALEC, as we show here:

ALEC’s fingerprints on bills to privatize public water supplies

The NRA is also throwing its weight around in the legislature. It’s behind two bills, including concealed carry for switchblades and other blades:

NRA-backed weapons bills head to Walker

As you can see, there have been a lot of retrograde bills coming down the pike lately. I had fun testifying at the Capitol on Tuesday against a bill that would restrict local governments from issuing their own ID cards to residents. Here’s my testimony:

WDC opposes Senate Bill 533 regulating photo ID cards issued by local units of government

And here’s a bill we support, as it would safeguard public records in Wisconsin:

Democratic bill would create fine for destroying certain public records

As the legislature hurries to finish up its work in the next month or so, we’ll keep an eye out on the bills – and the money behind the bills.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 January 2016 15:16
 
Where’s Bluto Blutarsky when he’s needed most? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Saturday, 23 January 2016 11:00

john-belushi-as-blutoALTOONA, WI - I hear it or see it every day. Somebody says it at a meeting. Or posts it as a comment on an Internet message board or social media site. It’s imbedded in a question asked at some public forum. It is on a sign at a demonstration.

Democracy in America has been killed. It’s dead. It’s over.

I disagree for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that democracy is more verb than noun and verbs can’t be killed. Democracy lives as long as there are at least some among us who are doing it.

There’s no overlooking the fact that democracy is gravely ill in many respects, however. Democracy is dependent on many things, but none more important than the consent of the governed. What passes for consent of the governed nowadays is frightening when you consider what most Americans think of those doing the governing and further consider how elected officials demonstrate that they don’t care what the general public thinks.

The two major parties have very different ways of dealing with these troubling conditions. The Democrats run scared. There is a long list of things they believe but won’t say and things they would like to do but don’t. The Republicans run roughshod. Their answer for pretty much everything is more tax cuts primarily benefiting the rich and more government deregulation. Regardless of what the public wants, that’s what Republicans do. They are one-trick ponies, even though the trick has only made the rich vastly richer, the poor poorer, and the middle class disappear. For decades now it hasn’t produced the widespread prosperity they promise, yet they don’t try anything different. They double down on their one trick.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 January 2016 11:10
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On the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Martha Laning   
Friday, 22 January 2016 15:17

martha-laningMADISON - 43 years ago today, the Supreme Court made it clear that a woman has the right to make her own health care decisions.

On this day, we celebrate a historic ruling that respects a woman's right to make private decisions with her doctor. We are also reminded today that we must stand firm against efforts to undermine or chip away at those rights.

Wisconsin families look to their leaders to focus first on economic policy. Instead, we've seen a Republican-controlled legislature focused on curtailing access to a legal and safe abortions, and passing draconian legislation that puts women's health at risk.

It's a shame that 43 years later after the Supreme Court has settled the issue of reproductive rights that some still want to roll back the clock. Today, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin recommits itself to fighting to protect reproductive freedom.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 January 2016 15:23
 
Koch Brothers, WMC Back Bill Gutting Civil Service PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 22 January 2016 14:51

conference-roomMADISON - The state Senate approved and sent to the governor a bill on Wednesday that changes the longtime hiring process for 30,000 public sector jobs. The measure was backed by powerful business and conservative ideological groups that have spent millions of dollars since 2011 to help Republican lawmakers, who control the legislature, and GOP Gov. Scott Walker keep their jobs.

The measure, Assembly Bill 373, overhauls the state’s 110-year-old civil service hiring process by eliminating the requirement that job applicants take exams; shortening the process used by employees to appeal their discipline or dismissal by more than half; and prohibiting senior employees from avoiding termination by bumping less-senior workers from their jobs.

AB373, which was approved on a party line 19 to 14 vote in the Senate, was passed in October by the Assembly, and now goes to Walker, who supports it, for his signature.

Backers of the bill say the civil service process needed to be changed because it takes too long to hire and fire people. Opponents of the measure say the changes will hurt the quality of the state’s workforce by bringing political patronage and corruption back into the hiring of public employees.

The special interests behind the bill are generous backers of Republican legislators and Walker.

AB373 is backed by the state’s largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative ideological group created and funded bybillionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 January 2016 16:26
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Wisconsin Budget Lags as Republicans Neglect People's Priorities PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64   
Thursday, 21 January 2016 15:57

peter_barcaMADISON – Today, I must response to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau revenue report that showed Wisconsin is expected to take in $158 million less in revenue.

Ordinary Wisconsinites and their communities continue to suffer from the Republicans' neglect – including the Republicans' extremely damaging budget and their inaction on our major challenges.

While Gov. Walker and Republicans tried to paint a rosy picture of Wisconsin’s economy and finances, the truth is that families and communities throughout the state face major hardships.

As Republicans continue to stack the deck against ordinary Wisconsinites and obscure their harmful agenda with election-year distractions, Democrats are focused on leveling the playing field and rebuilding the middle class the Republican agenda has hurt so deeply.

The first step toward improving our state’s finances is accepting federal BadgerCare funds to provide health care to roughly 80,000 Wisconsinites at a savings of more than $300 million to taxpayers over the next two years.

 
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