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Forward with Education & Reason

Prisoners and the Right to Vote PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 15 April 2016 09:34

jail-prisonMADISON - On Tuesday, I went to UW-Milwaukee to give a lecture about an under-appreciated aspect of our undemocratic system: the disenfranchisement of prisoners and former prisoners. In researching this talk, I discovered just how blatantly racist the policy has always been:

Felon disenfranchisement, then and now

In our never-ending sorrow at the demise of the Government Accountability Board, our worst fears have been confirmed: Partisans from both sides are being appointed to the new state ethics and elections commissions. This week, it was Peter Barca’s turn:

Barca’s appointees contributed $107K to Democrats

And as we look back at the legislative session, one hypocrisy jumped out at us. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce talks all the time about the need for a highly educated workforce, but it didn’t put any of its money where its mouth is:

WMC, business groups AWOL on higher ed bills

Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2016 11:16
Russ Feingold on Wisconsin’s Opioid Crisis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Russ Feingold   
Friday, 15 April 2016 08:52

prescription_drugsMIDDLETON, WI - The opioid crisis is a tragedy that ravages our communities, and it should never be a partisan issue. Addiction is a disease that we have to address comprehensively – that means treatment, prevention, and education.

So I am encouraged that leaders like Sen. Tammy Baldwin are fighting for bipartisan solutions that prioritize treatment & recovery, expand access to naloxone, and seek to strengthen monitoring of prescription medications.

What we cannot do is repeat the failures of the war on drugs. We can’t wish the problem away. More of our leaders need to step up to work in a bipartisan manner to provide our communities with the resources that our families truly need in order to reach those afflicted by this crisis. This is a public health emergency and must be treated as such.

Russ Feingold Statement on Equal Pay Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Russ Feingold   
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 10:59

womenMIDDLETON, WI - Women have played an invaluable role in growing and strengthening Wisconsin’s economy; their hard work, dedication and ingenuity have built strong families, businesses and communities. Yet, women still lack the legal protection to guarantee the pay they deserve.

Equal Pay Day marks how far into the year women on average have to work to catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year. Women in Wisconsin still earn only 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, and we clearly have much more work to do to ensure that women and their families have every opportunity to succeed. We not only need equal pay legislation, but we must also raise the minimum wage, guarantee paid family leave, and ensure access to quality, affordable women’s healthcare -- including access to reproductive care.

Unlike my opponent, the incumbent senator, who believes that equal pay legislation does “more harm than good,” I firmly believe that we must do more to ensure that all of Wisconsin’s women are able to fight pay discrimination. All of the hardworking women in Wisconsin and across the country deserve the respect and dignity of their work.

Republican Voter Suppression Exposed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lena Taylor, State Senator, 4th District   
Sunday, 10 April 2016 11:27

voter-idMILWAUKEE - On April 5th at a Republican Election Night party, Congressman Glenn Grothman was asked why he thought Republican’s will win in the upcoming presidential election. He said, “…And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well."

It didn’t surprise me that he thought voter ID would suppress enough Democratic votes to make the difference in a presidential election. But it did surprise me that he’d actually said it out loud… to a reporter… on camera.

On the same day, a former GOP Senate staff member, Todd Allbaugh, dropped a bomb on Facebook. Here’s what a man who was in the room to hear the “private” discussion about the motives behind voter ID had to say:

“You wanna know why I left the Republican Party as it exists today? Here it is; this was the last straw: I was in the closed Senate Republican Caucus when the final round of multiple Voter ID bills were being discussed. A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters…”

Yup, you read it right. Behind closed doors, Republican Senator’s discussed an elaborate plan to deny people their constitutional right to vote and they were giddy about it.

lena-taylorOn the floor of the State Senate, I fought for ensuring people’s right to vote. Since 2000, there are only 10 proven cases nationally of in-person voter fraud. More people are struck by lightning than commit in-person voter fraud.

That’s why I believe voter ID laws will keep way more people from even going to the polls on Election Day than it ever catches. Several years ago Republicans figured out that people of color and college students were most likely to not have proper ID for voting.

You know what else college students and people of color have in common? They are both groups that are more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans. Republicans didn’t believe they could win fair and square, so they had to rig the rules.

Only, this isn’t a game, this is people’s constitutional right to vote. The discriminatory voter ID law is ageist and racist, period.

See more of Todd Allbaughs story on my Facebook page.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Supreme Court Race PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 16:57

rebecca-bradleyMADISON - For the past few months, we’ve been checking, almost every day, to see when Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce was going to start spending money on behalf of Judge Rebecca Bradley in her race against Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. But we’ve found nothing, which is very puzzling.

One answer to the puzzle may be that WMC is funneling its dough through a dark-money group, as we discuss here:

joanne-kloppenburgIs WMC hiding its $$ in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race?

For a look at all the independent groups, including PACs and bogus “issue ad” groups, that are throwing money around in this race on both sides, just click here:

Hijacking Campaign 2016 updated with new independent spending

And for a look at the biggest individual donors to both candidates, check out this posting:

GOP, Democratic donors continue to give big to high-court candidates

Aside from this Supreme Court contest, and the Presidential race, there is one other important bit of balloting on April 5: In 11 communities in Wisconsin, citizens can vote on referendums to amend the U.S. Constitution to proclaim that corporations aren’t persons and money is not speech. See if your community is on the list here:

Vote to overturn Citizens United on April 5 in Wisconsin!

In any case, please vote in this election. You can still do early voting, also known as in-person absentee voting, this week at your city clerk’s office. Early voting closes at 5 p.m. or the close of business for the municipal clerk (whichever is later) on Friday. Or please show up at your regular polling place on Tuesday. And if you don’t know where that is, just fill out your address here:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 17:25
This Presidential Race Is Neither The End Nor The Beginning PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 15:47

donald-trump-dumbassIt’s been so dark, so ugly, so ridiculously comical at times, it must signal something. A nation at war with itself, or maybe not. Mike McCabe argues the nation is remaking itself, and doing it far ahead of the politicians.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 16:54
Walker Higher Ed Bills are Election-Year Smoke and Mirrors PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 10:14

loanMADISON, WI - On Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed into law four higher education bills, Assembly Bills 740, 741, 742 and 744, calling the package 'college affordability bills' .

These Republican bills do nothing to address the burden of student debt and the people of Wisconsin shouldn’t fall for the Republicans’ lack of action with these modest election-year smoke and mirrors.

These anemic Republican bills do not provide a single ounce of relief for the roughly one million Wisconsinites burdened by the $19 billion student debt crisis. Republicans did not even pass the most significant of these weak bills which at least would have provided a tax break to a small percentage of those with significant debt.

Democrats provided Republicans ample opportunity to support our ‘Higher Ed, Lower Debt’ bill which is a real solution to providing relief to Wisconsinites with student loan debt. The Democratic proposal allows borrowers to refinance their loans, just like a car loan or mortgage. It is a common sense, popular plan that would grow Wisconsin’s economy and unfortunately Republicans voted against this proposal several times this session.

Gov. Walker and Republicans also cannot hide from their record of gutting higher education in Wisconsin. Since they came into power, the UW System has lost $795 million in state aid* and the technical college system has lost $203 million in state aid.

(*excluding debt service. Source: Jan. 2016 Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo)

The Early Voting Window for April 5 is Quickly Closing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 10:03

voteridRecently passed Republican legislation changes absentee/early voting rules in Wisconsin, making the window for early voting very small and more difficult to use for many working people.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 March 2016 10:48
Pro-pollution Bills Push Wisconsin Backwards PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 25 March 2016 11:08

walkerScott Walker signs the last of the nasty bills that Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald plopped on his desk, and Wisconsin keeps going backwards.

MADISON - We’re still waiting to see whether Scott Walker signs the last of the nasty bills that Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald plopped on his desk.

Here’s one of them:

Bill to ease sulfur dioxide pollution enforcement goes to Walker

Speaking of pollution, Tuesday was World Water Day, and Wisconsin keeps going backwards as far as protecting this vital resource goes, as we noted here:

Wisconsin all wet on World Water Day

For the big Wisconsin Supreme Court race on April 5, we just updated our files on the outside groups that are throwing their money around:

Hijacking Campaign 2016 updated with new PAC and issue ad group activity

And I’m still very concerned about the John Doe II appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, so I wrote the following open letter to the DAs involved:

Letter to DAs in John Doe II case appeal

I hope these postings interest you.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 March 2016 11:22
UWM Coach Jeter Firing About More Than Sports PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lena Taylor, State Senator, 4th District   
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 09:15

rob-jeterCoach Rob Jeter had a winning record, a commitment to the community, and he was the only senior administrator of color in the Athletics Department. Sen. Lena Taylor questions the blatant under representation of people of color both in the UWM administration and in the student body.

MILWAUKEE - This past week, the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee made a seemingly abrupt decision to fire Coach Rob Jeter. This is a man that has dedicated well over a decade to our athletic program. During his time as coach, he led the Panthers through the conference tournament championship in 2013-14, conference regular season champion in 2010-11 and seven winning seasons.

Amanda BraunMore than that, he is a leader in the community. Coach Jeter held the position of Campus Chair of the State Employees Combined Campaign and is always keeping a constant focus on community outreach. He also was the only senior administrator of color in the Athletics Department.

Only 33% of currently enrolled freshman at UWM are students of color, and only 18.1% are student athletes of color. The blatant under representation of people of color both in the administration and in the student body is something that cannot be ignored.

Further, I feel that Amanda Braun, the current athletic director, has had a hit out for him since she took up her position. I do hope that UWM can make the inclusion of people of color a larger focus in the future and not allow great people like Coach Jeter to be let go. I am certain he will be missed by many.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2016 09:53
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