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WI Democracy Campaign 'Inspiring/Appalling' PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 21 April 2017 10:48

madison_capitolReferendum to overturn Citizens United, hate Jill Stein bill is bad, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and more...


MADISON - I spent a lot of time in the State Capitol in Madison this week, and some of it was inspiring and some of it was appalling.

matt-rothschildOn the inspiring side, I attended a terrific press conference on Wednesday, where Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. David Hansen discussed the legislation they were introducing for a statewide referendum on amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United. Grassroots organizers from around the state held up hand-made signs saying how popular the vote was in their communities for just such an amendment. Here’s our post on this:

Why we need a statewide referendum to help overturn Citizens United

On the appalling side, I attended a hearing on a lousy bill to limit the ability of candidates to call for a recount, even if they agreed to pay for it, and I was astonished by how rude the Republican legislators on the committee were to their Democratic counterparts, whose questions repeatedly were interrupted or cut off. Here’s the testimony I gave on this bill:

Why the “We Hate Jill Stein” bill is bad

Also appalling in the Capitol this week was an effort by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce to torpedo a good bill brought by Republican Sen. Robert Cowles that would help homeowners pay to replace their lead water pipes. God forbid we help homeowners deal with a public health hazard!

WMC opposes bill to help you get rid of lead pipes

And finally, I went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court this morning to watch the justices debate whether they should pass a tighter recusal rule. I was disgusted by what I saw:

Hack job at high court in Wisconsin on recusal petition

But back to the inspiring side of the ledger: It’s Earth Day on Saturday! I’m looking forward to all the celebrations and protests, and I hope you can join in, too.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

P.S. Please send us a tax-deductible donation to support our urgent work. Just click here. Or mail it in the old-fashioned way: Make the check out and send to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign at the below address. Thanks!

 
Inexperienced President Should Follow World Law PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Debbie Metke, Franksville, WI   
Friday, 21 April 2017 09:35

trump-nuclearWars easy to start, peace takes hard work.


MILWAUKEE - So our new president’s inexperienced eyes have been opened and he is now forced to see what is really going on in the world; and his choice is to start making unilateral bomb strikes using some of the biggest weapons we have. It appears our country loves to use the macho “hammers” in our toolkit, easily starting wars that ultimately cascade into unending quicksand bogs of death and bankruptcy, while creating more terror and hatred to last generations.

nagasakiDon’t get me wrong. I, like everyone, am heartsick over the suffering in Syria and scared by North Korean’s nuclear tests. But will these strikes and threats start a peace process? What else could we do?

Einstein knew, as did Walter Cronkite, H.G. Wells, Winston Churchill and even Ulysses Grant: We citizens must demand a layer of world law that outlaws war and in-country genocide. Countries could start by revamping the United Nations, especially changing the Security Council voting structure.

The greatest minds have long plotted out the ideas needed, but hopefully world citizens will demand their representatives start the process before we are all scrapping out an existence in a pile of ash.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 April 2017 09:58
 
Blue Jean Nation 'Treasure in sport, rarity in politics' PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Monday, 17 April 2017 10:57

dick-bennettWisconsin's remarkable success in Basketball is based upon Dick Bennett's five pillars: Humility. Passion. Unity. Servanthood. Thankfulness. Qualities in short supply elsewhere in the Capitol these days.


ALTOONA, WI - Any idea which college has won the most NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament games in the past four years?

If you’re guessing North Carolina, guess again. If you think it’s Duke, you’re thinking wrong. Kentucky? Incorrect. Kansas? Wrong again. Villanova? Louisville? UCLA? Gonzaga? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The answer is the University of Wisconsin, with 13 tourney wins and four trips to the regional semifinals known as the Sweet Sixteen, two Final Four appearances and one run all the way to the national championship game.

The Badgers have made it to the national tournament the last 19 years straight. That streak started under coach Dick Bennett. The program’s remarkable success is built on a foundation of Bennett’s five pillars: HumilityPassionUnityServanthoodThankfulness. In fact, those five words to live by are literally cemented in the foundation of the arena the Badgers call home.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 April 2017 11:29
Read more...
 
Take a Stand Against Islamophobia After Brutal Milwaukee Attack PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Saturday, 15 April 2017 15:32

woman-hijabA man demanded she remove her hijab and beat her. We must stand up against the misguided hate and violence being fueled by a loud but small minority.


MADISON – Senator Chris Larson and Representative Jonathan Brostoff issued the following statement after a violent attack of a Milwaukee woman.

chris_larson“Our thoughts are with our neighbor as she recovers from a hateful, brutal attack. Hate crimes have been on the rise over the past year and, with each one, so has the response from the community to rise up and condemn it for what it is: a cowardly act from fringe individuals who pervert our American values.

“We must continue to stand up against the misguided hate and violence being fueled by a loud but small minority. Keeping America on the path of inclusion and opportunity depends on us standing up against hate each time it seeks to divert and diminish us.

Jonathan Brostoff“Beyond the hateful rhetoric spewed by the Republican president and his followers, real families are in imminent danger. This is not the America we strive for and it is not the history the majority of us want to be written.

“In January, we introduced the Resist Hate Joint Resolution. Over a hundred community members showed up at the press conference unveiling the legislative resolution to show solidarity with our Muslim neighbors. Hundreds more signed the Resist Hate petition. To date, Senate Republicans have failed to schedule this joint resolution (SJR 9/AJR 9) for a vote.

“We can wait no longer. We must, as a state, send a message that hate and violence will not be tolerated.”

****

The Resist Hate Joint Resolution has the support of ISM Milwaukee, Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition Voces de la Frontera, Milwaukee Turners, Inc., the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Veterans for Peace, Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Interfaith Conference of Prayer Milwaukee.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 April 2017 15:59
 
Voters Deserve Say On Voucher Spending PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Janet Bewley, State Senator Dist 25   
Saturday, 15 April 2017 10:09

kids-milwBill proposes same oversight voters have over public school revenue.


MADISON - The recent spring ballot gave Wisconsin voters sixty-five opportunities to cast votes on public school funding requests ranging from new facilities to basic operations. In Northern Wisconsin communities voters were able to approve an increase for classroom education and deferred maintenance in one district and decide against spending on a new facility in another.

Unfortunately -- when it comes to state-mandated spending on voucher schools -- voters didn’t have the same chance. State law mandates payouts to the statewide voucher program, which are significantly higher than the average state aid per student to public schools. And a change in the 2015 GOP state budget takes that higher payment directly out of public schools, leaving property taxpayers to make up the difference if it’s made up at all.

That’s why I worked with three of my colleagues to draft a bill that will give school district voters the same oversight of voucher spending that they currently have over public school revenue limits. Our legislation is simple and straightforward: No funds can be taken from a school district to pay voucher schools unless voters in that district approve in a referendum.

This legislation would not end taxpayer-funded voucher schools. It would simply give voucher school operators and their lobbyists the responsibility to make the case for the quality and value of their schools directly to the hard-working taxpayers and local voters who pay for them under current law.

janet-bewleyWisconsin’s public schools have long been national leaders and are the cornerstones of our communities, especially in rural and northern Wisconsin. These public schools have gone to referendum 334 times for operating costs and another 324 times for debt or new facilities since 2011. Even including modest increases the Governor proposed in his budget, state aid that supports public schools and reduces property taxes will not even keep pace with inflation over that period.

At the same time, and with no taxpayer oversight or control, spending on voucher programs in Wisconsin has more than doubled since the first Republican budget in 2011. Untold amounts are funneled from taxpayer-financed voucher schools to organizations that pay lobbyists to demand ever more from taxpayers. And local property taxpayers lose more to the voucher program than state aid would have brought in.

Voucher lobbyists themselves said recently that property taxpayers make up the difference, and then some, between state aid to public schools and state payments to voucher schools that are $1000-$1700 higher per student in the Governor’s budget. (Imagine how much lower your property taxes could be if the state’s commitment to public school students matched the amount my Republican colleagues pay out per student to voucher schools.)

It’s time for taxpayers to have a say in whether they want their dollars taken out of the schools that have served generations of Wisconsinites very well to fund the voucher industry. As long as voucher schools are being paid for by local taxpayers and districts are forced to face the voters to keep the lights on, local voters should have the same say on voucher spending they have on public schools.

And as long as voucher schools are being paid for by state tax dollars at all, students in public schools should be treated at least as well by their state government. It’s time for the state to step up to the plate the way voters have 441 times for our public schools since 2011. It’s time for the state to stop returning fewer of your state tax dollars per student to your public schools than we pay voucher schools.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 April 2017 10:19
 
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