ACLU loses court fight over voter ID's

Judge Lynn Adelman today ruled against the ACLU in the lawsuit they had brought to allow a wider range of ID's to be used for voting in Wisconsin.

The ACLU had wanted technical college IDs, out-of-state driver licenses and veterans photo IDs to be ruled as acceptable forms of ID for voting purposes. Judge Adelman refused this request on various grounds - stating that the out of state plaintiffs all had passports, there's been no firm ruling on whether tech school ID's are acceptable, and that the plaintiffs with military ID's had all obtained other forms of identification. In essence, he ruled that the particular plaintiffs in the suit did not have standing because they had other means of voting - this does not help the people who either have not figured out how to obtain ID or who cannot manage it for one reason or another.

You may remember that Judge Adelman had previously been the judge who, in the same US District Court, had ruled the Voter ID law unconstitutional last year. This of course has since been overturned.

It's going to be painful to watch the 2016 election if the list of acceptable ID's is small, the law will (almost certainly) be enforced, and the state Republicans have their way with doing away with the Government Accountability Board and replacing it with two new bodies in the short period of time before the election.

Vos Bill opens the door on “dark money” in campaigns

Kathleen Vinehout
 
Vos Bill opens the door on “dark money” in campaigns
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“This bill strengthens democracy because it allows more citizens to participate,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Wisconsin State Journal. Vos is the lead author of a bill to overhaul the state’s campaign finance law.
 
Wisconsin was an early leader in campaign finance reforms of 1911 that limited money in campaigns and provided “rigorous penalties” including disqualifying candidates and sending them to prison. Ironically, the effort over 100 years ago was led by legislative Republicans.

Lisa Subeck - Assembly Republicans set to usher in a new era of corruption

MADISON – Today, Representative Lisa Subeck (D-78) gave the following remarks at a press conference
regarding three Republican bills (AB 68, AB 387, and AB 388) that would usher in a new era of corruption in
Wisconsin.
“This week, Republicans are poised to usher in a new era of corruption. Three dangerous bills will be
considered this week by the State Assembly. The first bill exempts politicians from John Doe proceedings. The
second bill dismantles the Government Accountability Board. Finally, there is a third bill, that we are here to
focus on today, which radically rewrites our campaign finance laws.

Full content of the press release is in attached PDF file.

Strong Resume of "will start masters degree" qualifies for Director of Federal Relations

In the usual Friday afternoon news dump that we have grown to expect from our governor, the citizens of Wisconsin are treated with another weak resume.  This should give us all concern regarding the Republicans' plan to dismantle the current civil service system and  the replacement of civil service exams with "resumes".   I don't think that a PhD with 20 years experience who had signed the recall could have under any circumstances taken this job from the sycophant in the baseball cap. Kyle's current salary is approximatly $33,000.

Rep. Hintz - Manufactured Band-Aid Can’t Hide Republican Budget Mess

(MADISON)  Following the announcement by the Department of Administration that the 2015 fiscal year ended with a $135 million balance, Legislative Republicans congratulated themselves on an end of fiscal year “surplus” that was $381 million less than the budget balance they started with.

 

Contrary to claims made by Republicans about “careful budgeting” and growing revenue that produced the year end $135 million balance, the reality is the budget fixes relied on skipping debt payments, raiding compensation reserves, and capturing two years of Potawatomi gaming payments in one year.

 

Putting Political Parties Back in Charge of Elections and Ethics?

Kathleen Vinehout
Putting Political Parties Back in Charge of Elections and Ethics?
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Wisconsin is the only state with a truly nonpartisan board structure,” wrote Professor Daniel Tokaji in 2013. The Ohio State law professor hailed the Government Accountability Board as “America’s Top Model” of nonpartisan elections.
 
Clean elections and corruption free elected officials are goals most of us share. Yet few states have laws that truly create a nonpartisan watchdog to assure public confidence. Wisconsin is blessed to be a national leader.
 
“The United States is an outlier among democratic countries when it comes to the institutions charged with running our democratic elections,” Professor Tokaji wrote in the UC Irvine Law Review. He continued, “There is one conspicuous exception to the partisan character of state election administration: Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB).”
 
The GAB and its staff have received several awards and accolades.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Denounces Republican Plan to Smash the GAB

 

 

For Immediate Release
October 7, 2015
Contact:  Matt Rothschild
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
(608) 255-4260
______________________________________________________________


Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Denounces Republican Plan
to Smash the GAB


“A Disgraceful Move, Constructed on a Pile of Lies, and a Recipe for More Scandal”

 
MADISON—The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign blasted the bill the Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature just introduced to do away with the Government Accountability Board, the state’s ethics and elections watchdog.

          “It’s a disgraceful move, constructed on a pile of lies, and it’s a recipe for more scandal,” said Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Announcement of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin issued the following statement after an agreement was reached among the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):

 

“This deal was hatched in secret behind closed doors so I look forward reviewing it and seeing if it’s another unfair trade deal that stacks the deck against Wisconsin workers. The United States Trade Representative should immediately make the details of this deal available to the American people.

 

“The people of Wisconsin deserve more than the same failed promises from unfair trade deals that lead to job losses. Wisconsin workers make things, and we have been one of the top manufacturing states for generations. If we hope to continue making things, we need a fair trade deal that respects and rewards the hard work of Americans. Any deal that does not help level the playing field for the American worker will not have my support – from currency manipulation to state-owned enterprises to labor standards, American workers shouldn’t be put at a disadvantage by unfair trade deals that rig the game against our Made in America economy.”

 

An online version of this release is available here.

How Dismantling Civil Service is happening in Wisconsin One Step at a Time

How Dismantling Civil Service is happening in Wisconsin One Step at a Time
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Please do what you can to stop the dismantling of the civil service system,” Mary from Trempealeau County asked me.
 
Mary is a retired social worker. Her call is one of a number of contacts I received lately from residents unhappy with a bill that would change state employment. Residents expressed concern that government jobs will be filled with political friends and relatives of those in power and will fail to serve its citizens.
 
A newly introduced bill would do away with examinations for state jobs. Under the bill, every resume for filling 30,000 state positions would go to the behemoth state Department of Administration (DOA) and into the hands of political appointees. The bill would keep employees on probation for two years and use new vague language to fire state employees.

Court of Appeals rules EPA did not protect water from invasives

Update --- a few links at the bottom.

In a ruling that will probably have far-ranging effects, the 2nd District Court of Appeals has ruled that the EPA has failed to protect the nation's water from invasive species under the Clean Water Act.

According to Mark Smith, policy director of the National Wildlife Federation:

“This is a huge win for our environment, economy, fish, wildlife, communities, and businesses. The court, in no uncertain terms, has told the federal government that it needs to uphold its responsibility under the Clean Water Act to protect our drinking water, jobs, and way of life. This decision is welcome news for the millions of families, anglers, hunters, paddlers, beach-goers, and business owners, who have borne the brunt of damages from aquatic invasive species for far too long. We look forward to working with the U.S. EPA to put in place safeguards that adhere to the Clean Water Act and protect all of our nation’s waters that are essential for people, fish, and wildlife. It’s time to slam the door on this serious threat once and for all.”

We'll try to have more info for you as it becomes available.

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