The Wisconsin idea dies in the Assembly - watch it and weep

The Assembly is currently in the process of concurrence with the changes in the far-reaching bills the Senate recently passed. Democrats are currently trying to drag out discussion on the bill, while the Republicans are are attempting to cut off debate under Assembly rules. Democrats are attempting to question the outright lies brought out by the Republicans on campaign finance changes.

Friday Night in Madison

Kathleen Vinehout
Friday Night in Madison
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
It was Friday night at 5:00 pm.
 
Most people were leaving work and looking forward to the weekend. Maybe they headed to see friends and family at the fish fry or watch the prep football playoffs.
 
At that same hour, Senators received details on two very important bills. Legislation that rewrote laws related to elections, campaign finance, lobbying and the ethics of elected officials.
 
Leaders kept details about changes to the bills secret until the last minute. Details we had not seen; the press had not read; no member of the public had an opportunity to provide comment. 
 
By 7:00 pm, the Senate debate on the two bills began. Final Senate passage happened before the sun came up on Saturday morning. Most Wisconsinites did not hear the debate or see the vote. No TV news cameras observed the Senate. Most reporters had gone home. Senate galleries were mostly empty.   

Canada and Wisconsin: Friends and Partners

Kathleen Vinehout
Canada and Wisconsin: Friends and Partners
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Did you know a third of everything Wisconsin sells to the world we sell to Canada? And more visitors come to Wisconsin from Canada than any other country?
 
Wisconsin recently celebrated Canada Day at the Capitol. We welcomed Canadian Consul General Roy Norton. He brought along a host of facts about Wisconsin’s relationship with Canada.
 
Many of us think the ideal summer vacation is going north – this summer my husband and son enjoyed a canoe trip in Canada. Fortunately, Canadians like to head south. Wisconsin welcomed over 300,000 Canadian visitors who spent $65 million last year.
 

Why do we allow cells phones in school?

By now we have all seen the vicious takedown of a teen in a South Carolina classroom by a resource officer, an incident apparently prompted by the student’s insistence on texting from her cell phone.

 Setting aside the officer’s reaction, which was totally unjustified, I think it may be an opportune moment to discuss why we allow students to carry cell phones in school.

It's Official - Paul Ryan is speaker

Paul Ryan

I find myself in the really odd position of thinking that the GOP could have made a worse choice. This is what it has come to, when we are settling for the least of a number of evils. I think we can look forward to continued nonsense from the house under Ryan's leadership, and perhaps continuing threats of government shutdown because the Tea Party representatives are grumpy about trivialities. Nonetheless, it probably could have been worse.

Ryan was elected this morning with 236 of the required 218 votes. Let's hope for the best, but I'm not convinced.

Don’t Kill the Referees

Kathleen Vinehout
 
Don’t Kill the Referees
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Just do the right thing,” my doctor told me. We were discussing politics. We just finished reviewing the x-rays of my new hip replacement. My doctor wanted to offer a little advice to my colleagues in the Senate.
 
“People want you to think of them,” he said. “They don’t want you to make decisions on what’s best for the party – whoever’s in power. They want you to make the best decision for the people.
 
“The problem,” I told him, “is that the interest groups are pulling the parties further and further apart. They don’t want to compromise. It’s very hard for the leaders of both parties to say ‘No’ to their favorite interest group.”

Daily Newsletter -- it's back!

Those of you who are subscribed to our daily newsletter have probably noticed that it has been incredibly silent as of late. It's the joys of trying to produce a news source with no funding, I'm afraid.

Anyway, I finally found the time to do at least a rough workaround to make the newsletter ship out again, so as of Monday those of you on the mailing list should start getting the email every weekday at 7 AM.  If you're not subscribed and would like to, there's a handy signup form on the front page of the site on the right.

I am also working on some performance and caching improvements which you will probably start seeing over the next few weeks.

Last Week's disastrous bills

Dana Wachs and Katrina Shankland discuss the trifecta of horrors passed by the assembly last week.  Still more coming next week.  Halloween was never so frightening.

By the way - I highly recommend Dana's Wachs Talks series on Youtube. Great progressive discussion from a legislative hero (and great neighbor).

Wachs Talks Episode 23 - October 22, 2015

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