Cap Times Editorial: Dianne Hesselbein stands up for veterans — and responsible governance

State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, is objecting to the rushed process that Republicans on the Assembly Veterans and Military Affairs Committee have adopted with regard to legislation that would change how the state serves and assists veterans.

As they so often do, the Republicans have adopted the tactic of scheduling a quick public hearing, and then they plan to immediately have a committee vote on a controversial measure.

And yet it's just one of many bills given the bum's rush through our legislature.  Aren't these the guys who were always complaining about the "we have to vote for it to see what's in it" Obamacare bill? Can't their donors wait a few weeks?

WLCV on water privatization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 28th, 2016
CONTACT: Jonah Hermann, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, (920) 860-1416 -or- [email protected]

AB 554, Water Privatization Bill
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Statement

MADISON, WI -- In response to the Senate committee vote on Assembly Bill 554, the Water Privatization Bill, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Executive Director, Kerry Schumann, issued the following statement:

"The eyes of the world are on Flint, Michigan right now, as their citizens suffer from lead poisoning simply because they used water from their tap to drink, bathe, and cook. The crisis in Flint points to the critical need to have access to clean drinking water and effective sewer systems for the health and well being of any community, and makes us realize that unsafe drinking water is not just a problem in less developed countries.

In fact, it’s a problem right here in Wisconsin – a problem that could get much worse if AB 554 is voted into law.

JFC Dems: New Budget Numbers Show $158 Million Drop in Revenue


Representative Gordon Hintz 608-266-2254

Senator Jon Erpenbach 608-266-6670

Representative Chris Taylor 608-266-5342

Senator Lena Taylor 608-266-5810


The Real State of the State

New Budget Numbers Show $158 Million Drop in Revenue


Madison – Less than 48 hours after Governor Walker bragged that “state finances are stable”, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s updated revenue report showed that Wisconsin is expected to take in $158 million less in revenue due to Republicans’ unsuccessful economic policies and failure to increase the household income of working families.


Just six months into the budget, the revised projection has fallen short.  The lower revenue projection was attributed to lower than expected income tax revenue due to the majority party’s failure to do anything to increase working families’ take home pay.

Western Wisconsin Citizen Action Cooperative meeting


Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 5:30pm

I'm writing today to remind you about Thursday and what an important day it is for NW Wisconsin.

 Starting at 5:30 at 714 S. Barstow St. in Eau Claire when we officially begin our own Western Wisconsin Citizen Action Cooperative. You will get the opportunity to ask questions, listen to ideas and become a full-fledged member of our own progressive activist organizing cooperative. Beginning on Thursday evening we will be counting down as we search for and sign up over 200 members in 60 days to support and influence our political future in NW Wisconsin. With a full-time organizer all year-round guided by a board selected by our members we will put the brakes on the backward slide we have been on and move our state forward again. Join us on Thursday with your passion and ideas!

  Then at 7:00 you might walk (or drive) over to the Unitarian Church on S. Farwell St. for a very important debate between judge candidates for Eau Claire County. My good friend John Manydeeds is challenging the Walker appointed judge Brian Wright. This should be good! And, next to the supreme court campaign, there is no more important race on the ballot this spring.

  Once again, I just want to emphasize that your presence is important. If you are unable to attend, please contact me or click on this link
to learn more and join now! We need each other to make this work.

Thank you,

Jeff Smith
[email protected]

Environment and Heritage yielding to state business again

The conservative revolution in the Wisconsin government has had a lot of casualties - schools, jobs, happiness ---

But perhaps the longest-lasting and least reversible casualties have  been the environment and the state's heritage. Two bills that are currently roaring through the legislature are particularly troubling. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Richard Gudex, R-Fond du Lac have introduced new legislation on fish farming in Wisconsin. As has been the trend, this is not a bill to ensure that fish farming be regulated to reduce its impact on the environment, but to turn fish farming into a free-for-all that will allow fish aquaculture in public waterways, lower requirements for flow-through on dams involved with aquaculture, and make aquaculture an "agricultural use" on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway - this will allow much-lessened restrictions on fish farming on land adjacent to the Wisconsin. Senate Bill 493 was introduced on Jan. 4 and a hearing was scheduled for it on Jan. 5 - making it nearly impossible for concerned citizens to follow along and get to the hearing. This has become a disturbing pattern. The companion Assembly Bill 640 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, so perhaps that will be a place where citizens can register their concerns.

The Uppity Fund - It's Back!

Every election cycle about this time we set up a fund on ActBlue that makes it easy to make a one-click donation to progressive candidates. This is my own hand-picked selection of candidates for state elections, as well as president. You can donate and divide your donation among all those candidates by clicking on the thermometer on the front page. You can also divide your donation up however you want on the donation page.

It's going to be a tough and pivotal election. Despite what you might think from the press coverage, elections are not completely about money, but money is sure heavily involved, and until we can manage to take more of the money out of politics we're going to have to play the game to survive. 

Speed and Secrecy Kill Democracy

Kathleen Vinehout

Speed and Secrecy Kill Democracy


Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“How can we digest all your work in this short amount of time?” Senator Bewley asked the Chair of the housing committee and author of the bill before her. An amendment replacing the bill was released just before the hearing on that bill.

“How can we have a thoughtful and intelligent discussion...we just got this stinking thing a few hours ago.”

The bill, SB 464 (which has an Assembly companion - AB 582) was complex. The bill’s author said he wanted to avoid “moving the goal post” on a development project. Among other things, the bill froze in place laws on an industrial development once a minor approval (like a driveway permit) was granted even if the project would not be completed for years.

The Towns Association called the legislation, “One of the most damaging bills to local control in recent memory.”

Indian Country TV Live Stream of Save the Mounds rally

As I am sure many of you are aware, the state legislature is in the process of fixing another of the state's protective laws to suit the needs of business by allowing companies to destroy Native American effigy mounds. Of course the explanation here is that this is only allowed if nobody can "prove" that there are human remains in the mound. This is ludicrous in that the age of these mounds makes it nearly impossible to prove that there are remains -  plus they are part of the states and the Native American heritage whether bodies are buried in them or not. At some point we need to start conserving our state and protecting it from the need to profit at any cost. There will be a rally at the capitol on Tuesday Jan 12 at noon. Indian Country TV will live stream the rally and you can watch it below or at their site at noon. In the meantime take a look at some of the other news and other coverage they provide on the player.

Watch live streaming video from indiancountrytv at

This is what racism looks like!


The sheets are off.  The Republicans are now saying in public what they have been saying to each other in private for years.  The racism in the party is so ingrained that they cannot see it themselves.  The fact is that this guy is not only serious, but also sarcastic about an unemployment situation that has caused poverty and crime.  Talgo had already located in the center of Milwaukee when Walker turned away $800,000,000 for the railroad expansion from Milwaukee to Madison which subsequently cause the train manufacturer to leave Milwaukee.

Whose Property Rights Are Most Important?

Kathleen Vinehout
Whose Property Rights Are Most Important?
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“My neighbor likes to expand his lot,” Kelly told me. “First he put up a stone fence on our property and then he built a jungle gym for his kids on his other neighbor’s property.” The fence stayed but the jungle gym came down.
Laws and fences help make good neighbors.
Often these “laws” are ordinances passed by local communities. We decide collectively what works for our neighborhood, and what works in some areas will not work in other areas. You can’t have roosters in most cities. But in some cities, you can keep a few hens.


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