Governor Walker's budget included a cut for the equivalent of 6 positions in the Elections Board, arguing that they could continue without those workers. This is interesting because it has been all too apparent that the board has bare-bones staffing for the ever-increasing requirements being placed upon them.
Apparently even Republicans on the JFC have realized that and have restored 5 of the 6 cut positions.
Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said the commission was "significantly understaffed" as it oversaw the 2016 election and presidential recount.
“This is the broadest, most dangerous bill you’ve never heard of.” I told my colleagues during a recent Senate debate. “It’s an obscure way to shut down government from doing something that the Legislature intended to do.”
Senate Bill 15, known by the initials REINS, would allow leaders of the Legislature to shut down the implementation of new laws if the leader found the new law too costly to implement. A version of the bill is moving toward passage at both the state and federal levels of government. I expect the state Assembly will soon take up the bill.
A little background; after a bill becomes law, agencies work on writing the details of how to implement the law. These details, known as Administrative Rules, are vetted by the Legislature through a committee and vetted by the public through hearings.
“Administrative Rules are the fine details of laws written by policy experts at state agencies.” said long-time Capitol reporter Shawn Johnson in an NPR story on the Senate passage of the REINS Act.
No shocking surprise here, but governor Walker says he is willing to consider getting an exemption for Wisconsin to opt out of crucial portions of the ACA if in fact those waivers make it through the Senate. So - you want good health insurance? Move to a state that supports it.
Remember - this exemption not only applies to the people who are on Obamacare currently but also applies to the folks who have insurance through their employer. This means that a cheapskate employer could fix it for their employees so they would have crappy low-cost insurance as well.
As always, if there is a race to the bottom, Scott Walker wants to get a jersey and participate.
A letter of support has been circulating for Mike McCabe of Blue Jean Nation to run for the governorship in 2018. I spoke today to Mike on the phone about this letter.
WISCONSINITES UNITE TO DRAFT MIKE McCABE FOR GOVERNOR
Dear Mike, We strongly urge you to run for governor. Our reason is obvious: the levers of political power have been seized and are being manipulated by those interested primarily in self-enrichment and personal power. The actions of those who currently control the Capitol are extremely short-sighted as well as morally and ethically corrupt, and sap our state of its underlying strength and vitality.
The people sense this, and are hungry for a different kind of leadership. You are the right answer. You are an upright man, not interested in self-enrichment or power for power’s sake, with a feeling for the needs of others and your country. We are aware that you would rather not run for office. With the landscape littered with professional politicians and career office holders, your understandable and admirable reluctance to run only makes you more appealing to us and enhances your viability as a candidate. Added to that, you are a natural leader, with a vision of what is right, a rare gift for putting that vision into words, along with uncommon sense about how to turn words into actions. Also, the timing is right.
“Imagine you could make the laws. What would you change about how things are run?” My question to the students spurred a long discussion about change in our world.
Almost 100 high school students recently participated in Trempealeau County Youth in Government Day. The daylong session was designed to encourage youth to become engaged in government. Students visited with county officials and staff about their work running county services.
During lunch, I spoke with the students about being a Senator and lawmaking. I encouraged them to think about laws as something they could someday change.
Teens told me they often think of the law as permanent. The day at the courthouse taught them things can change. They can be a part of change. The teens offered ideas that reflected their interests and experiences. Some focused on immediate concerns, “Get rid of the school dress code,” said Isabelle. Some had a larger vision.
“I want to save the horses sent across the Mexican border for meat,” said Raquel. We talked about the work of horse rescue groups who give time and money to help abandoned horses.
The following are some videos from Glenn Grothman's recent town hall in Neenah - embarrassingly, the plac where I grew up. This includes a few choice words from Grothman on climate change (in the 70's we were worried about global cooling, and that never happened, so ---), shutting down Planned Parenthood (you can get your birth control at the grocery store), and a lot of other topics. So - first up, climate change, then Planned Parenthood, then the entire town hall. Thank you to Dan Wilson for the videos. And the rest of you - on those rare occasions when your congress-critter has a town hall, we'd love to see the video or audio.
Mike McCabe spoke to the full Assembly Meeting of the Citizen Action Western Wisconsin Organizing Co-op yesterday. I was slightly surprised by the Q&A portion of the talk, which lead with the question "when are you running for Governor". We'll be talking to Mike more about this later in the week. This takes place at the beginning of the Q&A video. Do yourself a favor and watch the whole talk, though. It made for an interesting and fruitful afternoon. Please excuse the video quality - it was a great time and a great room, but the lighting was terrible for video.