New Transportation Ideas Needed to Handle More Intense Storms

Kathleen Vinehout
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
Winter came to Buffalo County. The weather turned to snow and then to ice.
In our hilly part of the world, rural people are used to finding new ways out of the valleys during bad weather. However, for residents living in Schoepps Valley (pronounced “Sheps”) the usual way out is not an option.

Army denies easement for Dakota Access Pipeline - construction halted

People at the Oceti Sakowin Camp are rejoicing this afternoon as the Army has announced that the Corps of Engineers is denying the easement for the pipeline under Lake Oahe. This essentially halts construction for the time being, and the Army Corps of Engineers is planning for an Environmental Impact Study with public input.

Request for immediate halt of recount denied

Today Judge James Peterson denied the request filed by two PACs supporting Donald Trump. The request asked fro an immediate temporary halt of the recount in Wisconsin. The judge ruled that allowing the recount to proceed would not hurt anything, and that the recount may proceed while the lawsuit makes its way through the federal court system. 

Judge Peterson has scheduled a hearing for the suit on Dec. 9. This is three days before the recount will need to be completed so that the results may be filed in time for the vote of the Electoral College.

Where did "The Feed" Go?

You may or may not have noticed that The Feed disappeared from the site today, and from the top menu. We've run that feature for several years now on the site.  It's a Rebelmouse page, and it has always been kind of a fun and nifty feature. Unfortunately Rebelmouse is changing quite a lot, and they've dropped their free plan,and the new non-free plans are way out of my price range. We were grandfathered in, but although they are doing a whole lot of neat stuff with their paid platform, things are not changing particularly on the free sites. There will be some more new stuff going on here and over on as time goes on, but The Feed is now dead here. 

Trump supporters file suit to stop recount

This is probably not a surprising move, but groups supporting Donald Trump have filed suit this morning to stop the recount in Wisconsin. The suit was filed by numerous plaintiffs including The Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC. 

The gist of the complaint is that there is not a consistent method for determining the intent of voters on ballots that may not be decisive. They are depending on the Bush v. Gore precedent as a defense of their position. In general the argument is that there is not a standard to ensure that votes will be treated equally in different jurisdictions. There is also not time to develop and promote a standard fast enough to make the deadline of the federal safe harbor law.  Reports appear to be that the elections commission is asking canvassers to continue the recount until such time that there is a legal decision.  Fasten your seatbelts, this will continue to be a bumpy ride. 

Smoke clears, recount to begin Thursday

As you will see in the Storify article below, a lot happened yesterday RE: the recount. Please follow the links in the Storify for external documents. 

The Stein campaign made a wire transfer to the state of 3.5 million dollars shortly before the deadline.  An interesting sidelight is that somehow when tallying the estimates of all of the counties, a mistake was made, and the Stein campaign was invoiced for 3.5 million when it should have been 3.9 million.  My guess is that the esitmates were probably high (if I were a county clerk I would have decided to err on the high side rather than the low side too) so this may all come out in the wash.  In any case, the Stein campaign will be on the hook for the total recount costs, and will be given a refund if the cost is lower than the estimate, so this may all come out in the wash.  The estimate was considerably higher than anyone anticipated, so Stein is off raising more money to cover the other states in which they are issuing recount petitions.

Drama unfolded late last night as Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled that the Stein campaign had not met the rather strong standard in the law for requesting a totally hand recount. Therefore, individual counties will have the right to decide whether to use scanners to re-scan the votes filed by scanner ballots, or to hand count them .  In any case, all of the ballots are inspected as they are fed into the scanner. Votes made on totally electronic voting machines will be hand-counted from the paper tapes that provide an audit trail from those machines.  This is  long and laborious process - I did this as a volunteer during the last state-wide recall and it takes quite a while to count those votes and tabulate them. It is not clear how difficult it will be for the county canvasses to be completed by the deadline of 8 PM on Dec. 12, nor is it completely clear what will happen if the deadline is not met. 

The recount will start at 9 AM tomorrow morning. 

4:30 PM

The presidential recount in Wisconsin all boils down to 4:30 PM. 4:30 today is when the payment to the state is due to have the recount proceed. It's also the time that the hearing will take place in Madison to decide if the counties will be forced to do hand recounts of all ballots.

The list of estimated costs from the different counties also lists whether they intend to count all ballots by hand - it appears this is about a half and half mix. It's possible that a full hand recount will increase the cost of the recount, which the Stein campaign is already complaining about as being too high.  It will be an interesting afternoon in Madison.

The Best Idea for a Bill Comes from You!

Kathleen Vinehout

By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“Where do you get ideas for bills?” a woman at a café recently asked me.

“The best ideas for bills come from people like you,” I told her 

December begins a brief time of calm in the Capitol. But behind the scenes, lawmakers are working on new legislation. In the next few weeks I will be drafting bills to introduce in January. I am looking for your ideas!


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