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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


How Wisconsin missed out on health care

The debate in the Wisconsin Legislature over turning down millions of dollars in federal funding to expand Medicaid was painful to watch. And now Wisconsin is reaping the results of that awful decision, even as states around us benefit from fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion. The contrast is stark: Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites are losing their health care coverage for no reason at all. >More
 Lawmaker contacts shouldn't be secret in Wisconsin

Sandy Whisler was surprised to see her name appear on the Wisconsin State Journal's editorial page -- not in a letter to the editor, which she sometimes writes, but in a Nov. 20 editorial. Whisler, a retired educator in Lake Mills, had emailed four state legislators urging them to hold hearings on proposed bills to create a nonpartisan process for legislative redistricting -- the redrawing of voter boundaries after every ten-year Census. >More
 Why Wisconsin's new John Doe probe scares conservatives

To understand the John Doe probes that have continued to dog Gov. Scott Walker, it's instructive to remember the "caucus scandal" from a decade ago. For many years Republican and Democratic legislators maintained caucus staffs that essentially were paid by the taxpayers to campaign on public time. In 2002 prosecutors launched an investigation of ringleaders in this sleazy system, which resulted in convictions of five legislators and several staff members from both parties. >More
 The Republican-led Wisconsin Legislature rams through antidemocratic bills

Poor Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). The Assembly minority leader's role seems to be as the face of a bygone, good-government era in Wisconsin history, looking on in horror as state Republicans run roughshod over everything from open meetings law to voting rights in their frenzied rush to convert our state into a one-party kleptocracy. >More
 Wisconsin conservation tradition under attack

At dinner last week we knew where our food came from. Exactly where it came from. We knew it was a doe, probably 2 years old. We knew the exact date and time on which it had been shot and on what piece of land. And we knew where the cut of meat (the tenderloin or "backstrap") came from on that deer. >More
 The attack on local control by Wisconsin Republicans

The last budget session was a lovely one for AT&T and other wireless phone providers. Lobbyists for these companies had pushed for legislation in countless states to end local control over the installation of cell phone towers, with mixed success. But no state was more receptive to these lobbyists than Wisconsin, where Republican legislators on the Joint Finance Committee grabbed the bill as written by telecom lobbyists, plunked it into the budget bill and sent it on to the full Legislature, which passed it. >More
 Customers shouldn't subsidize bad decisions by the Madison Water Utility

Seven months ago, I wrote a piece for Isthmus that argued that Wisconsin water utilities are "shirking their responsibilities in order to become cash cows for fiscally strapped municipalities." In a nutshell, the problem is that some water utilities are transferring excessive revenue to the city governments that own them rather than using those funds to replace depreciated infrastructure. >More
 Pushing back against Republican lawlessness over Act 10

When Dane Country Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas held officials in Gov. Scott Walker's administration in contempt this week, he was pushing back against a level of unchecked lawlessness by this administration that is "practically seditious," says attorney Lester Pines. >More
 Indian mascot names need to go

What if they were the Mukwonago Polacks? There was a time not so long ago when that derisive term for Poles was commonly used even in the Polish neighborhood I grew up in on the south side of Milwaukee. And, in truth, the term can still be used without offense among my own people, just as a similarly degrading term to describe African Americans can be used among American blacks without insult while it would be a huge affront if it came from me. >More
 The downfall of Dennis Smith

Just two months into his governorship, Scott Walker signed a law removing 37 state positions from civil service requirements, including 14 general counsels. The law was criticized by Wisconsin Common Cause and others, who argued it would politicize these positions and make information less accessible to the public. >More
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