A space for civil discussion of Wisconsin (and national) politics. People who do not maintain a civil tone or who are threatening will be removed from this space. In this context consider politics in a wide sense - not just inter-party squabbling.

User-Contributed Politics News

Divided, but Not Broken Government

Senator Elect Jeff Smith

As I traversed western Wisconsin last year campaigning to be the new 31st District State Senator, it was clear we’ve been fortunate to have Kathleen Vinehout serve as our Senator for the last twelve years.

Kathleen Vinehout - Saying Goodbye

And today we also say Good By to Kathleen as a columnist.  We have run a great many of her columns over the years, and we only wish we could look forward to more of them. 

Vinehout - Conversations with Constituents

Kathleen Vinehout

“You all lie, steal and cheat,” the Sparta woman told me. I did not know her, and when I disagreed, she said “Well, you will.”

Then she smiled and handed me a piece of the chocolate bar she was eating.

The year was 2006. I was a rookie candidate passing out literature at the Butterfest parade. I don’t think I will ever forget that woman.

A Long Day's Journey Into Night

Madison Capitol at Night

As Wisconsinites, we have grown used to odd political moves, late-night sessions, and closed-door policymaking. But the events of last night and the early morning are stunning. 

Lame Duck Session - where we stand

Wisconsin State Senate Floor Session

The Senate, after several hours of recess, has come back into session. Earlier in the day the Senate voted along party lines to approve 82 appointments that suddenly appeared on the floor. The Senate also voted to pass one of the three bills that remained, covering tax breaks to pass-through tax entities and funding for road construction in the state. This was considered the least controversial of the bills.

Live Streaming from the Capitol

WisEye Morning Minute: News Conference - Pre-JFC Public Hearing

Where we are now?   The Senate has amazingly re-convened after several hours, took up some amendments, at which point the Democrats decided to go into caucus to discuss the amendments. The BOTTOM video is the current live stream of the Senate session. There also apparently are plans for the Assembly to finally convene at 10 PM. 

Live stream of hearing on lame duck bills

Joint Committee on Finance

Watch here!  The stream on the wiseye.org site has been pretty unreliable, probably due to the number of people watching.  They seem to now have a live stream on YouTube which is embedded here. 

Speed and Secrecy: The Last Act

Kathleen Vinehout

If you were a legislative leader in Wisconsin, and had an opportunity to pass new laws before your party’s governor left office, what would you do? What would you fix as your last act in power?

As I face my last Senate votes, I am working hard to understand what laws my Republican colleagues choose to pass before the new Democratic Governor takes office.

Comparing Wisconsinites' Health In 2018, County By County

Health is strongly influenced by where people live. Key factors that shape the health of Wisconsinites differ around the state, as does overall health. The factors affecting how healthy people in a community are include rates of smoking, poverty levels, access to health care services, and even commuting patterns. These factors help to create differences in both quality and length of life in all of Wisconsin's 72 counties.

Vinehout - Preserving our hunting heritage

Opening weekend of gun deer season, conditions were nearly perfect. The weather was cool, but not too cold. The sun came out and warmed us. A light dusting of snow made it easy to see critters’ tracks from the night before.

I saw nine deer opening morning. What an abundance!



There is no content in this space.

Recent Activity


Today, June 24

  • Steve Hanson

    Changes to News Link
    Joint Finance Votes by Agency (http://legis.wisconsin.gov/democrats/2019-21-state-budget/joint-finance-budget-votes/?fbclid=IwAR3nn3c1rbK1ZoGlY46U-Ah7Y3fyPTr6pq_v6nTg4IUnE0YuooLs40qnDcg)
    Read more
  • Steve Hanson

    Changes to Open Atrium Section
    Politics News
    Changes to News Article Type
    Read more
  • Your profile picture

    Two weeks ago, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) passed their version of the state budget 12 to 4, along party lines. The full Senate scheduled a vote this week on the budget, a vote that may demonstrate the true callousness of politics in our state.

    The first thing Governor Tony Evers did after winning his election last fall was go to the people to develop the budget. The first thing Republicans did with the Governor’s budget was throw it away.

    It’s the job of party leaders to use their talking points. Republicans and Democrats will always have sharp differences on how to govern, but we can all agree how democracy should work.

    The majority of voters chose Governor Tony Evers. He campaigned on Medicaid expansion to help 82,000 more citizens afford healthcare. As a legislator, I am duty bound to consider how to make what you want and voted for a reality.

    When voters elected our top-public school official as Governor, they were looking for leadership and a vision for fixing the failing school funding formula. We ought to take Governor Evers’ proposals for public education and special education funding seriously. We heard what you wanted in the gubernatorial election and I continue to hear your opinions every day in Madison and out in the 31st Senate District.

    The budget we’ll be voting on isn’t what the people voted for last fall. Republican leaders discarded the creative investments in the Peoples’ Budget and replaced them with stale and unimaginative ideas.

    We’ll be asked to vote on a budget that abandons the will of the people in so many ways.

    1. The Republican budget rejects full Medicaid expansion. Did Republicans forget they already partially accepted Medicaid in 2013? Why not join the 37 other states that already fully accepted Medicaid? It would free up $325 million more to spend on other priorities. It would lower health insurance premiums up to 11% in the private market.

    1. The Republican budget doesn’t do enough for people who drink lead-contaminated water everyday by rejecting Governor Evers’ proposal to replace lead service lines. Urban and rural communities are struggling with budget constraints, so now is the time for Wisconsin legislators to step up and ensure our children aren’t being poisoned by the water they drink.

    1. Republicans refused to acknowledge the potential for groundwater contamination from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) by rejecting Governor Evers’ plan to raise permit fees to pay for more CAFO inspections.

    1. The Republican transportation plan rejects Governor Evers modest eight-cents per gallon increase and slams Wisconsin drivers with tax hikes by more than doubling the titling fee and increasing registration fees by $10. That means Wisconsin...

    Read more