Uppity Wisconsin

Welcome to the new home of Uppity Wisconsin - expect to see some changes soon.

News

Dana Wachs/Kathleen Vinehout Budget Town Hall

This is the town hall meeting that Kathleen Vinehout and Dana Wacs held on May 20, 2017 in Eau Claire, WI. They covered a large range of different topics, mostly concentrating on healthcare and the transportation budget. A lively discussion follows.  There were some equipment issues in the midst of recording this so it is recorded on two different cameras. I've attempted to even up the video quality and sound levels a little bit - but didn't completely succeed. Hoping to be able to afford a little bit of equipment upgrade as part of the Wis.Community project.





Uppitywis will be moving at some point

Just a quick note.  It's my intention to, some time in the next few months, move Uppity Wisconsin over to be one of the communities in WIs.community .  My goal here is to have one less web site to maintain, and to help out with the growth of the Wis.community platform.  This isn't going to be quick, it's currently a fairly low-level activity for me.  In general the goal here is to make the move as transparent as possible, and to have the site still appear at https://www.uppitywis.org and have all the blog posts appear in the same place.   So this willl probably not happen for a few months - just wanted to give everyone a heads up.





First the Good News!

Sheriff David A Clarke is leaving Milwaukee County and Wisconsin.

Now the bad news -- he's leaving to take a position as assistant secretary of Homeland Security. 

I am at the moment trying to imagine the working relationship between Clarke and John Kelly.  The Trump administration becomes more bizarre by the moment and continues to aim toward being dysfunctional. We'd been hearing rumors of this for month but it was hard to imagine  that this would actually happen, even with President Trump.  Perhaps, though, the county's sheriff's office will start to receive proper attention, and peole will stop dying mysteriously and horribly in the jail cells. 





Grothman says EPA worked, no longer needed

At an April 30 town hall, U.S. Rep., and Republican, Glenn Grothman, was asked if he would protect funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. His answer was stunning.

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JFC restores 5 of 6 cut Elections Board positions

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.





The poor don't work hard enough says Grothman

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, at a recent town hall, put taxpayers into three groups, the ultra-rich, the middle class and "those who could be working harder." No kidding. You can watch it here.

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“REINS Act” – New Power for Leaders to Stop Public Protections

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

“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.




Walker wants to put us into the "let's move to a different state" world

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.





AHCA Passes the house

The deplorable AHCA bill has passed in the house with 217 of the needed 216 yea votes. I am really glad to be headed to Medicare land shortly, but what about my kids?





Mike McCabe talks to us about his letter of support for the governorship

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.





Sen. Vinehout ~ Youth in Government Day Engages Teens

By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“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.




This is what we resist

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.





Surprising discussion with Mike McCabe

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.





Two people talking

I would like to today offer you something we see less and less of in the media - two smart informed people having a thought-provoking conversation.  I bring you Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky talking about the fresh hell being brought upon us by the Republican Party.





On Earth Day - a year to resist like no other

it is once again Earth Day, a day with deep ties to Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, and the Wisconsin Idea. Sadly the last few years have seen massive retrenchment in our commitment to the environment as a country. Our state, under Governor Walker's leadership, seems to have left no stone unturned while looking for ways to lessen our protection of the environment.  

We have recently elected a president who has single-handedly built the most anti-environment cabinet in history, and who has spent most of hiis early presidency signing executive orders destroying the genuine environmental progress of the previous administration.  Today the New York Times makes the argument that the planet cannot afford this administration, and I agree.  

On a happier note, I joined many local Menomonie folks this morning on an Earth Day march for belief in Climate Change, and belief in Science. You would not think that in 2017 it would take an organized effort to convince the country to believe in science, but in the current political climate this is apparently a revolutionary idea.  I urge you all to join the revolution.




Sen. Vinehout - State Budget: Start with What's Real

State Budget: Start with What’s Real

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

When it comes to paying the bills you’ve got to deal with what’s real. You can’t spend rhetoric.

 

Lawmakers are doubling down to deal with the state budget. Public hearings and town hall meetings are scheduled across the state. Many civic groups are hosting legislators in a discussion of the state budget. Many are burning the midnight oil to get to the bottom of the state’s financial matters.

 

In all these conversations and the budget votes to come in the Capitol, lawmakers must to deal with what’s real.

 

People know about the state’s transportation fund. More money is leaving the fund than money coming in to pay for roads. Potholes are real.

 





Bert! He's Back!

Though it is often said that everything old is new again, I have to say I was surprised to see that an old childhood friend of mine is once again relevant. Old feelings I have not had since the Cuban Missile Crisis have raised their ugly heads again, but I am pretty sure that Kennedy could tell the differrence between ships heading to Cuba and ships heading away - somehow the fact that the current administration cannot tell where our own ships are heading is disconcerrting. In that spirit - I bring you the re-awakening of my childhood fears in the body of Bert the Turtle.





Meth Addiction: the Growing Epidemic in our Neighborhood

By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“We are up to our gills in meth,” the county worker told me. “Four years ago one quarter of our child-protection cases were related to meth. Now, 92% of these cases are related to meth.”
 
“Our system just isn’t equipped to deal with the meth problem,” said another social worker.
 
Recently, more than 400 county supervisors and Health and Human Services staff came to the Capitol. I had visitors from every county in our Senate District.




Vote, for God's sake

Okay, so most of you who read this blog don't need reminding - but on the other hand clearly lots of people do. So ---

VOTE TOMORROW - and if you've already early voted, good on you.

The big state-wide election on which you can really express an opinion is for Superintendent of Schools. Tony Evers has long been the last firewall against total take-over of our school system  by private interests. His opponent? Not so much.  So you have a clear choice between  supporting public schools and standing back and letting the Betsy DeVos/Trump/Koch unholy alliance take over even more of our school system.  Your choice but please go express your opinion on this, whatever it might be. Let's not see everything go south just because nobody could get up the energy to vote.





Health Care - What's Next?

By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Obamacare is the law of the land,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told the nation. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
 
The much-maligned Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010 will stay in place.
 
Self-employed older Americans and state budget directors breathed a sigh of relief. The Republican plan would have raised rates for older people on Healthcare.gov, shifted taxes away from the well-off, and shifted to states more costs for low-income, disabled and elderly (through Medicaid).
 
But the problems of the ACA – rising premiums, customers left with little choice and insurance companies leaving the marketplace in some states – still remain.
 




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Today, October 19

  • Steve Hanson
    2:07pm

    Nineteen states have called for a Constitutional amendment that would overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision. Representative Scott Allen won't even allow a public hearing on a resolution that would let Wisconsinites vote on this core issue of our timeWhile many politicians may like unlimited and often undisclosed campaign contributions, the rest of America is disgusted by it.

    Last week, Allen refused a request to have AJR 53 placed on the public hearing agenda, calling the advisory referendum, “politics at its worst”. Wisconsin law provides for advisory referendums. There was a statewide referendum in 2006 pertaining to the death penalty.

    "Politics at its worst"...really?? This is a cross-partisan issue. There are plenty of billionaires on both sides of the aisle. Both parties are raking in campaign cash. Money talks and the rest of us have no say.

    It’s outrageous that Chairman Allen won’t even allow this to be put on the agenda. This is the Constitution and Ethics Committee, after all. And Citizens United has torn a hole into our Constitution, drowning out our free speech rights as citizens, and ushering in all sorts of ethical problems.

    These resolutions (AJR 53 / SJR 54) were introduced by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). Polls show a vast majority of Americans view our election system as corrupt. Special interest money has enormous political influence and everyday citizens feel they are getting no representation.

    “It is stunning that Republican Representative Scott Allen considers giving the average Wisconsinite the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box to be ‘politics at its worst,’” said Rep. Subeck. “Wisconsinites are fed up with the massive corporate and special interest spending Citizens United has ushered into our elections, and it is time to let them be heard.”

    Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

    Please contact ...

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