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Got Budget? No - and this is not a good thing

So, we're now a couple weeks and counting past when the state budget in Wiscosnin is due. At least we've managed to avoid a complete state shutdown, unlike a number of other states in the past month. But cruising along on past allotments isn't an answer. Once again we are seeing that although the current state administration is capable of winning votes, and keeping total control over the government, one thing they are genuinely terrible at is governing. 





Seeking Solutions for State Road Budget

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

A tall man stopped me in the hall of the Capitol. “Can’t you just increase the gas tax?” he asked me. “I’m here to ask my Republican Senator to increase the gas tax. We need to fix the roads.”

He smiled. Then said, “Hi, my name is Steve. I’m a Republican. I just don’t think it’s conservative to keep borrowing to maintain the roads. We’ve got to pay for what we spend.”

Steve was earnest in his desire to find a solution to the road budget. I’ve heard similar concerns from folks attending my recent town hall meetings.





Proposal Helps Veterans Become Farmers

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

“As far back as WWI connecting soldiers with nature and farming has been used to treat the invisible wounds of war,” Mr. Brian Sales recently told members of the Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Committee.

 

“Back then it was called shell shock. Today it’s called PTSD. No matter what it’s called, its effects are the same and what was true then is true now. Veterans need help and help is what I am here to talk about.”

 





We ask why Democrats are not winning. Gerrymandering is a large part of it.

Okay, llet's be honest. Gerryymandering is an American tradition. Whatever party is in power has always tried to gain the upper hand by organizing congressional districts to suit their needs. Packing and cracking of districts has happened for a very long time, and it helps to keep the winning party in power over the long term.

But something has changed. The ability to use computer power to set district boundaries (and the will to use them for that purpose) has resulted in districts in Wisconsin that make it next to impossible for party power to change in the local district. We see it time after time.  Good challenging candidates just lose because surmounting the party bias in their own home area is impossible.





Celebrating Wisconsin’s Dairyland

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

“Do you still milk?” I asked Jim at a recent gathering. “No,” he told me. “My son tells me the most help I can be is to stay out of the way,” he joked. We both agreed that was hard. Dairying gets in your blood.

 

June is dairy month. A time to celebrate all we love about ‘America’s Dairyland’ – home to 1.28 million dairy cows, which is more than one cow for every five Wisconsinites.

 





What Choices Would You Make?

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

In the next few weeks, state lawmakers are voting on how Wisconsin spends money over the next two years. The choices legislators make will affect our communities and our lives.

 

Lawmakers are working off a spending plan submitted by the Governor earlier this year. Changes have already been made to his proposal.

 





Greater Chippewa Valley League of Women Voters forum on Gerrymandering

This is the first forum sponsored by the recently-rebooted Chippewa Valley League of Women Voters chapter. This session is a presenation by Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and Jay Heck, Executive Director of Common Cause. The session was followed by a lively Q&A session. There were over 75 in attendance at the meeting, which is a great start for the local chapter. For more information on the LWV in Wisconsin, including information on how to join, see the link below. Since the chapter locally is new, it is an At-Large chapter, meaning you will have to join the state-wide organization, and wlll become a member of the local chapter that way.





AUDIT: WEDC Cannot Be Certain of Any Jobs Created or Retained

By Senator Kathleen Vinehout Our state spends a great deal of money on economic development. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is responsible for overseeing much of the taxpayer money that goes to job creation. A recently released audit by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) found that “WEDC cannot be certain about the number of jobs actually created or retained as a result of any awards that ended.” By law, WEDC is required to report jobs created or retained. The agency meets the requirement through reports posted on its website.





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  .  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 and have all the blog posts appear in the same place.





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.

Video of T5j9Q29EsrE





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.

Video of lo0yY5in_4o





“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.”

 





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.





Sen. Vinehout ~ Youth in Government Day Engages Teens

BySenator 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.





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.





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