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Jeff Smith: Part Two: Water is Prosperity

Last week I wrote about how water is life. This week I hope to show how important water is for all of us to not only survive, but also to thrive.

4 Forces Feeding Uncertainty About Foxconn's Future In Wisconsin

President Trump at Foxconn Groundbreaking

A bubbling sense of uncertainty enveloping Foxconn's plans for its manufacturing and research operations in Wisconsin has sparked considerable speculation around the state in the opening months of 2019. Industry analysts and other observers are wondering to what extent the company's promises would, or even could, come to fruition as its public commitments evolve at a fast clip.

As Number Of Wisconsin's Women Legislators Stalls, Partisan Mix Shifts

November 6, 2018 marked an historic election in the United States due to the unprecedented numbers of women elected to state and national offices. Iowa, Maine and South Dakota elected their first women governors, Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee elected their first women senators, and 37 new women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. These historic results, however, were not equally distributed between the two major political parties.

No Quarters for Kathy

Kathy Bernier
Shame on you, Kathy Bernier. Don't you for a moment try to normalize the prospect of toll roads in Wisconsin. For the first 100 years of automobile travel in Wisconsin, we have ensured that our taxes are enough to provide good roads.

Putting the Conn back in Foxconn

Foxconn Logo

In a report from Reuters this morning, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou suggested that plans for Foxconn manufacturing in Wisconsin may be scaled back again, and may in fact not include any manufacturing at all.

Jeff Smith - Walk the Talk for Bipartisanship

I’ve said it. Governor Evers said it. Republican leaders said it - “We need to work together.”

A number of clichés come to mind as we talk about working together. “It’s easier said than done” or “Talk is cheap.” I prefer “walk the talk.”

Why Wasn't 2018 A Big Election For Women In The Wisconsin Legislature?

Women vying for public office made historic waves across the United States in the 2018 midterm elections. Wisconsin, however, didn't quite follow that national trend. Additionally, while voters elected more women to the state Assembly in 2018, the state finds itself lagging behind its Midwest neighbors.

Jeff Smith - Marsy’s Law: Do It Quick or Do It Right?

Jeff Smith

Our first week of the legislative session is off to a fast start. It appears my first legislative vote will be changing our State Constitution with a resolution called, “Marsy’s Law.”

Jeff Smith - Committees, Collaboration and Compromise

Senator Jeff Smith

Senate committees aren’t exactly the hottest topic to write about in state government, but it’s incredibly important for our work as legislators. Most Senate committee names seem like someone pulled the topics out of a hat and randomly strung them together to create a committee.

Statement Regarding Senator Jeff Smith’s Swearing-in

MADISON – Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) was sworn into office today as the 31st District Senator during the opening session of the 104th Wisconsin State Legislature.

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.

Wisconsin LWV Statement on Signing of Lame Duck Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2018

Phone: (608) 256-0827

www.lwvwi.org

Contact: Erin Grunze, Executive Director

608-256-0827; [email protected]

Statement on the Governor’s Signing of Extraordinary Session Bills

MADISON, WI –The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin has long held that the legislature

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.

League of Women Voters: Lame-duck session

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          Contact: Erin Grunze, Executive Director
November 30, 2018     608-256-0827; [email protected]

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!

Walker concedes to Evers

News Conference: Gov-Elect Evers & Lt. Gov-Elect Barnes Discuss Tuesday Win

The Governor's campaign office has released a concession letter. Evers is now speaking after the concession.

What Does Foxconn Mean to Me?

“Hard to wrap my head around,” the woman shared as she considered Foxconn. Just what do big budget decisions mean to us?

Work has begun on crafting the next state budget. Over the next few months, this work will continue in earnest. One hefty unbudgeted expense added to upcoming budget math is a large taxpayer funded payment to a foreign corporation.

Matt Rothschild, Dr. K. Zagorski on Fair Maps

Fair Maps Panel

Fair Maps/Gerrymandering Panel

Thursday night Matt Rothschild of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Dr. K. Zagorski spoke in a forum on fair maps and gerrymandering in Menomonie. The discussion, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley clarified the history and current status of gerrymandering in Wisconsin, and what can be done to move forward. Wisconsin currently has one of the most gerrymandered voting maps in the country.

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Yesterday, February 16

  • Steve Hanson
    2:44pm

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    <p>President Trump at Foxconn Groundbreaking</p>
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  • Your profile picture
    12:40pm

    Last week I wrote about how water is life. This week I hope to show how important water is for all of us to not only survive, but also to thrive.

    In my Capitol office hangs an old re-election poster for former Governor Gaylord Nelson. The founder of Earth Day, Governor Nelson was one of Wisconsin’s fiercest advocates for our environment. He was also a pragmatist – he understood not only how important clean water was, but he also acknowledged its importance for our economy.

    Milk, cheese, beer, and paper -- these are quintessential Wisconsin products. Each of these water-dependent products requires large amounts of clean water.

    Water is abundant in Wisconsin. Our 1,017 miles of Great Lakes shoreland offer our state excellent access to the world’s largest supply of freshwater. Wisconsin’s “west coast,” is mostly lined by the Mississippi River, which is the 2nd largest watershed in the world. We even have more lakes than Minnesota! Wisconsin is so watery that 17% of our state is covered by water.

    Every decision about water we make as representatives and senators in the State Capitol has a globally significant impact. We know how important water is, but so do companies hoping to gain access to our water.

    In 2003, Wisconsin limited the ability of local governments to oppose Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). CAFOs are defined as operations with more than 1,000 animals on the farm. Here in the counties within the 31st Senate District, we have 24 of the 272 dairy CAFOs in Wisconsin.

    High capacity wells on CAFOs pump vast quantities of water in a very small area, and the massive volume of animal waste generated at these facilities is too much for the surrounding cropland to handle as fertilizer. America’s Dairyland has always looked to small family farms to supply our country with high-quality milk and cheese. Low milk prices are driving smaller dairy farms out of business and CAFOs are taking their place. Without relief, more family farms will continue to struggle and large CAFOs will continue to expand.

    ...
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  • Steve Hanson
    11:56am

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    4 FORCES FEEDING UNCERTAINTY ABOUT FOXCONN'S FUTURE IN WISCONSIN =============
      
     
    A bubbling sense of uncertainty enveloping Foxconn's plans for its manufacturing and research operations in Wisconsin has sparked considerable speculation around the state in the opening months of 2019. Industry analysts and other observers are wondering to what extent the company's promises would, or even could, come to fruition as its public commitments evolve at a fast clip.
     
    A bubbling sense of uncertainty enveloping Foxconn's plans for its manufacturing and research operations in Wisconsin has sparked considerable speculation around the state in the opening months of 2019. Industry analysts and other observers are wondering to what extent the company's promises would, or even could, come to fruition as its public commitments evolve at a fast clip.
     
    What's driving this renewed uncertainty? Identifying any single factor as the root cause would be an oversimplification, at best. Many variables are likely to influence an economic development proposal of this scale, which spans continents and cultures and is unfolding during a volatile time in state, national and global politics. Still, distilling the sundry forces at play, four key factors are contributing to the questions about Foxconn's future in Wisconsin.
     
    What's driving this renewed uncertainty? Identifying any single factor as the root cause would be an oversimplification, at best. Many variables are likely to influence an economic development proposal of this scale, which spans continents and cultures and is unfolding during a volatile time in state, national and global politics. Still, distilling the sundry forces at play, four key factors are contributing to the questions about Foxconn's future in Wisconsin.
    Read more
  • Steve Hanson
    11:55am

    A bubbling sense of uncertainty enveloping Foxconn's plans for its manufacturing and research operations in Wisconsin has sparked considerable speculation around the state in the opening months of 2019. Industry analysts and other observers are wondering to what extent the company's promises would, or even could, come to fruition as its public commitments evolve at a fast clip.

    What's driving this renewed uncertainty? Identifying any single factor as the root cause would be an oversimplification, at best. Many variables are likely to influence an economic development proposal of this scale, which spans continents and cultures and is unfolding during a volatile time in state, national and global politics. Still, distilling the sundry forces at play, four key factors are contributing to the questions about Foxconn's future in Wisconsin.

    1. Foxconn's priority is its bottom line.

    Various observers of the LCD industry were skeptical from the outset that Foxconn would generate up to 13,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin. Reports that the company was scaling down its manufacturing plans in the state seemed to confirm such doubts.

    Einar Tangen, a political and economic affairs commentator based in Beijing, said in a Feb. 8, 2019 interview on Wisconsin Public Television's Here & Now that higher labor costs in the United States make the prospect of bringing thousands of manufacturing jobs to Wisconsin a non-starter for a global firm like Foxconn.

    "For what is in essence a one-hour wage [in Wisconsin], you can hire somebody in Vietnam or India or Bangladesh for an entire week," Tangen said. "So from a productivity point of view and labor, it does not make any sense."

    Read more
  • Steve Hanson
    11:28am

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    AS NUMBER OF WISCONSIN'S WOMEN LEGISLATORS STALLS, PARTISAN MIX SHIFTS =======
      
     
    November 6, 2018 marked an historic election in the United States due to the unprecedented numbers of women elected to state and national offices. Iowa, Maine and South Dakota elected their first women governors, Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee elected their first women senators, and 37 new women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. These historic results, however, were not equally distributed between the two major political parties.
     
    November 6, 2018 marked an historic election in the United States due to the unprecedented numbers of women elected to state and national offices. Iowa, Maine and South Dakota elected their first women governors, Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee elected their first women senators, and 37 new women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. These historic results, however, were not equally distributed between the two major political parties.
     
    Of the 37 women newly elected to the House in 2018, 35 were Democrats. Out of the 102 women overall in the House, 89 are Democrats compared to 13 Republicans, a nearly sevenfold difference. As for the U.S. Senate, one-quarter of the upper chamber of Congress is made up of women, 17 of whom are Democrats compared to eight Republicans. At the state level, the number of women serving in many legislatures mirror national trends, though some states, like Wisconsin, lag behind these levels.
     
    Of the 37 women newly elected to the House in 2018, 35 were Democrats. Out of the 102 women overall in the House, 89 are Democrats compared to 13 Republicans, a nearly sevenfold difference. As for the U.S. Senate, one-quarter of the upper chamber of Congress is made up of women, 17 of whom are Democrats compared to eight Republicans. At the state level, the number of women serving in many legislatures mirror national trends, though some states, like Wisconsin, lag behind these levels.
    Read more
  • Steve Hanson
    11:28am

    November 6, 2018 marked an historic election in the United States due to the unprecedented numbers of women elected to state and national offices. Iowa, Maine and South Dakota elected their first women governors, Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee elected their first women senators, and 37 new women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. These historic results, however, were not equally distributed between the two major political parties.

    Of the 37 women newly elected to the House in 2018, 35 were Democrats. Out of the 102 women overall in the House, 89 are Democrats compared to 13 Republicans, a nearly sevenfold difference. As for the U.S. Senate, one-quarter of the upper chamber of Congress is made up of women, 17 of whom are Democrats compared to eight Republicans. At the state level, the number of women serving in many legislatures mirror national trends, though some states, like Wisconsin, lag behind these levels.

    A WisContext investigation of how this phenomenon played out in the 2018 midterms within Wisconsin illustrated how these elections yielded far fewer women candidates — and winners — for state-level elections compared to neighboring states. Data provided by the Wisconsin Women's Council show representation in the state legislature has not exceeded a high of 37 total women in the Assembly and state Senate, previously reached in 1989 and 2003. The 2019-20 class of legislators in Wisconsin has only 29 women serving in office, out of a total 132 seats in both chambers.

    As is the case with national trends, women in the Wisconsin Legislature are more likely to be Democrats. Since 2001, the percentage of Democrats who are women in the Assembly and Senate has seen a steady increase, with 2019 marking the first year over 50 percent of Democrats elected to the Assembly are women. On the other hand, women state senators who are Republicans comprised nearly 47 percent of all GOP state senators in 2001, dropping to less than 11 percent almost two decades later.

       

    The 2010 midterm elections marked a noteworthy juncture in Wisconsin politics. Riding the tea party wave, Wisconsin Republicans achieved significant victories, and took control of both legislative houses and the governorship. By 2012, the Republicans majority...

    Read more
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