The Republican-controlled State Senate may consider legislation as early as Feb. 9 that would effectively undermine organized voter registration drives in Wisconsin.
Earlier in January, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Wisconsin, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, filed a friend of the court brief with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago arguing that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement officials to get a warrant before they may obtain information about the location of a suspect’s cellphone from the suspect’s cellphone company.
More than ever, citizens are engaged in deciding what they want and need in their communities. Ideally, residents, business interests and civic advocates collaborate, usually along with government officials, to promote successful development. Such grassroots decision-making emphasizes consensus and inclusiveness. It’s democracy at the local level.
Excerpts from Wisconsin editorials on college costs, drone bans and union declines…
News of the poisoned water crisis in Flint has reached a wide audience around the world. The basics are now known: the Republican governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the free elections in Flint, deposed the mayor and city council, then appointed his own man to run the city. To save money, they decided to unhook the people of Flint from their fresh water drinking source, Lake Huron, and instead, make the public drink from the toxic Flint River. When the governor’s office discovered just how toxic the water was, they decided to keep quiet about it and covered up the extent of the damage being done to Flint’s residents, most notably the lead affecting the children, causing irreversible and permanent brain damage. Citizen activists uncovered these actions, and the governor now faces growing cries to resign or be arrested.
Decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court this year may be as crucial to our lives as choosing the next president. On the docket are important cases related to union rights, voting rights and access to reproductive health services.
In the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a group of teachers sued their state union, saying it is unconstitutional to require them to pay union dues. They claim that public sector union membership is a form of political speech and that forcing them to support it violates their First Amendment free speech rights.
The last six months have been a roller coaster for Wisconsin’s open records law. After the Legislature’s failed attack on the law over the Independence Day holiday, August brought a new threat.
A Wisconsin Senate committee has voted for Assembly Bill 554, the Water Privatization Bill. This is the response to the vote issued by Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters executive director Kerry Schumann:
The eyes of the world are on Flint, Michigan right now, as their citizens suffer from lead poisoning simply because they used water from their tap to drink, bathe and cook. The crisis in Flint points to the critical need to have access to clean drinking water and effective sewer systems for the health and well being of any community, and makes us realize that unsafe drinking water is not just a problem in less developed countries.
Dear friend of Farms Not Factories,
Thank you for all your support over the past year! We’ve come a long way since the Bayfield County Board meeting on Feb. 18, 2015, when the supervisors passed a year-long moratorium on siting CAFOs in Bayfield County.
I am not a government worker. I do not qualify for civil service protection. I have never been represented by a union in the workplace. But the assault on Wisconsin’s civil service system deeply concerns me, saddens me, frightens me and angers me all at the same time. This affects me because it’s not just a government employment issue, and it’s not just a union issue. This is about Wisconsin’s soul.