Tag Archives: assembly

Mark Miller, Cory Mason introduce Water Sustainability Act for Wisconsin

State Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, and state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, recently  introduced the Water Sustainability Act.

“We have a responsibility to develop sustainable environmental policies that ensure our precious natural resources will be around for future generations. Businesses, homeowners, and municipalities all rely on groundwater resources to thrive in daily life,” Mason said in a press statement.

Current laws and regulations are inadequate to protect the public resource and to reduce conflict, according to the legislators.

Court decisions that direct the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to protect the waters of the state have been ignored by Scott Walker‘s administration, they added.

“The Legislature needs to act now. The science exists for Wisconsin manage our water resources so the reasonable use doctrine is fully realized; that every person has a right to use water but not to the point where it denies others,” Miller stated.

Supporters include the Friends of the Central Sands, River Alliance of Wisconsin, The Nature Conservancy, Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club John Muir Chapter and Wisconsin Lakes.

“In the Central Sands, we are facing a water crisis,” said Bob Clarke, president of Friends of the Central Sands. “The Water Sustainability Act offers a scientific approach to managing our resources.”

Legislative authors include:

• Sens. Mark Miller, Chris Larson, Dave Hansen, Kathleen Vinehout, Janis Ringhand, Bob Wirch.

• Reps. Cory Mason, Gary Hebl, Nick Milroy, Sondy Pope, Jill Billings, Amanda Stuck, Josh Zepnick, Lisa Subeck, Evan Goyke, Chris Taylor, Tod Ohnstad, David Crowley, Dana Wachs, Dave Considine, Debra Kolste, Eric Genrich, Jonathan Brostoff, Terese Berceau, Melissa Sargent, Gordon Hintz, Christine Sinicki, Jimmy Anderson, Mark Spreitzer and David Bowen.

Keeping track

LRB 1902/1 & 1170/1, the Water Sustainability Act, is circulating in the Legislature for co-sponsorship until Jan. 20.

State senator seeks sponsors for non-partisan redistricting bill

State Sen. Dave Hansen is seeking sponsors for legislation to create a non-partisan redistricting process.

Seeking sponsors marks the next step toward introduction of the bill, according to Hansen, a Democrat from Green Bay.

Hansen is a long-time advocate of redistricting reform that would move responsibility from legislators and political parties to the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau.

“Allowing politicians to draw district boundaries makes it too easy for the majority party to gerrymander the maps to their long-term advantage,” Hansen said in a press statement. “And when parties engage in that behavior it is the voters and the people who are hurt because they are no longer able to check extreme behavior by the majority party.”

In 2011 Republican leaders and staff worked in secret outside the Capitol to draw district lines designed to lock in their legislative majorities for ten years or more.

As a result, in the 2012 election Republicans took over 61 percent of the seats in the Assembly despite winning less than 49 percent of the vote.

“Gerrymandering as we are seeing it practiced is a form of cheating,” Hansen said. “Neither political party should be able to lock in their power by creating an unfair advantage in drawing district lines.”

A federal court has ruled the Republican-drafted maps are unconstitutional, drawn with the intent to lock in GOP control of the Senate and Assembly. The case is on track for a U.S. Supreme Court review.

Hansen said making the legislative change is important regardless of the outcome in the court case.

He said, “No one who looks at the evidence objectively is disputing that the maps drawn by Republican leaders are unfair to the voters. If competition is a good thing in other aspects of society then it is good for our political system. And that’s what we want, fair and competitive elections.”

Wisconsin Dems look to make gains in Legislature

Come Election Day, all eyes in Wisconsin will be on the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But voters face a choice likely to shape their lives closer to home — whether to hand Republicans or Democrats control of the state Legislature.

Here are the key things to know about state legislative races:

WHO CONTROLS THE LEGISLATURE RIGHT NOW?

Republicans have had complete control of state government since 2011, when Scott Walker won the governor’s office and the GOP won majorities in the both the Senate and Assembly. The GOP enters Election Day with a 63-36 advantage in the Assembly and a 17-14 edge in the Senate.

WHY IS CONTROL SO IMPORTANT?

The majority sets the political agenda. Walker isn’t up for re-election until 2018, so if the GOP keeps both houses they’ll be able to pass anything they can agree on and Democrats will be powerless to stop them for the next two years. If the Democrats wrest control of either house, they can block Walker’s initiatives and create gridlock in Madison. The Legislature’s first task will be putting together the state budget; divided control could delay the spending plan’s approval beyond the beginning of the next fiscal year in July.

DO THE DEMOCRATS HAVE A SHOT IN EITHER CHAMBER?

Not in the Assembly. All 99 seats are up, but Republicans’ majority appears insurmountable. Seventeen GOP incumbents don’t even have opponents.

Things look a little brighter for Democrats in the Senate. Eight seats are in play, including five held by Republicans and three by Democrats. The Democrats need to take six of those eight to win the majority.

DO ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS BELIEVE THEY CAN MAKE ANY HEADWAY?

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca has his sights on three open seats. He’s banking Mandy Wright can defeat Republican Patrick Snyder for a seat representing north-central Wisconsin. Wright held the seat until she lost it to Republican Dave Heaton in 2014. Heaton is not running for re-election. He also has high hopes that Dennis Hunt can beat Republican Rob Summerfield for an open seat representing northwestern Wisconsin and Scott Nelson can defeat Republican Shannon Zimmerman for an open seat representing the Hudson area across the border from Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

As for targeted GOP incumbents, there aren’t many. Democrats want to unseat freshman Todd Novak in southwestern Wisconsin’s 51st district and two-termer Kathy Bernier in the 61st, which includes parts of Eau Claire, Chippewa and Clark counties.

WHAT ABOUT THE SENATE?

Democrats have targeted an open seat in the 18th Senate district, which includes parts of Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties. Democrats have put their faith in Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris to defeat Fond du Lac Republican Dan Feyen. Walker signed a bill earlier this year barring county executives from serving simultaneously in the Legislature, which means Harris would have to trade his $102,800 county job for a $50,950 senator’s salary. Democrats complained the bill was designed to make Harris quit the race but Harris has refused to drop out.

Democrats also believe Sen. Luther Olsen, a moderate Republican from Ripon, Sen. Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst, who made a name for himself by writing a bill that relaxed Wisconsin’s iron mining regulations, and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls are vulnerable.

HAVE REPUBLICANS TARGETED ANY SENATE DEMOCRATS?

They’re going after the Democrats’ most powerful figure in the chamber, Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling. She faces a challenge from Dan Kapanke for her seat representing the La Crosse area. Shilling took the seat from Kapanke during the 2011 recall elections spurred by anger over Walker’s public union restrictions.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Republicans also are targeting Julie Lassa, who represents the Stevens Point area, and Dave Hansen, who represents the Green Bay area.

Fitzgerald said he believes support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will ripple down the ballot and help the state GOP. He predicted Republicans will come back with 19 seats again this session.

Two of Wisconsin’s Democratic senators face primaries

Two key Wisconsin Senate Democrats face challengers from within their own party as the Legislature’s Aug. 9 primary looms.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse and Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee are among a handful of lawmakers who will be fighting for their jobs in the election that will set the candidate lineup for November’s general election.

Shilling and Taylor are the only Senate incumbents who face challengers, but they’re the most prominent names in the primary in either house.

All 99 Assembly seats and 16 of the Senate’s 32 seats will be in play in November.

Jared Landry’s primary bid against Shilling is a long shot. She holds a key leadership position as Senate minority leader, shaping responses to Republican proposals and helping other Democrats campaign around the state.

The Associated Press’ attempts to reach Landry through possible listings for his home and cell phone were unsuccessful. In an interview with the La Crosse Tribune, he declined to criticize Shilling. He indicated that he planned to use the Senate as a springboard to run for governor and president.

Online court records show Landry has a lengthy misdemeanor criminal record, including convictions for fourth-offense operating while intoxicated, resisting an officer, marijuana possession, property damage and disorderly conduct. But he’s still eligible for office — only convicted felons are barred from running.

Although Taylor holds a leadership position as a member of the Legislature’s powerful budget-writing committee, she faces a much stiffer challenge from state Rep. Mandela Barnes of Milwaukee. He’s likely to receive national support through Wisconsin Working Families, the group that provided over $300,000 to back Sen. Chris Larson in his failed attempt to oust Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele earlier this year.

Taylor is known for her fiery temperament, as evidenced in speeches she’s made on both the Joint Finance Committee and the Senate floor.

Barnes said in a telephone interview that their district needs “transformative leadership.” She said Taylor voted for a bill that regulated payday loans but didn’t cap loan interest rates in 2010, voted for a bill allowing concealed carry in 2011 and introduced what he called a “takeover” bill in 2009 that would have allowed Milwaukee’s mayor to appoint the city’s school district superintendent.

Taylor said the payday loan bill did limit the amount of loans and lawmakers, adding that lawmakers often have to compromise and settle for bills that don’t go as far as they’d like. As for concealed carry, she said people have a right to bear arms. The school bill was an attempt to do something to improve Milwaukee schools, she said.

Taylor said Barnes is “Monday-morning quarterbacking” and instead should help her as she tries to improve conditions at Wisconsin’s youth prison in Irma rather than attack her.

On the Assembly side, Democrats Josh Zepnick and Leon Young, both of Milwaukee, Lisa Subeck of Madison and Sondy Pope of Mount Horeb all face primary challengers. Rep. Nancy Vander Meer of Tomah is the only Republican in either house in a primary.

Regardless of the primary results, Democrats will be hard-pressed to regain control of either house this fall. Thanks largely to a redistricting plan GOP lawmakers established in 2011 that consolidated their power in districts across the state, Republicans hold a 19–14 edge in the Senate and an all but insurmountable 63–36 advantage in the Assembly.

Mordecai Lee, a UW-Milwaukee political scientist and himself a former Democratic legislator, predicted the primaries will be a quiet, underwhelming affair after an April presidential primary that saw the highest turnout in more than 40 years.

Few people vote in primaries to begin with, and this August’s ballot features no statewide races, Lee said. That means likely only a party’s hard-core members will show up.

Louis Weisberg contributed to this report.

From voucher school funding to concealed carry on campuses, GOP senators have unresolved issues in Madison

Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly say they finished their work for the two-year legislative session on Feb. 18, but things aren’t going to quiet down at the state Capitol.

Senate Republicans plan to return for at least one more day in March. They’ll have to decide whether to take final votes on several bills that passed in the Assembly last week. Some other contentious measures that neither chamber has touched need action or they will die, too. Myranda Tanck, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, didn’t immediate respond to a message inquiring about Republicans’ plans.

Here’s a look at the most notable legislation the Senate faces as well as some of the bills in limbo:

IN THE SENATE

DRUNKEN DRIVING: The Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill that would strip repeat drunken drivers of their licenses for at least a decade.

DEMENTIA CARE: The Assembly approved a 10-bill package designed to help people cope with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The package, developed by a task force Assembly Speaker Robin Vos created, would devote more money to dementia specialists, research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the state’s Alzheimer family and caregiver support program.

‘SANCTUARY CITIES’ BAN: The Assembly passed a bill that would prohibit municipalities from banning police from asking about someone’s immigration status if they’re charged with a crime. The bill and a companion proposal that prohibits local governments from issuing identification cards drew about 20,000 protesters, most of them Latino, to the Capitol on Feb. 18. Tanck told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the bill was “not a high priority” for Senate Republicans, suggesting they are unlikely to take it up.

COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY: The Assembly passed a set of bills Republicans say are intended to help college students with debt. The proposals include plans to lift the cap on tax-deductible student loan interest, boost grants for technical college students and two-year students in the University of Wisconsin Colleges, create internship coordinators and require colleges to update students annually on their debt levels. Democrats say the bills are little more than GOP campaign talking points and won’t do much to contain student debt.

VOUCHER SCHOOL FUNDING: The Assembly approved legislation that would limit public school districts’ ability to recoup their losses when students leave for schools in the state’s voucher program. The program subsidizes private school tuition. The state pays for it by cutting aid to public schools that lose students to the program. Under language in the state budget, districts can recoup those losses and more by raising property taxes. The Assembly proposal would allow districts to raise taxes enough to recoup only actual losses.

IN LIMBO

FETAL TISSUE RESEARCH: Republicans have drafted a bill that would ban research using tissue from fetuses aborted after Jan. 1, 2015, and prohibit the commercial sale of such tissue. Researchers say the measure would chill work on life-saving cures and treatments. Neither house has voted on it. Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, has said such research should continue. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business group and a big Republican supporter, also opposes the bill. If the Senate were to pass the measure the Assembly would have to return to concur. That seems unlikely. Vos told reporters the Assembly won’t come back to deal with any new issues.

TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS: Another GOP bill would require public school students to use bathrooms and locker rooms assigned to their physical gender at birth. The bill’s authors argue Wisconsin needs such a law to create a unified standard. Neither house has taken up the bill; Fitzgerald has said he thinks individual schools should deal with the issue as they see fit. Even if the Senate were to vote on the bill, the Assembly would have to return to concur.

GUNS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS: Several Republicans support a bill that would allow people with concealed carry permits to carry their guns on school grounds. Vos said in January the bill was going nowhere in his chamber, saying he hasn’t heard anyone clamoring for it, and neither house has voted on it.

CONCEALED CARRY IN UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS: Another GOP bill would let people carry concealed weapons in university classrooms, buildings and stadiums. That measure has gone nowhere in either house amid scathing opposition from UW System leaders.

Wisconsin Assembly votes to prohibit drones over prisons

The Wisconsin Assembly began a push on Feb. 18 to get tougher on rogue drone use, passing a bill that would prohibit flying the machines over prisons and another that would create penalties for using them in crimes.

The bills follow a series of incidents across the country in which smugglers flew drugs, pornography or other contraband over prison walls. Wisconsin has not dealt with drone smuggling, but legislators say they want to be proactive.

The first bill would impose a $5,000 fine for flying a drone over a state correctional institution.

The bill’s authors removed a provision that would have allowed municipalities to establish additional no-fly zones for drones. The provision would have allowed municipalities to impose fines up to $2,500.

Drone operators and technology advocates testified at the hearing that it would create a patchwork of regulations, limit opportunities for commercial drone operators and clash with federal rules.

The second bill would increase penalties someone used a drone in a crime. People who used a drone to commit a less-serious misdemeanor would face up to $10,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. If it is a more serious misdemeanor, the status of the crime would change to a felony, with a maximum penalty of $10,000 in fines and up to two years in prison.

Defendants who use a drone to commit a felony would see their fines increase by $5,000 and face up to an additional five years in prison.

The Assembly passed both bills on voice votes this week, sending them to the Senate.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires drone operators to register with the agency and has been developing other regulations for drones, or unmanned aircraft systems. Almost 300,000 drone owners registered in the first month since Dec. 21, when the requirement began.

Local and state lawmakers have stepped in with their own regulations across the country, with some criticizing the FAA for being too lax. About 45 states considered restrictions on unmanned aircraft systems in 2015, according to the FAA.

The FAA warns it could lead to a “patchwork quilt” of regulations and stipulates that local and state regulations must fit with federal rules. 

Common Cause calls for public action to stop Republicans’ latest voter-suppression bill

On Feb. 9, the Wisconsin Senate passed, along partisan lines, hyper-partisan legislation — Senate Bill 295 — which eliminates the ability of organizations like the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Voces de la Frontera and even city and municipal clerks to be able to conduct effective voter registration drives. The measure also stipulates that mailed absentee ballots not received by Election Day will not be counted. Currently, absentee ballots that have a postmark on Election Day are counted. So that means thousands of absentee ballots will be disqualified! 

While SB 295 does provide for some online voter registration — a positive thing — the obvious hyper-partisan voter suppression provisions (added in secret and without a public hearing) render this legislation utterly unsupportable. Both state Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), the primary author of this abomination, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau,) were both incapable of being able to defend the legislation during the floor debate last week and simply called for partisan votes to defeat Democratic amendments that would have improved the bill. A number of Democratic state senators were outstanding in their determined assault on this measure: Julie Lassa of Stevens Point, Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee, Mark Miller of Monona, Jon Erpenbach of Middleton, Fred Risser of Madison, Chris Larson of Milwaukee, Janet Bewley of Ashland and Dave Hansen of Green Bay. 

The Assembly is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 295 tomorrow, Tuesday — Feb. 16 — and it is vitally important that you contact your State Representatives and inform them of your opposition to this legislation in its current form. One critical reason to do so is to build the public record in opposition to this and other anti-democratic legislation, as was done last fall when the GOP destroyed the non-partisan Government Accountability Board and transformed Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws into among the very weakest and most susceptible to corruption in the nation. Real citizens do not support this stuff — special interest-controlled politicians do. If you do not know who your state representative is, go here.

To find out more about this measure and why CC/WI does not support it — and why you need to oppose it, too, go here, here, here, here and here.  

Wisconsin Assembly votes to lift barrier to new nukes

Editor’s note: The Senate is due to take up the bill on Feb. 16.

“No nukes now. No nukes probably forever,” says environmental activist Kevin Moore. 

Moore, in the late 1980s, went to jail as a protester seeking to block the licensing of nuclear power plants.

He’s remained active since. And, like many no-nuke demonstrators who committed to the cause in the late 1970s and 1980s, he’s baffled by the current campaign to build new plants.

“Did I miss something?” the 72-year-old activist asked. “Did they figure out what to do with the waste?”

The answer is no.

Yet, the Wisconsin Assembly has passed AB 384, which would remove a barrier to building new nuclear plants enacted in 1983, four years after a meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania and three years before the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. Current state law prohibits new plants until the construction of a federal storage facility for nuclear waste.

A Senate committee held a hearing on its version of the pro-nuclear bill, SB288, on Jan. 5, but had not voted on the measure when WiG went to press.

Republican state Rep. Kevin Petersen, in a memo introducing the bill, described nuclear power as affordable, clean, safe and necessary. 

Proponents also argue Wisconsin needs nuclear options to comply with the Obama administration’s clean power plan requiring energy producers to reduce carbon emissions. 

But opponents say that’s a false argument.

“Nuclear energy is a distraction from realistic, cost-effective methods to reduce carbon emissions in Wisconsin: energy efficiency and renewable energy,” the Clean Wisconsin environmental group said in a statement on AB 384. “Nuclear is exorbitantly expensive and new plants take decades to get up and running.”

The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters refers to AB 384 as the “Nuking Wisconsin’s Energy Priorities Law” and has urged members to lobby their legislators.

The Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter also opposes the measure.

Meanwhile, the national Sierra Club has responded to a renewed nuclear energy push with a “nuclear free future” campaign.

“The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy,” read a statement from the leading environmental group.

“Although nuclear plants have been in operation for less than 60 years, we now have seen three serious disasters,” the statement continued, referring to Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011. “Nuclear is no solution to climate change and every dollar spent on nuclear is one less dollar spent on truly safe, affordable and renewable energy sources.”

The Sierra Club’s nuclear-free campaign emphasizes:

• The issue of what to do with the long-lived waste created by the fissioning of uranium remains unresolved.

• Uranium mining has contaminated large sections of the southwestern United States and many other areas in the world.

• Older nuclear plants sit in areas more densely populated than when they were built and almost all leak tritium and other radionuclides into groundwater.

• Newer nuclear plants remain expensive and need enormous amounts of water.

• Despite what energy industry leaders claim, nuclear power has a huge carbon footprint. Carbon energy powers uranium mining, milling, processing, conversion and enrichment, as well as the formulation of fuel rods and construction of plants.

A letter that Sierra’s John Muir chapter sent to Wisconsin lawmakers on behalf of a Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free Coalition warned passage of the pro-nuclear bill could lead to the state becoming a depository for nuclear waste.

Elizabeth Ward of the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter, Katie Nekola of Clean Wisconsin, Amy Schulz of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Peter Skopec of Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group and Al Gedicks of Wisconsin Resources Protection Council signed the letter, along with Chuck Baynton and Judy Miner.

The coalition said passage of the bill could “send a strong message to the Department of Energy that Wisconsin is open to hosting a nuclear waste repository. In the 1980s, the DOE ranked Wisconsin’s Wolf River Batholith as No. 2 for a second high-level nuclear waste repository. A 2008 DOE Study on the Need for a Second Repository listed Wisconsin as one of the top potential states based on our granite geology. After the cancellation of the potential Yucca Mountain repository, the DOE is desperate to find an alternative.”

Wisconsin’s energy mix

Wisconsin has one operational nuclear power plant, Point Beach, north of Two Rivers. 

About 15.5 percent of Wisconsin’s electricity is nuclear-generated, 62.3 percent is coal, 13.2 percent natural gas, 3.4 percent hydroelectric and 5.5 percent renewable.

— Lisa Neff

Wisconsin lawmakers forward bill to prevent activists from filming hunters violating laws

Wisconsin lawmakers edged closer last week to passing a bill that would prohibit animal rights activists from following, photographing or videotaping hunters in the woods.

The Assembly’s natural resources committee passed the Republican-authored bill on a 14-1 vote despite questions about whether it is necessary or constitutional.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot buffer zone between protesters and abortion clinics, saying that it violated the protesters’ free speech rights, even though they were often terrorizing women, many of whom were already in an emotional crisis.

But while the committee’s minority Democrats questioned whether the bill might violate nature lovers’ free speech rights, only one of them, Rep. Diane Hesselbein of Middleton, ultimately voted against the proposal.

The bill also would add dog training, baiting and feeding — all controversial practices that many hunters regard as inhumane and “cheating” to the list of protected hunting activities. It would expand the definition of interference to include remaining in a hunter’s sight, photographing a hunter, using a drone to photograph a hunter and confronting a hunter more than twice with the intention of interfering with or impeding their activity. First-time violators would face a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses would carry steeper fines as well as jail time.

Hunters have been complaining of harassment since the Wolf Patrol, a group of animal rights activists, followed and filmed wolf hunters in Wisconsin and Montana in 2014 looking for illegal activity. The federal government placed Great Lakes wolves back on the endangered species list last year, ending Wisconsin wolf hunts for the moment. But now bear hunters fear that activists will come after them next.

Still, it’s unclear whether hunter harassment is really a problem in Wisconsin. State law already prohibits stalking and interfering with hunting, fishing or trapping activities.

During a hearing about the bill last month, its author, Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, pointed to anecdotes about people making noise under tree stands to ruin hunts as a reason it’s needed. But he didn’t cite a single instance where someone had been convicted of harassing or threatening a hunter and he didn’t respond to repeated messages seeking clarification of that point.

A state Department of Natural Resources spokesman had no data immediately available when asked if the agency has any record of hunter harassment convictions. Wolf Patrol representatives say the group has never actually impeded or interfered with anyone.

The bill’s opponents say the state’s stalking laws already protect hunters and blocking people from watching, approaching or photographing hunters on public land would violate the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee.

Republicans on the committee joined with Democrats last week and adopted an amendment from Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, which clarifies that someone would have to intentionally interfere with a hunting activity to be convicted. But Rep. Katrina Shankland, a Stevens Point Democrat who voted in favor of the bill, still pressed the committee’s attorney, Larry Konapacki, for his opinion on whether the bill would withstand a constitutional challenge.

“That is a really difficult question,” Konopacki replied. “This is something that might be tested at some point.”

Wisconsin Republicans celebrate ‘Corruptoberfest’

It seems that in the spirit of the fall season, Assembly Republicans have created their own new way to celebrate  — Corruptoberfest!

The last few weeks have been an absolute embarrassment for Wisconsin.

The Assembly Republicans are working hard to dismantle everything that used to make Wisconsin an example for the rest of the country. They paved the way for our elections to be dominated by corporate money, set in place a system to give government jobs to unqualified political hacks, and disassembled Wisconsin’s highly acclaimed Government Accountability Board. For decades, since the days of Fighting Bob La Follette, Wisconsinites were proud to be from a state that was a national leader in clean and open government. In a very short amount of time, Assembly Republicans have destroyed that.

So, instead of this being the time of year where people are enjoying the beautiful fall colors, watching the Packers and Badgers, or picking out their Halloween costumes, the Republicans have decided that fall in Wisconsin is corruption season.

Happy Corruptoberfest everyone!

Note: The Wisconsin State Assembly this week passed AB 373 by a vote of 57-35. This bill would essentially gut Wisconsin’s exemplary civil service system and encourage corruption and cronyism. AB 373 comes only a week after the Assembly Republicans passed three bills that will tarnish Wisconsin’s reputation for clean and open government.