The last 2 Fridays have been awesome news (for us) in Wisconsin. I'm not sure if it's the start of another big Friday News Dump Day, but it's definitely starting.
We start with some not so great news. Democratic State Senator Jim Holperin, who survived the Republican feeble "me, too" recall attempt last summer, has announced he's not running for re-election.
"Politics and legislating are fascinating and fulfilling work and I’ve enjoyed 20 years of it in the state Assembly, state Senate and as a cabinet secretary," he said in a statement.He's sitting in the reddest district for a Democrat and wasn't helped by the redistricting recently declared valid except for 2 Milwaukee districts. This seat may flip to the Republicans.
We thank him profusely for standing strong as one of the Democratic 14 State Senators who left the state to prevent the Republican ram through of the Walkers union stripping legislation and for being the target of GOP recall retaliation. He was also the Republicans #1 target in the November election.
In other news, it has been announced that Scott Walker will be taking his union bashing message to Illinois as a speaker for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Lobby Day on April 17.
The chamber hopes Walker's visit helps ratchet up the pressure on lawmakers to do something about Illinois' $85 billion in pension debt, said the group's president, Doug Whitley. The lobby day also coincides with the due date for a report by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's working group on how to deal with Illinois' pension problems.According to a tiny local article at least 1 union is anticipating his visit:
Walker, a Republican, is the subject of a recall campaign in Wisconsin, where he signed a law in 2011 eliminating collective bargaining rights for most public employees. Debate over the law brought thousands of union members and citizens to the state capital, Madison. Democratic legislators in Wisconsin famously fled to Illinois in an attempt to keep Wisconsin's Republican-controlled Legislature from acting on the bill.
"We did pick him (Walker) in part because he was controversial," Whitley said Thursday. "When he was elected governor, he inherited a multibillion-dollar budget problem, and he fixed it. Governor Quinn inherited a multibillion-dollar budget problem, and we've still got it.
Indeed, the Illinois Federation of Teachers called Walker "the dangerous architect of a class warfare battle plan that has torn the state of Wisconsin apart," in reference to Walker's move to greatly curtail public employee collective bargaining as a means to shift benefit costs to workers.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Despite the disappointing ruling of the 3 judge panel that essentially validated the secretly drawn and gerrymandered Republican drawn redistricting map with the exception of changes to 2 Milwaukee districts: It's not over!
Democrats and Latinos asked a federal court Friday to immediately accept briefs on drawing new election maps because the Senate Republican leader has said the Legislature will not take up the issue.Of course Scott Fitzgerald doesn't want the State Senate to reconvene. He no longer has Republican domination of that body since the resignation of Republican State Senator Pam Galloway.
A panel of three federal judges ruled Thursday that Assembly Districts 8 and 9 violated the voting rights of Latinos and that lawmakers should redraw them quickly. But just hours after the decision came out, Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau said there was "not a chance" he would allow the Senate to reconvene ...
In response, the groups who brought the lawsuit filed a motion Friday contending Republicans were defying the court's decision. They asked the judges to quickly accept proposed maps from the parties and hold a half-day hearing on them the week of April 9.
The court said the decision was "not intended to affect any other district" beyond Assembly Districts 8 and 9, adding that fixing those lines must not affect other districts.This might just be the best we can hope for. Otherwise we live with Republican friendly districts all over Wisconsin for the next 10 years.
But Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said that fixing Assembly Districts 8 and 9 may require changes to other districts. If true, that would give Democrats the possibility of establishing Milwaukee-area districts that would be better for them.
A quick resolution is essential. Candidates for the Legislature can start circulating papers to get on the ballot on April 15, and they need to know the contours of their districts to gather signatures....- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Any appeals would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, and both sides have said they are considering appealing.
You Don't Want to Miss This
Please don't miss noiseofrains awesome diary and photographs of the candlelight vigil in Milwaukee. Have tissues handy, it will bring tears to your eyes.
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Update: Glenn Grothman Has a Sad Edition:
Pass the crying towel. Republican State Senators Glenn (protesters are slobs) Grothman and Rich Zipperer have been replaced on the powerful Joint Finance Committee by Democratic State Senators Dave Hansen and Jennifer Shilling (who defeated Randy Hopper in the summer recall elections). This has come as a result of the resignation of Republican State Senator Pam Galloway.
Republicans had controlled the Joint Finance Committee 12-4, but they will now run it by a narrower 10-6. They still maintain a majority on the committee because it includes members of both the Senate and Assembly, and Republicans still have a majority in the Assembly.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Update: You Gotta Be Kidding Edition:
H/T to scribeboyin the comments.
A jury just acquitedformer Republican State Senator (recalled this summer) Randy Hopper of drunk driving and refusing to take a breathalyzer after his arrest.
His tearful testimony was peppered by statements that he was a victim of unions:
On the stand, the former Fond du Lac Republican said he believed he passed his field sobriety tests but began questioning the motives of the officer, Deputy Nicholas Venne, after he was arrested, the Fond du Lac Reporter.No, I'm not kidding. He blamed unions and got away with it. Pathetic.
“I don’t have a lot of faith and trust in Officer Venne at this point because it seemed to me that he was out to get me,” Hopper testified. “There are a lot of people who work in the county that have never met me personally that have sent me some of the most vile messages you have ever seen, sir.”
The Reporter also said:
He then explained that he did not take a preliminary breath test at the Fond du Lac County Jail because county employees have threatened him repeatedly.
“The day everything broke lose in Madison, I had members of the union in my office who said, ‘If you don’t support us, we are going to destroy your life,’” Hopper said. “We’re going to picket your kids’ schools, we’re going to tear apart your reputation, we’re going to have you recalled.”
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Update: These Folks Have Balls Edition:
Remember Cindy Archer? No? Let me refresh you. She's a former top aide to Governor Scott Walker who abruptly left her job in Walkers officer for a lesser position with the Department of Children and Families. No one knew why until her home was raided by the FBI as part of the John Doe Probe.
According to newly released emails, she's looking for another job:
Last month, Archer wrote Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to express interest in a politically appointed position in his Department of Justice.She didn't get the job, nor was she contacted about it.
“I understand there has been a fair amount of press around my name,” Archer wrote Van Hollen on Feb. 21. “I would be happy to address that with you if we meet. For obvious reasons, I ask that you keep this contact as confidential as best you can.”
The email was released this week under the state’s open records law. Archer did not immediately return a call Friday.
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I'm standing by awaiting
other (update) more , hopefully, good news.
Update: It's getting late so I suspect that might be the last for the day.