Politics & Government

Housing costs saving piggy bank under magnifying glass

Appropriations Committee member Rep. Pocan holds forth on Trump budget

BY: - February 17, 2020

It’s a Friday morning media ritual that U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan indulges in from time to time when he’s back in Wisconsin: The Democratic 2nd District congressman holds forth in an informal, open-ended news chat with local reporters, riffing on all things Washington in his Madison office just off the Capitol Square. Last Friday offered […]

Eyeball with reflection of woman and fist approcahin

What is Wisconsin doing to address violence against women?

BY: - February 17, 2020

Nationally the Violence Against Women Act has expired, and in Wisconsin bills to help women have been politicized or ignored. One year ago, Feb. 15, 2019, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired in Congress following a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over the federal budget. Passed in 1994, the act supported resources and services […]

Wisconsin dairy cows in large animal feeding operation

Livestock bill ‘streamlines’ permitting process

BY: - February 14, 2020

Legislation that would make a sweeping change to the process for municipalities to weigh in on large livestock operations ran into resistance Thursday as lawmakers conducted a public hearing on the measure. Advocates for AB-894 in the Assembly and SB-808 in the Senate — the result of collaboration between some farm lobbying groups and the […]

The Joint Commitee on Finance. (Photo by Isiah Holmes)

Closing Lincoln Hills detention facilities stalls

BY: - February 14, 2020

The battle for criminal justice reform in Wisconsin continued Wednesday at the Joint Finance Committee (JCF), with a looming planned closing date of July 1, 2021 for the state’s notorious juvenile detention facilities at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, near Irma. Six facilities had been planned to replace the […]

President Donald J. Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, en route to Manchester- Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, N.H. | Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour via Flickr Public Domain

U.S. Senate approves bipartisan measure to curb Trump’s military power

BY: - February 13, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate issued a rare bipartisan rebuke to President Donald Trump Thursday when it approved a resolution that would curtail his ability to take military action against Iran without first securing congressional approval. The resolution passed with support from 55 senators, including eight Republicans. “The resolution before the body today is about Congress reclaiming its […]

Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment stand outside the entrance to the Virginia Capitol in Richmond on the opening day of the 2020 legislative session. | Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury

U.S. House votes to remove ERA obstacle

BY: - February 13, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted on Thursday to remove one barrier to adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but plenty of legal and political obstacles remain. The House voted 232-183 on Thursday — largely along partisan lines — to approve a resolution that would remove an expired congressional deadline for the […]

Police tape with red and blue lights blurred from behind it.

‘Tougher on crime’ bills pass despite calls for reform

BY: - February 12, 2020

The “tougher on crime” bill package reached an emotional peak in the Capitol during the Assembly floor session Tuesday, which resulted in the bills being passed. Democrats sparred with Republican proponents of the package for hours, some saying the bills both target specific communities — namely Milwaukee — and take Wisconsin’s criminal justice system back […]

Big-money lobbyists against regulating PFAS

BY: - February 12, 2020

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and four other special interest groups opposed to bills aimed at regulating so-called “forever chemicals” have spent more than $13.3 million on lobbying and elections in the last five years. The bills they oppose, Assembly Bills 842 and 843 and Senate Bills 772 and 773, would fund research, clean-up efforts, […]

During a debate on bills to prevent a rape kit backlog many Republican seats (left side of Assembly floor) sit empty with no GOP leaders present.

Rape victims on the losing end of Assembly drama

BY: - February 12, 2020

The first signal of the contentious debate to come was Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) challenging the Democrats right to bring forward AB 214 — the bipartisan bill to prevent a rape kit backlog sponsored by 72 legislators. Democrats forwarded it as an amendment to replace AB 844, a poison-pill laden bill that ties preventing […]

children at school looking at a computer

What happened to Gov. Evers’ proposal on schools?

BY: - February 12, 2020

School funding did not come up in the Assembly yesterday, despite Gov. Tony Evers’ call for a special session to discuss his proposal to spend part of the state budget surplus on reducing property taxes and increasing the state’s share of education funding. Democrats started the day praising the governor’s call to restore the state’s […]

Wisconsin farm cornfield and landscape -- Image by David Mark free use from Pixabay

Hurry up and wait for farm crisis package

BY: - February 12, 2020

A package of bills aimed at relieving the dairy farm crisis ended the day Tuesday all dressed up with no place to go. Meeting at 8:30 on Tuesday morning, the Assembly Agriculture Committee took the unusual step of holding a vote immediately after public hearings on seven bills — acting on the apparent assumption that […]

Bascom Hall on the UW Madison campus in fall

Campus speech & protest penalties pass Assembly

BY: - February 12, 2020

The Assembly has dedicated a good bit of energy over the past few years on the topic of free speech on campus, with discussions focused on protecting speech of conservatives and limiting protests or disruptions from other students.  The issue has been championed by Republicans ever since right-wing provocateur Ben Shapiro spoke on the UW-Madison […]