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02
May
2017

workersRepublican Legislative Leader Debunks Prevailing Wage Savings Claims.

Written by State Senate Democrats   
 
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01
May
2017

students-ecTrempealeau County Youth in Government Day brings students into the courthouse to visit with officials and staff about their work. It gave Kathleen Vinehout a chance to spent time with them discussing her role as Senator and engage in a conversation about what they would change if they had the opportunity.


WHITEHALL, WI - “Imagine you could make the laws. What would you change about how things are run?” My question to the students spurred a long discussion about change in our world.

Almost 100 high school students recently participated in Trempealeau County Youth in Government Day. The daylong session was designed to encourage youth to become engaged in government. Students visited with county officials and staff about their work running county services.

During lunch, I spoke with the students about being a Senator and lawmaking. I encouraged them to think about laws as something they could someday change.

trempealeau-coTeens told me they often think of the law as permanent. The day at the courthouse taught them things can change. They can be a part of change. The teens offered ideas that reflected their interests and experiences. Some focused on immediate concerns, “Get rid of the school dress code,” said Isabelle. Some had a larger vision.

“I want to save the horses sent across the Mexican border for meat,” said Raquel. We talked about the work of horse rescue groups who give time and money to help abandoned horses.

“We need to protect the environment. If we protect our environment, we protect human health and animal habitat,” one young woman explained.

“Fewer people are going into agriculture. Let’s offer free tuition to encourage more agriculture students and farmers.” Several students voiced agreement. “Everyone needs to eat – we need more farmers.” “Look at the average age of farmers in Wisconsin,” said another.

“We need cheaper college tuition,” said one young man. Others agreed. “Look what they did in New York – they made college free.” Another student noted, “Even in Kurdistan they have free college tuition.” I’m not sure about Kurdistan, but there are countries do not charge students tuition.

“We need to give everyone equal opportunity,” said Kayla, whose broad vision spurred others to think of ways to provide opportunity to all of our neighbors.

Shelly talked of helping homeless children. “Give them a home, lower the cost of adoption,” she said. We talked about the county’s role in helping children whose parents could not take care of them. Several students mentioned their visit with county social workers who spoke about children in need.

Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
 
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01
May
2017

hicap-residentsAn action alert on high capacity wells in Wisconsin. Contact your Assembly representative by Tuesday morning.


STATEWIDE - SB76 (and companion bill AB105) allows currently existing High-Capacity Wells to be repaired, reconstructed, replaced or transferred without further permit review for cumulative effects on the aquifer. In certain parts of the state there are already lowered stream and lake levels from withdrawals. This bill is a license to withdraw large amounts of water and this license never expires!

hicap-wellSB76 has already passed the Senate and is now on the calendar for a vote in the Assembly tomorrow. In the Assembly Rep. Cory Mason has offered several amendments to reduce the harm caused by SB76, but chances for passage of those amendments are not strong.

Please note the link below to the background information and contact your Assembly representative by Tuesday morning.

The League supports the Public Trust standard for the water in Wisconsin, which holds that water - both above and below ground - impacts the lives of all citizens in this state. It must be protected for the use of ALL citizens.

For a link to background information, click here.

To find your own Assembly Representative, click here and enter your address under Find My Legislators, next to the little green map of Wisconsin.

Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
 
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29
Apr
2017

wisc-supremecourt-justicesLeague of Women Voters supports Assembly Bill 137 requiring notice of contributions made to the campaign committee of a judge or justice to parties in a pending case.


MADISON - The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin believes there are three important measures in establishing criminal sanctions. Society is protected from criminal acts by deterrence, incapacitation and reform of offenders. We have a justice system whose purpose is to review criminal acts and take appropriate action to protect society and help prevent further criminal acts. Ultimately our criminal justice system is in the hands of judges, and citizens in Wisconsin should have absolute confidence that judges will be fair and impartial.

We would certainly never suggest that campaign contributions automatically undermine a judge’s neutrality. That would be an affront to the distinguished women and men serving on Wisconsin’s bench. But we have seen that contributions supporting a judicial campaign can erode public trust, even if the judge may be acting fairly.

It is good that judges have campaign committees that handle the money, and are not allowed to accept contributions themselves. However, most people do not make that distinction, and that public perception is what we are concerned about. Any citizen who has to appear in court should have absolute confidence that a campaign contribution will not influence the judge’s impartiality. In the unfortunate absence of objective recusal rules addressing this problem, notice of financial contributions to the campaign of a judge or justice by a party in a pending case is essential.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin supports AB 137, which requires notice of certain contributions made to the campaign of a judge or justice. This legislation provides that whenever an someone makes a contribution to the candidate committee of a court of appeals, circuit, or municipal judge or supreme court justice in a pending civil or criminal action or proceeding over which the judge or justice is presiding, the contributor must within five days notify in writing the judge or justice and the parties in the case of the date and amount of the contribution.

Public trust is enhanced by openness and information. Requiring notice of contributions made by parties in a pending case is an important step in boosting public confidence in the courts in our state.

Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
 
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