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See Matt Rothschild Next Week Near You PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 11 March 2016 14:30

wisconsindemocracycampaignMADISON - I’m going to be traveling all over the state next week, so I hope you can attend one of my events if you’re in Milwaukee, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Wausau, Green Bay, Appleton, Sheboygan, Waukesha, or Janesville.

The Milwaukee event is Thursday, March 17, and is sponsored by the Milwaukee Press Club and is onKeeping Public Records Public.” I’ll be on a panel with Attorney General Brad Schimel, so I may tangle with him a bit. The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Lake Express High-Speed Ferry Terminal, 2330 S. Lincoln Memorial Drive.

The other events are all panels sponsored by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, and they deal with how to use the open records law. The Council has created Facebook event pages for each of the stops for those on Facebook who care to share them with others.

The stops and locations are listed here:

Day 1: Tuesday, March 15

2 pm: La Crosse
Local sponsor: La Crosse Tribune
Venue: La Crosse Public Library, 800 Main St.

7 pm: Eau Claire
Local sponsor: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
Venue: UW-Eau Claire, Centennial Hall, Room 1614

Day 2: Wednesday, March 16

10 am: Wausau
Local sponsor: Wausau Daily Herald
Venue: Marathon County Public Library; 300 N. 1st St. Wausau

2 pm, Green Bay
Local sponsor: Green Bay Press-Gazette
Venue: Brown County Public Library, 515 Pine St., Green Bay

7:30 Appleton
Local sponsor: Appleton Post-Crescent
Venue: Appleton Public Library, 225 N Oneida St.

Day 3: Thursday, March 17

10 am, Sheboygan
Local sponsor: Sheboygan Press
Venue: Sheboygan Public Library, 710 N 8th St.

2 pm, Waukesha
Local sponsor: Schott, Bublitz and Engel, S.C.
Venue: Waukesha Public Library, 321 W Wisconsin Ave.

7 pm, Janesville
Local sponsor: Janesville Gazette
Venue: Blackhawk Technical College. 6004 S. County G, Janesville, Room 1400B

I hope to see you at one of these events, before I wear out!

Last Updated on Friday, 11 March 2016 14:41
 
Legislative Speed and Secrecy Undermines Deliberative Democracy PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 09:57

rtw-walkoutSen. Kathleen Vinehout writes about the frenetic pace at which bills are moving through the legislative process. Members of the public are working hard to get their voices heard on bills that have real impact on their lives, but this speed coupled with lack of information leads to poor legislative decisions.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 17:29
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Sunshine Week 2016, Reflecting Back on the 2015 Budget Open Records Attack PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Friday, 04 March 2016 16:15

joint-financeMADISON - The last day of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) state budget work in the summer of 2015 was expected to be a day with some surprises. One surprise no one could have anticipated was the inclusion of page after page of open records changes. Limiting not only nearly every Legislative office record, the changes also would have closed state public agency records and the Governors records as well. Maybe that is why we celebrate “Sunshine Week” every year, to remind us all of the value of open government and the importance of transparency.

To close open records was monumental, epic and dangerous. As JFC Democrats we were given only 15 minutes to talk about the Republican motion that gutted open records. I spent every single second of my time talking about the mistake of the open records change. I remember saying that in the future when these Legislators left office and were looking back, this vote, to gut the open records law, would be their biggest regret because of the damage it would cause the people of Wisconsin.

Not one Republican vote was swayed by that argument and every single Republican on the Committee voted in favor of gutting Wisconsin open records law, including Representative Czaja and Senator Harsdorf. So of course it was a little disappointing that the Wisconsin Newspaper Association honored these two Legislators with awards.

Wisconsin had some of the first open records laws in the country. Decisions making sure records of the government were open for inspection in Wisconsin are almost as old as the state itself. As we are about to embark on Sunshine Week 2016 to celebrate open government, I hope we will all reflect on the 2015 budget open records crisis and remember how quickly the rules can change if we take them for granted.

I have always been a defender of a strong Wisconsin Open Records law, even when I was sued because I would not give out personally indefinable information of constituents who had contacted my office. The ability to make a decision as a custodian of public records and the counter balance of being able to bring suit when you disagree is central to the Wisconsin open records law and I hope it will be for years to come. Let’s celebrate Sunshine Week 2016 with extra vigilance given the summer of 2015 action.

For more information on Wisconsin’s Open Records law contact my office at 608-266-6670 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 888-549-0027.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 March 2016 16:27
 
Beating Back Walker's Counterrevolution PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 04 March 2016 15:44

scott-walker-MADISON - Last Friday night, I went over to Lake Mills to speak with a great local group called “Progressives Informed and Engaged.” (They’re acronym is PIE, and true to their name, they brought five delicious homemade pies, and I sampled each one!)

Here’s the text of the speech I gave. There’s a lot of hope in it, so please take a look:

Beating back the counterrevolution in Wisconsin

This week, our ace research director, Mike Buelow, dug out some information that no other media outlet has reported yet on some of Walker’s big donors who exceeded the legal limit in their donations to him. To see who’s on the naughty list, just click here:

Eleven contributors prompted $28K in penalties paid by Walker campaign

Meanwhile, back at the Capitol, Walker was rewarding some of his other donors, even as he assaulted Wisconsin’s great tradition of local control and home rule. Landlords and bill collectors were among the winners—and tenants and consumers among the losers:

Walker approves more laws to limit local control

On Tuesday, we unveiled our “Influence Peddler of the Month,” and it’s none other than Kurt Bauer, who heads Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), which is the most powerful outside group inside the Capitol. You can read all about him here:

Influence peddler of the month - Kurt Bauer

In the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing a comprehensive indictment of the anti-democratic and anti-good government laws passed in the last five years of this Walker counterrevolution, laws that were backed by WMC and other special interests.

Please send us a tax-deductible gift today to help cover our research and to support the urgent work that we’re doing to save democracy in Wisconsin: www.wisdc.org/donate

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

***

P.S. You can make your tax-deductible gift simply by clicking here (www.wisdc.org/donate) or by mailing it in to us the old-fashioned way at 203 S. Peterson St, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703. Either way, we really appreciate it!

Last Updated on Friday, 04 March 2016 16:02
 
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