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Updated: Dec. 06 (20:43)

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1-6-2012
Posted On: Jan 14, 2012

 

Old School Dance
 
The Urban League of Racine-Kenosha is sponsoring Old School Dance" on January 7, 2012 at Local 72 Headquarters. This is open to the public. For more information call the Urban League at 262-652-2111or 262-637-8532.
 
While Republicans claim they're focused "like a laser" on job creation during the so-called special jobs session, Zach at Blogging Blue has compiled a list of these bills pushed by Republicans. Ask yourself how many jobs each of these would create:
 
·      Passed AB 69, a bill implementing the "Castle Doctrine" providing immunity to property owners using lethal force against an intruder.
 
·      Passed SB 237, a bill allowing school districts to teach abstinence-only sex education instead of a more comprehensive sex education program.
 
·      Passed a bill creating an elected comptroller office in Milwaukee County.
 
·      Passed a bill that would stipulate that property owners are not liable for trespassers on their property.
 
 
Wisconsin Manufature & Commerce chair touting
 Walker's "pro-business" record will lay off 450 workers
 
The news that Wausau Paper Corp. will be laying off 450 workers was sad and unfortunately familiar to those of us living under Gov. Scott Walker's rule. What's interesting is that Wausau Paper's President & CEO is also the chair of the corporate special interest lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce -- a group that has been pushing a survey showing optimism among it's "job-creating" members.
 
News of layoffs is familiar of course, because despite all the corporate giveways Gov. Walker could dream up, Wisconsin's economy is among the worst in the nation. And yet, every pro-corporate front group  is touting the survey from WMC that suggests Gov. Walker's corporate takeover of our state is working.
 
Ask a chamber of commerce executive in Wisconsin how the business climate is today, and you're likely to hear "Wisconsin is open for business."
 
With the highest participation in five years, nearly 90 Wisconsin chamber of commerce executives participated in the annual economic outlook survey compiled by the state chamber of commerce, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
 
WMC has even taking to defend Gov. Walker against recall, writing: Governor Walker has a strong pro-jobs record. We cannot sit idly by and allow pro-business elected officials to be recalled because of their courage.
 
The group has a huge list of Gov. Walker's "Victories" for business, including his infamous tax breaks for corporations and the rich, among others. And yet, despite all the supposed optimism from the suits at WMC, its very own chair, Thomas Howatt, will be laying off 450 workers  at the Wausau Paper Corp. next year.
 
Cody Oliphanton November 14, 2011
 
Wisconsin has a Republican governor, a Republican majority in the state Senate, and a Republican majority in the state Assembly, not to mention a conservative stronghold in the State Supreme Court. Yet, the GOP is claiming they are powerless to pass any key job creation legislation this session.
 
Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature touted the recent three-week floor period as a jobs session. But much of the focus was on other issues, such as where to allow guns in the Capitol and letting schools teach abstinence-only sex education courses.
 
But even the right wing is claiming they're creating jobs, they're not. After handing out $2.3 billion in tax breaks to corporations and the rich, still unemployment increased under their watch. 
 
SIGNING RECALL PETITION
 
To sign a recall petition, you must be a qualified elector in Wisconsin and reside in the district of the official who is the subject of the petition.  (For Governor/Lt. Governor, this means you need to reside in Wisconsin.  For a petition to recall a state senator, you must reside in the district in which the senator was elected.)
 
You do not need a government-issued photo identification to circulate or sign a recall petition (but you will need a photo ID to vote in the next election).
You do not need to be a registered voter to circulate or sign a recall petition.
• As long as you are a qualified elector in Wisconsin, you can sign a recall petition whether or not you have ever voted in Wisconsin.
You do not need to be a member of a political party to circulate or sign a recall petition.
You can circulate or sign a recall petition even if you have outstanding debts or obligations, such as parking tickets, child support payments, or taxes.
You can circulate or sign a recall petition even if you have already signed another recall petition (note, however, that only one signature per person will be counted). 
You cannot lose your government benefits for signing a recall petition.  
• Recall petition signatures must be dated.
• The address given by the person signing must be the residential address (not PO Box).
 
 
 
Top 10 Highlights, or in this case, a Top Ten list of Lowlights for 2011.
 
10. Gov. Scott Walker tells fake "David Koch" caller that he thought about placing troublemakers into peaceful crowd of men, women and children protesting his so called "budget repair" bill.
 
9.  A top republican staffer admits in federal court sworn deposition that GOP used ten years of election data to redraw legislative and congressional district lines but it was not meant to favor GOP in elections.
 
8.  While saying that Wisconsin is broke, Republicans manage to scratch together $2.3 billion for tax giveaways to big corporations.
 
7.  Still asserting their "no tax increase" pledge Republicans raise taxes on middle class families and seniors by nearly $70 million.  (Shhh don't tell Grover Norquist or maybe his pledge only matters if it involves the top 1%).
 
6.  Republicans honor Veterans by giving $2 million for storage space at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum while cutting $2 million from low income and homeless veteran’s assistance programs.
 
5.  Republican leaders decide that the state's Open Meetings Law doesn't apply to a hastily called dark of night meeting where they vote to end workers' rights.  Shockingly Justice Prosser and a GOP dominated Wisconsin Supreme Court decide that lawmakers don't have to follow the law.
 
4.  Governor Walker and majority of Republicans gleefully end 50 years of workers' rights while chanting the state is broke.  Please see #8.
 
3.  Republicans claimed to have made education a priority. They cut nearly $2 billion from K-12 public schools and higher education while at the same time giving $40 million more to private voucher schools.  Apparently they only made private education a priority.
 
2.  Governor Walker decides to eliminate health insurance coverage for 50,000 to 65,000 men, women and children.
  
1.  While Gov. Walker and the GOP focus like a laser on jobs, Wisconsin has the dubious honor in leading the nation in lost jobs in November, making it the fifth straight month of job losses.
 
Unfortunately with so many lowlights in the State of Wisconsin this year, it was hard to decide which ones should make the Top 10 list.  This is especially true when it comes to the state's strict new Voter ID law, new laws to favor powerful special interests over consumers in court and allowing a mining company to write a mining deregulation bill.
 
Statements Regarding Performance Bonus to Wisconsin for Covering UninsuredKids
 
On December 28, 2011 Wisconsin received a $24.5 million “Performance Bonus” from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, recognizing the state’s success in covering uninsured children. In response, members of the Save BadgerCare Coalition issued the following statements:
 
“This funding is national recognition for Wisconsin’s success in making government work better to cover uninsured children. Thanks to many years of bipartisan leadership by state policymakers, Wisconsin managed to make BadgerCare affordable to low-wage working families and to eliminate other barriers to the participation of children and parents,” said Sara Finger, executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health and Save BadgerCare Coalition coordinator.
 
“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for families in BadgerCare because these funds could be used to avoid making proposed changes that would knock more than 64,000 people out of the program,” said Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (WCCF).
 
“If we use this funding to preclude the changes that would make BadgerCare unaffordable for many low-wage working parents and their children, we should be able to count on two more years of performance bonuses of roughly the same amount as this year’s award,” said Jon Peacock, WCCF’s research director.
 
“Because the economic downturn continues to hit Wisconsin families hard, we’ve got to keep up the good work to help parents who never thought they would need these programs, so they can help protect their children and their own well-being,” said David Riemer, senior fellow, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute.  “If we use this new funding to protect the current coverage for uninsured families, we can make Medicaid and BadgerCare work even better and deliver even more value for taxpayers.”
 
“This performance bonus highlights the critical role Medicaid plays in meeting Wisconsin’s health care needs.  Medicaid not only works hand-in-hand with Medicare to provide long-term care for seniors and the disabled, it also lets thousands of children who would otherwise be uninsured get the care they need to grow and thrive,” said A.J. Nino Amato, president, Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.
 
Feds ordered Walker to lift cap on Family Care
 
Good publicity turned bad for Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday, December 29th when details of a letter from the federal government cast doubt on his motivations for lifting the cap on a state safety net for elderly and disabled residents. On Wednesday, flanked by advocates for the state's needy population, the governor announced he was lifting the cap on Family Care and would offer legislation to expand by $80 million the program that keeps the elderly and disabled out of nursing homes. The changes had been in the works for month.
 
But on Thursday the State Journal obtained a copy of a Dec. 13 letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ordering the state to lift the cap and immediately enroll people not enrolled since Walker capped the program in July.
 
Walker did not mention the letter during Wednesday's announcement, a move which a day later has led critics to accuse the governor of trying to take credit for something he was being ordered to do. "To try and take credit for this move was despicable," said state Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee.
 
Richards was one of 37 legislators who in July signed a letter sent to the federal government, asking officials to step in and force Walker to remove the cap.
 
Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor did not reveal the existence of the letter because it dealt with "permanent caps," which the state never intended, and did not reference the "expansion of the program."
"The governor always planned to lift the Family Care cap — just as he shared with news outlets earlier this year," Werwie said.
 
Beth Sweeden, executive director for the Board for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, attended Wednesday's press conference. She said she worked with the Walker administration for the past half-year on the Family Care changes. She said the understanding always was the caps would be removed. Regardless of the letter, she said Thursday, she is happy the caps are gone.
 
"The people I serve do not care who gets the credit, they just need the program," she said. Jon Peacock of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said he is also still glad the cap has been lifted. "I'm just disappointed the governor was not more forthcoming with the back story," he said.
 
The Family Care expansion, according to the governor, was made possible by a previously planned increase in funding, combined with efficiencies discovered during an audit. The program cost $936 million last year, and the state budget includes roughly $1.5 billion for the program in each of the next two years. Expanding the program will require the Legislature to act, and Walker said he expects wide bipartisan support for the measure, which many Democrats view as an attempt to soften his image with a recall election likely next year. 
 
Democrats have voiced support for the expansion, but it is unclear if the governor will get that kind of support from his own party. "I'm still skeptical of it," Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Thursday. "I haven't seen the entire plan, but I have a hard time seeing how we can expand Family Care right now." Vos said that while he is not a fan of the plan, he doubts there was anything sinister about Walker's not mentioning the letter. When asked if he thought it was handled correctly, he said: "I'm a big believer in full disclosure, so I can't tell you." 
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, both said they were still looking over the proposal.

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