mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

Wisconsin OKs Recall Elections For GOP Sens. Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen, Dan Kapanke

The Wisconsin board that oversees elections rejected most challenges Monday to a recall effort targeting three Republican state senators, clearing the way for a July 12 election.

The Government Accountability Board rejected the challenges made to recall petitions targeting Republican Sens. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Luther Olsen of Ripon.

They are among nine lawmakers, six Republicans and three Democrats, targeted for recalls for their positions on GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal taking away collective bargaining rights from most state workers.

Democrats are pushing the recalls as a way to gain majority control of the Senate, which they lost in the fall 2010 election. Democrats need to pick up three seats to gain a majority.

Republicans currently control both houses of the Legislature, providing GOP Gov. Scott Walker a clear path to passing his legislative agenda.

It was passage of Walker’s collective bargaining proposal that motivated all nine recalls. Republicans were targeted for supporting the bill while the Democrats were targeted for leaving the state for three weeks in an ultimately vain attempt to block passage of the bill.

The law has not taken effect pending a legal challenge.

State lawmakers are considering passing the law again, as part of the state budget in June, if the courts have not resolved the issue by then.

Most of the recall elections are likely to take place July 12, unless delayed by a court challenge. If a primary is necessary, that would occur July 12 with the general election likely Aug. 9.

The other Republican lawmakers facing recall elections are Sens. Robert Cowles of Allouez, Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Alberta Darling of River Hills. Democrats facing recalls are Sens. Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Robert Wirch of Pleasant Prairie and Jim Holperin of Conover.

The board plans to evaluate the challenges to those six recall petitions at its May 31 meeting, and likely would certify all the petitions that same week.

By: Jason Smathers, Associated Press, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Lawmakers, Politics, Public Employees, Republicans, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Recall Election Threat Prompts State Republicans To Rush Agenda

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP leaders have launched a push to ram several years’ worth of conservative agenda items through the Legislature this spring before recall elections threaten to end the party’s control of state government.

Republicans, in a rapid sequence of votes over the next eight weeks, plan to legalize concealed weapons, deregulate the telephone industry, require voters to show photo identification at the polls, expand school vouchers and undo an early release for prisoners.

Lawmakers may also act again on Walker’s controversial plan stripping public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.  An earlier version, which led to massive protest demonstrations at the Capitol, has been left in limbo by legal challenges.

“Everything’s been accelerated,” said Republican Rep. Gary Tauchen, who is working on the photo ID bill. “We’ve got a lot of big bills we’re trying to get done.”

The speed-up is the latest move in a tumultuous legislative session that followed last fall’s midterm elections in which Republicans won the governorship and control of both houses of the Legislature. In other states where conservatives won major victories, such as Ohio, Florida and Michigan, the GOP has moved more deliberatively.

Walker got off to a fast start in January, passing a slew of measures before he unveiled a two-year budget designed to plug a $3.6 billion shortfall. That legislation, involving deep cuts to a wide range of programs, was expected to consume months. Other measures were on tap for next year. But a three-week boycott by Democrats in the winter and recall efforts targeting nine legislators have changed the strategy.

“They know there’s a very strong possibility their days of controlling every level of government are numbered,” Democratic Assembly Leader Peter Barca said. “You’re moving forward huge pieces of legislation that dramatically change the direction and traditions and values of this state. Generally, doing that takes much longer.”

Recall campaigns likely will force six Republican senators to defend their seats this summer. Three Democrats may also be on recall ballots. A net victory of three seats would give the Democrats control of the Senate, which the GOP now controls 19-14. The first elections are scheduled for July 12.

At least publicly, Wisconsin Republicans deny they’re rushing legislation for fear of losing their majority.

“Right now, I don’t foresee (losing the majority),” Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said. “Obviously, I’m sure it will be in the back of your mind, but you’ll have to see how that plays out later this summer.”

But Rep. Robin Vos, co-chairman of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, which will attempt to handle two months of budget legislation in half the usual time, acknowledged, “It’s a factor. For the budget, yeah, I want to get it done by June 30.”

Four of the 12 Republicans on the committee are targets of the recall.

The blitz has created an almost frantic atmosphere in the Capitol.

Major bills, like the one to legalize concealed weapons, were introduced just days before public hearings. A major revision to the photo ID proposal was released late on a Friday afternoon, just four days before a committee passed it, prompting complaints from the nonpartisan board that oversees elections.

“There has been no time for the careful evaluation and vetting needed to ensure the best options for voters and election officials is enacted,” wrote Kevin Kennedy, head of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board.

Republican leaders scheduled a full Assembly vote on a bill deregulating the telecommunications industry only a week after a hearing, leaving little opportunity for public comment.

Walker said his plan to move his agenda is unchanged.  “From our standpoint, it’s really been about being aggressive from the beginning,” he said in an interview.

At the same time lawmakers are pushing through conservative policies, they will be wrestling with Walker’s budget proposal. Walker wants to cut roughly $1 billion from schools and local governments, split the Madison campus from the University of Wisconsin System and slow the growth of Medicaid by $500 million.

The Legislature also may try to quickly pass a redistricting plan, a politically charged process that would reshape congressional and legislative districts with new 2010 census data.

If the Legislature votes again on Walker’s plan stripping public workers of their union negotiating rights, it can sidestep the legal challenges to the first vote, which came after 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to deprive the Senate of a quorum. Unions and Democrats claim the original vote violated the open meetings law and the state constitution’s quorum requirement. The case is pending before the state Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he and other leaders are just trying to make up the time lost during the earlier turmoil. “There is an expectation that some of these bills would be completed early on,” he said.

By: Scott Bauer, Huffington Post, May 7, 2011

May 8, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Economy, Education, Elections, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Ideologues, Lawmakers, Medicaid, Middle Class, Politics, Public Employees, State Legislatures, States, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Recalls Are Heating Up

Recent protests at WI capitol

Recall elections loom on the horizon as petitions against nine Wisconsin state senators were recently submitted to the Government Accountability Board (GAB). Each successful petition must include 25 percent of the total number of votes cast in that senate district in the last election.

The recall efforts of Republican senators who supported Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill, and the Democratic senators who left the state to delay voting on the bill, are a result of the political firestorm that quickly flared up over the bill that sought to eliminate almost all collective bargaining rights for public workers.

Currently, the Republican senators who are facing a recall election are Alberta Darling, Robert Cowles, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke. Democrats are facing recall efforts are — Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that there have also been petitions that didn’t have enough signatures on them to spark a recall. Democratic senators Lena Taylor and Spencer Coggs (both from Milwaukee), Senate Minority Mark Miller (Monona) and Fred Risser (Madison) all have all survived the recall attempts against them. Recall efforts against Republicans Glenn Grothman (West Bend) and Mary Lazich (New Berlin) also failed to garner sufficient support.

Circulators hired by the state Republican Party have submitted “hundreds if not thousands of invalid signatures” in recall drives targeting three Democratic state senators. Volunteers have been working overtime to enter each name into a data base and cross-check it with the phone book and other record. One man who signed a recall petition was Bill Pocan, the deceased father of State Representative Marc Pocan. The Wisconsin Democratic Party (DPW) is formally challenging  all three of the recall petitions filed against Democrat senators.

Republicans have filed challenges against “all petitions targeting GOP senators. In addition to their individual signature challenges, they claim the GAB should throw out the petitions because the recall organizers did not properly register with the state.” The elections for recalled legislators with completed petitions will likely be held July 12, 2011.

By: Jennifer Page, Center for Media and Democracy, May 6, 2011

May 6, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Democracy, Elections, Gov Scott Walker, Politics, Public Employees, State Legislatures, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: