Daily Bread for 3.24.24: Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Students Against Strip Searches and Sexual Misconduct

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 38. Sunrise is 6:48 and sunset 7:13 for 12h 24m 52s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu is granted the title of shogun from Emperor Go-Yozei, and establishes the Tokugawa shogunate in Edo, Japan

Long overdue, but as Baylor Spears reports Gov. Evers has signed bipartisan legislation to protect students against strip searches and sexual misconduct:

Gov. Tony Evers signed education-related legislation Friday, including a measure to tighten protections for students against strip searches and sexual misconduct.

One measure, Senate Bill 111, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 198, was introduced in reaction to a 2022 incident in which a Suring School District employee, who was searching for vaping devices, allegedly ordered six teenage girls to undress down to their underwear. Neither the students’ parents or law enforcement were informed about or present at the time of the strip search.

The law redefines the meaning of “strip search” and “private area” to include undergarments in order to protect students from any official, employee or agent of any school or school district conducting strip searches. 

Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay), who coauthored the legislation, said in a statement that “being treated with dignity and basic privacy is something that every student should expect when they enter our schools.

“The event at Suring revealed a statutory loophole that needed to be closed,” Steffen said. “This bill will protect our students from experiencing such intrusive searches in the future.”

Another measure, Senate Bill 333, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 200, seeks to better protect students by making sexual misconduct against a student by any school staff member or volunteer a Class I felony. It also adds more violations to the offenses where the state superintendent would be required to revoke a license  without a hearing, and prohibits a licensee from ever having their license reinstated by the state superintendent if they are convicted of a crime against a child that is a Class H felony or higher or a felony invasion of privacy or sexual misconduct by a school staff person or volunteer. 

It should not have required reporting on strip searches over a vape pen for this legislature and this governor to agree on legislation against those kinds of searches.

Better late than never is worse, and too late, for some.

Building a heart atlas:

Daily Bread for 3.20.24: A Legal (and Free Market) Victory Against the National Association of Realtors®

 Good morning.

The first full day of Spring in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 40. Sunrise is 6:55 and sunset 7:08 for 12h 13m 11s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 81.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM

On this day in 1815, after escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.


For generations, the National Association of Realtors® has controlled (as though it were part monopoly, part cartel) the process of buying and selling homes. That control has now come to an end with much of the credit going to a personal injury lawyer in Missouri and his five clients. 

The end of the Association’s stranglehold on the housing market is a legal victory that’s brought about a free-market victory for buyers and sellers. See Powerful Realtor Group Agrees to Slash Commissions to Settle Lawsuits (‘The National Association of Realtors will pay $418 million in damages and will amend several rules that housing experts say will drive down housing costs’) and Five Ways Buying and Selling a House Could Change (‘The National Association of Realtors has agreed to change its policies to settle several lawsuits brought by home sellers — a move that could reduce commissions’). 

These changes won’t solve housing shortages in Whitewater or other small towns, but they will benefit buyers and sellers across the nation in reduced commissions. (America has had among the highest commission fees in all the developed world.)

Well, done, Missouri attorney Michael Ketchmark and clients. You’ve helped all the nation end entrenched, expensive, anti-competitive practices. 

Notre Dame Cathedral could reopen at the end of 2024 as new spire emerges:

Daily Bread for 3.15.24: A Sunshine Week Story

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 52. Sunrise is 7:04 and sunset 7:02 for 11h 58m 32s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 33.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1991, the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany comes into effect, granting full sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany.

  It’s Sunshine Week in America. You know, your right to know. Miles Maguire has published a story for Sunshine Week about the fight for open government in Wisconsin entitled UW-Oshkosh buried facts about mishandled Native American remains. Sunshine laws uncovered them:

Last April the Wisconsin Examiner published an examination of the way that Native American human remains have been retained by public institutions in Oshkosh long after the passage of a federal law that was intended to speed their repatriation to the tribes that once inhabited the area.

The article included some startling details that demonstrated the callousness of the institutions, especially the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. But the university also managed to keep even more graphic information out of the story.

For example, readers did not learn that a Native American skull, collected in Oshkosh on the south bank of the Fox River, had been stolen in 1990 from an exhibit case on campus and “broken during the bungled burglary.” Nor did they read about the time that the remains of one individual went missing from an excavation where an assistant professor found 43 burials but apparently lost track of one “en route to the archaeology laboratory.”

The reason that these details, contained in inventory records that had been easily accessible at the campus library, were not included in my story was that during the course of my reporting university officials stepped in and placed the documents in a restricted area. I was in the midst of reviewing the documents when the university decided that they needed to be kept from the public on the basis of what turned out to be a completely bogus rationale.

Last month the university released a full set of the inventory records under prodding from the Winnebago County district attorney, whose investigation showed that UW Oshkosh had repeatedly and egregiously manipulated state law.

The DA’s investigation confirmed what I had asserted in a complaint filed in July, that UW Oshkosh had made a mockery of the state’s public records law, slow-walking responses, making up excuses for redacting information and misapplying doctrines like the attorney-client privilege. Among other things, I pointed out, UWO had withheld documents from me that it had released to another news organization and claimed that it had the right to keep from me a copy of an email that I myself had written.

(Emphasis added.)

Again and again: public officials in public institutions conducting public business aren’t entitled to private avenues of concealment. Officials who would like private protections can find those defenses just as soon as they return to private life. 

Not a moment sooner.

See also Speech & Debate in the Whitewater Schools. 

Watch Brewers grounds crew remove outfield covering at American Family Field before opening day:

Daily Bread for 2.25.24: WISGOP Holdouts Admit the Truth About Crackpot Special Council Gableman

 Good morning. Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 54. Sunrise is 6:35 and sunset 5:39 for 11h 03m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated. On this day in 1986, the People Power Revolution forces the president of the Philippines Ferdinand…

Daily Bread for 2.23.24: Wisconsin Ethics Commission Alleges Illegal Scheme by Trump Fundraising Committee and Rep. Janel Brandtjen

 Good morning. Friday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 44. Sunrise is 6:39 and sunset 5:37 for 10h 57m 53s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.3% of its visible disk illuminated. On this day in 1987, Supernova 1987a is seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud.…

Daily Bread for 2.20.24: New Maps

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 53. Sunrise is 6:43 and sunset 5:33 for 10h 49m 27s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 85.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM. The agenda for the meeting appears immediately below: 

On this day in 1943, The Saturday Evening Post publishes the first of Norman Rockwell‘s Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms.

  Gov. Evers has signed new state election maps for Wisconsin that are drawn to his own recommended boundaries. Baylor Spears reports that 

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed new state voting maps Monday morning, which he had proposed and which were passed by the Wisconsin Legislature, creating new legislative districts in time for the 2024 election cycle before the Wisconsin Supreme Court was to choose new maps.

The legislative maps represent a break in Wisconsin Republicans’ grip on legislative power and give Democrats the chance to win additional seats — and majorities in the Legislature — for the first time in over a decade. 

“It’s a new day in Wisconsin,” Evers said at a press conference in the state Capitol to the cheers of surrounding advocates.

“To me, the decision to enact these maps boils down to this: I made a promise to the people of Wisconsin that I would always try to do the right thing and keeping that promise to me matters most, even if members of my own party disagree with me,” Evers said. 


“I wanted fair maps, not maps that are better for one party or the other, including my own,” Evers said. “Wisconsin is not a red state and it is not a blue state. Wisconsin is a purple state and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact. I believe that the people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.” 

Republicans said that they would rather have the maps picked through the legislative process, rather than by the state Supreme Court. Some lawmakers also expressed fears that the Court would choose maps that were worse for Republicans. 

There is a remaining issue of when these new maps take effect.  Rich Kremer reports that 

Democratic state senators, who got their first look at the legislation just before the Senate voted, accused Republicans last week of including the exception [whereby the maps would take effect in November] to guarantee Vos can run under his old district in a potential recall election. That contest is being pursued by conservatives who are angry he’s stood in the wayof impeaching Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe. 

But that effective date was added to the maps bill by the Legislative Reference Bureau, not Republican lawmakers. A bureau memo said the addition “is our standard practice for addressing the initial applicability of a legislative redistricting plan.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor of Law Robert Yablon, who signed onto a legal brief in the redistricting case, told WPR it’s “an open question” as to which maps should apply between now and the November election.

“So, if an early election needed to be held, the likelihood is that someone would need to go back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and ask what map would be applied,” Yablon said. “And the Wisconsin Supreme Court would need to provide some kind of guidance or remedy.”

Yablon said that because the court has already declared the existing Republican-drawn districts illegal, “it will have to be another map, perhaps the Governor’s map,” even though that map doesn’t go into effect until the fall. 

On Monday, Evers said he will ask the court “to clarify that these maps will be in place for any special elections between now and the fall.”

Yesterday was a good day for Wisconsin.

Monkey Eats From Bird Feeder After Escaping Scottish Wildlife Park:

Daily Bread for 2.19.24: Former WISGOP Chairman Says He Was Tricked (But He’s a Lawyer Who Signed False Documents)

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 45. Sunrise is 6:45 and sunset 5:31 for 10h 46m 40s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 78.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board will hold a legislative breakfast at 8 AM, and Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1954, the Soviet Politburo of the Soviet Union orders the transfer of the Crimean Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

Anderson Cooper, Aliza Chasan, Sarah Koch, and Madeleine Carlisle report Former Wisconsin Republican Party chair says he was tricked by fake elector plan:

Former Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt was nominated to be an elector if former President Donald Trump won the state in 2020, but after Trump lost, Hitt and nine other Republican electors met at the state capitol and signed documents falsely claiming Trump won.

Hitt said lawyers told him the documents they were signing were meaningless unless Trump’s legal team won its lawsuit seeking to dismiss over 200,000 votes in two Democratic counties.

Hitt said he was advised that if a court ruled in Trump’s favor and he and the other Republicans did not meet and sign the documents on Dec. 14, 2020 — when the Democratic electors were required to meet to cast their votes for President Biden — he would be responsible for Trump forfeiting Wisconsin.

“It was not a safe time,” he said. “If my lawyer is right, and the whole reason Trump loses Wisconsin is because of me, I would be scared to death.”


But Hitt said he didn’t believe there had been widespread fraud in the state.

Hitt said he was advised by the state GOP’s outside legal counsel on Dec. 4, 2020, to gather the other Republican electors at the Capitol on Dec. 14 and, as a contingency, sign a document claiming they were “the duly elected and qualified Electors for President” for Wisconsin. 

“In case a court would overrule the election here in Wisconsin,” Hitt said he was told.

On the morning of Dec. 14, in a narrow 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to throw out votes cast in the two Democratic counties. Hitt said he and the other fake Wisconsin electors met anyway to sign documents falsely claiming Trump won, because he had been told the Trump campaign was still planning to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hitt is, himself, a lawyer. He signed false documents, and now relies on other lawyers’ opinions in place of his own. He signed false documents and now contends that he was afraid not to sign. (Instead: he was not courageous enough to decline.) 

Hitt is unfit for the law and should be disbarred. No person of good judgment, whether lawyer or non-lawyer, should have sympathy for him. 

Yulia Navalnaya: ‘I will continue the work of Alexei Navalny’:


Daily Bread for 1.17.24: Sure Enough, That ‘Bipartisan’ Marijuana Possession Bill Is Going Nowhere

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 14. Sunrise is 7:21 and sunset 4:48 for 9h 27m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 44.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM and the Library Board at 6:30 PM

On this day in 1944, Allied forces launch the first of four assaults on Monte Cassino to break through the Winter Line and seize Rome, an effort that would ultimately take four months and cost 105,000 Allied casualties.

  Yesterday, I posted on a story about a ‘bipartisan’ marijuana decriminalization bill that seemed unlikely to go anywhere. See On Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession, Bipartisan Bills Don’t Assure Passage (“Success for this bill will not come from those who have proposed it, but instead only if opponents on both sides of decriminalization (‘no’ and ‘more’) are prepared to accept the proposal of a few legislators working in bipartisanship. (As of 12.22.23, the bill had only a few sponsors.)”).

Commenter Joe noted that “Nonetheless, the dinosaur abolitionists in the state senate are persisting and will likely sink Vos’ bill. Evers offering to sign it was probably the kiss of death. No way the Senate R-Team will want to be seen actually cooperating on a matter of high public support with the dreaded Dems.”

Sure enough, later yesterday Speaker Vos proved that he wanted the mere claim of supporting a bill he knew would not pass:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos doesn’t plan to compromise with Senate Republicans who oppose his plan to create a medical marijuana program in Wisconsin.

Vos, a Republican from Rochester, told reporters Tuesday he won’t amend a bill from Assembly Republicans to create the program to address concerns Senate Republicans have with the legislation.

 Change awaits redistricting. 

The world’s largest iceberg

Daily Bread for 1.16.24: On Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession, Bipartisan Bills Don’t Assure Passage

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 5. Sunrise is 7:21 and sunset 4:47 for 9h 25m 58s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 31.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

  The Whitewater Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1786, Virginia enacts the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.

  Rich Kremer reports Bipartisan bill would decriminalize marijuana possession under 14 grams (‘Legislation would also eliminate felony charges for those caught a second time with less than an ounce’):

A group of bipartisan lawmakers has introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of marijuana in Wisconsin.

The legislation was introduced by State Rep. Shae Sortwell, R-Two Rivers, Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, D-Milwaukee, and Rep. Dave Consadine [sic], D-Baraboo. It would create a standard $100 fine for possession of a half ounce or less and eliminate felony charges for anyone caught a second time with less than an ounce. 

Sortwell told WPR it’s a compromise bill, because some lawmakers want harsher penalties while others want to see them weakened. He said some cities like Milwaukee, Madison and Eau Claire have enacted local ordinances reducing or eliminating fines for possessing small amounts of marijuana. 

“And because of the way things kind of work out right now across our state, you may not be treated the same way if you or somebody you know is caught possessing marijuana in one part of the state versus another part of the state,” Sortwell said.

Under the bill, anyone caught with less than 14 grams of marijuana would not face criminal charges but would face a $100 fine. Under current state law, those individuals face a misdemeanor criminal charge that comes with a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months of jail time. 

The bill would also make a big change with regard to those caught a second time with marijuana. Under current law, a second offense is treated as a Class I felony that could come with a fine up to $10,000 and up to three-and-a-half years in jail. The legislation would eliminate the felony provisions for those caught a second time with 28 grams of marijuana or less. 

There are criminal law aspects of the bill (decriminalization and statewide adoption of remaining penalties for possession) and political aspects (how will this bill fare?). It’s the latter aspect that determines whether the former is germane. 

A bipartisan bill does not guarantee the passage of legislation. While it’s true that Sortwell is a Republican and Ortiz-Velez & Considine are Democrats, a clue to the problems the bill faces comes when one reads that “some lawmakers want harsher penalties while others want to see them weakened.” (Emphasis added.) 

Success for this bill will not come from those who have proposed it, but instead only if opponents on both sides of decriminalization (‘no’ and ‘more’) are prepared to accept the proposal of a few legislators working in bipartisanship. (As of 12.22.23, the bill had only a few sponsors.) 

No one should be holding his or her breath. 

One Day in the Coldest Village on Earth -71°C (-95°F) | Yakutia, Siberia:

Daily Bread for 1.15.24: Employee’s Complaint against Wisconsin Supreme Court Majority Predictably Dismissed

 Good morning.

Dr. King Day in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 3. Sunrise is 7:22 and sunset 4:46 for 9h 24m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 23.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1943, The Pentagon is dedicated in Arlington County, Virginia.

Readers will recall that after the Wisconsin Supreme Court had a new majority in August, that majority dismissed then-Courts Director Randy Koschnick. The dismal received some news coverage (Journal Sentinel Focuses on a Minor Wisconsin Supreme Court Story), the Court hired a Walker appointee to replace Koschnick (Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Liberal Majority Hires a Walker Appointee), but the conservative Koschnick filed a complaint over his firing nonetheless. 

These months later, one predictably reads that Complaint against Supreme Court liberals over state courts director appointment dismissed:

The Wisconsin Judicial Commission has dismissed complaints filed against the four liberals on the state Supreme Court over their decision to install a new director of state courts when the body’s majority flipped in August. 

The complaints had been filed by Judge Randy Koschnick, the previous director of state courts, who was removed from his post days after Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn into office. Koschnick and the Court’s conservatives speculated that the firing was due to his right-leaning political views. 

The episode marked the beginning of an ugly first few weeks for the Court, with several conservative justices and Koschnick airing their grievances against the newly empowered liberals in the media. 

After Koschnick was removed, the Court installed Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Audrey Skwierawski as the new director of state courts. Koschnick then filed the complaint against Skwierawski and the four justices — Protasiewicz, Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky — alleging she was unable to hold the post because she was still serving as a circuit court judge. He said Skwierawski was unable to accept the position until 2025 because of a state law that prohibits judges from holding nonjudicial offices as long as they are still serving their terms. . 

In a letter to each of the four justices, the commission’s director, Jeremiah Van Hecke, wrote that the commission determined there was no misconduct in the hiring of Skwierawski. In a letter to Skwierawski, Van Hecke wrote that the complaint against her was being dismissed because she resigned as a judge on Dec. 31 and is therefore no longer subject to the commission’s jurisdiction. 

At the time of Koschnick’s dismissal, I wrote that Koscchnick’s replacement, Audrey Skwierawski, was “easily as qualified as Koschnick, and in any event appointee Koschnick wasn’t entitled to permanent public employment.” 

That was, however, only half of the matter. Koschnick (a lawyer and former Jefferson County judge) would have known (as would any other lawyer) that his complaint to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission would be dismissed procedurally the moment after Skwierawski resigned as a judge (which, of course, she would and now has done). 

Koschnick’s complaint was a political, but never a serious legal, grievance.

Whale lifts head out of water, surprises tourists:

Daily Bread for 1.2.24: A List of Top State Government Stories in 2023

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 33. Sunrise is 7:25 and sunset 4:32 for 9h 07m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 64.1% of its visible disk illuminated. 

On this day in 1777, American forces under the command of George Washington repulse a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek near Trenton, New Jersey.

  Steven Walters has a list of the Top 10 State Government Stories of 2023. It’s a solid recounting of the biggest state issues of 2023. His Numbers 1 and 2 would appear on any list of major Wisconsin events: 

1. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz not only won a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court, but she won by a landslide in the most expensive ($51 million by candidates and outside groups) judicial race in the nation’s history. Her win gave liberals their first majority on the seven-member court in 12 years.

2. In December, that new Supreme Court majority ruled that Assembly and Senate boundaries Republicans drew in 2021 were unconstitutional. The court gave all sides a Jan. 12 deadline to submit new district lines for November elections and named two experts to advise the justices on next steps. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the ruling would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After his top ten, Walters mentions a few other big stories, and a post-Foxconn future is rightly among them:

Microsoft paid $50 million for 315 acres of Mount Pleasant land owned by Foxconn, officially retiring the 2018 promise by then-President Trump, ex-Gov. Scott Walker and ex-U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan that Foxconn’s investment in Racine County would create a high-tech, “eighth wonder of the world.” Microsoft says two data centers will be built.

FREE WHITEWATER has a category dedicated to the Foxconn debacle. 

In Whitewater (see A Sham News Story on Foxconn) and too many other places, support for the Wisconsin Foxconn project was (and should have been) a sign of dog-crap-quality policymaking. 

This Microbe May Someday Replace Your Steak:

“Someday,” however, is not today.

Daily Bread for 12.27.23: A Story on Federal Review of Wisconsin’s Recent Gerrymandering Case

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 41. Sunrise is 7:24 and sunset 4:27 for 9h 03m 09s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.7% of its visible disk illuminated. 

On this day in 1929, Soviet General Secretary Stalin orders the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class” leading to a Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, or executions of millions of kulaks (prosperous peasants) and their families. 

  Jessie Opoien and Molly Beck report in a general readership story that Republicans likely to take Wisconsin gerrymandering case back to the U.S. Supreme Court:

In order to get the U.S. Supreme Court to look at the case, the Legislature and its allies will need to make the argument that there was a violation of federal law. That’s because, explained Rob Yablon, University of Wisconsin Law School professor and co-director of the State Democracy Research Initiative, the core legal claim in the case — contiguity — is a matter of state law.

The case brought to the court argued the maps violate Wisconsin’s Constitution because some legislative districts include pieces of land that are not connected.

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court has the last word on state law questions,” Yablon said.

A request for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a state Supreme Court decision (or a federal appeals court decision) is known as a petition for certiorari, or cert petition. Under U.S. Supreme Court rules, four of nine justices must vote to accept such a case.

“(The majority) did a really intentional job of sticking to very narrow state constitutional issues, which has the effect of insulating a lot of the decision from U.S. Supreme Court review,” said Daniel Suhr, a Republican attorney who served in former Gov. Scott Walker’s administration. “When a case is decided on only state constitutional grounds, there’s not a U.S. constitutional hook for the Supreme Court to rely on in intervening.”

In their story, Opoien and Beck consider two principal arguments for federal intervention (Protasiewicz’s participation in the Wisconsin decision and if any new maps have an unlawful racial bias) but report through interviewed experts that both lines of argument have uncertain prospects. 

In any event, while it’s four to take the case, it’s five to overturn on federal grounds.

What ChatGPT is and what it’s not: A three-minute guide: