FREE WHITEWATER

Legislation

Daily Bread for 2.14.24: Speaker Vos Rushes While the Rushing is Good

 Good morning.

Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 45. Sunrise is 6:52 and sunset 5:25 for 10h 32m 57s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 28.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 2018, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 17 injuries.


Baylor Spears reports Legislature adopts Evers’s maps in second attempt to choose before state Supreme Court (‘Most Democrats vote no, saying they don’t trust Republicans’):

Six parties submitted maps to be considered and consultants recently said that the two sets of legislative maps submitted by Republican lawmakers and the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) amounted to more partisan gerrymandering.

The consultants did not pick a preferred map, but said the other maps, including Evers’ submission, were “nearly indistinguishable.” Those proposals have been projected to reduce Republican control of the Legislature from its current near-supermajority status 

Republicans lawmakers have found Evers’ maps, which would likely keep a Republican majority, although a smaller one, in the Legislature, preferable to the other submissions before the state Supreme Court. 

“Republicans were not stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Sen. Van Wannggard (R-Racine) said in a statement about the vote. “It was a matter of choosing to be stabbed, shot, poisoned or led to the guillotine. We chose to be stabbed, so we can live to fight another day.” 

….

Vos, who was the only representative to speak during the floor session, also rejected the idea that the move was a legal strategy.

Ahead of the floor sessions, some Democrats expressed concerns that Republicans wanted to pass Evers’ maps and then back a federal legal challenge before Republican-nominated U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Diane Sykes, formerly a conservative justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Such a challenge “could ultimately keep the state with its current gerrymandered maps, Democrats told the progressive news platform Democracy Docket

“If we get these new maps, the governor’s maps, signed by the Republicans, it’s more than likely that there’ll be a challenge in the 7th Circuit Court,” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said over the weekend. “We’re fearful the Republicans are finally trying to come around to do what they should have done in the first place, but they’re doing it with — I guess the technical term would be ‘with sh-t-eating grins on their faces.’ We can assume that this is not done because of the idea of good government.”

Evers’s maps would be an improvement, but Vos’s trustworthiness is discernible only with an electron microscope. Delays in Evers’s maps, either as implementation within the legislation or by litigation against implementation, would be objectionable. 

Vos does objectionable quite well. 

Note to the special-interest men (movers & shakers, lobbyists, p.r. men, whatever) in Whitewater: looking up to Robin Vos is like looking up to the pigeon that’s gonna relieve itself on a car. Normal people do not respect the men, or the pigeons, who do that.


Ukraine’s forces claim to have destroyed a large Russian landing ship in the Black Sea

Daily Bread for 1.31.24: Vos’s Truancy Plan Looks Speculative

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 43. Sunrise is 7:09 and sunset 5:06 for 9h 57m 11s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 72.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1961, the chimpanzee Ham travels into outer space on Project Mercury’s Mercury-Redstone 2 flight. 


  Speaker Vos, having cycled futilely through several political and cultural issues in search of a winner, now offers Wisconsin a truancy plan. Corrinne Hess reports Truancy could mean being held back a grade under new proposal

Wisconsin students who miss 30 or more days of school could be held back a grade, under a new proposal. 

If the legislation is approved, beginning in the 2025-26 school year, public school students and students at private schools that receive state money who miss a month or more of class would not advance to the next grade.

Currently, state law requires school boards to have policies stating what conditions a student must meet to be promoted from third to fourth grade, fourth to fifth grade and eight to ninth grade.

The bill, and five other truancy-related proposals, are the result of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s Task Force on Truancy. If passed by the Legislature, the legislation would need approval from Gov. Tony Evers.

The state’s attendance rate reached a new low of 91 percent in the 2021-22 school year and nearly a quarter of students missed at least a month of school, according to data from the state Department of Public Instruction. 

New truancy data won’t be released until March 2024.

Vos aims to solve a socio-economic problem that varies across hundreds of Wisconsin districts with uniform state statutes. Success seems doubtful. Alternatively, Vos aims to convince the delusionally gullible WISGOP base that He’s got this, Wisconsin! Your dawg Robin’s on it! 

The alternative explanation is the more probable. 


‘Like a moth to a flame’ — this strange insect behavior is finally explained

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 12.17.23: The Empty Case Against School-District Competitive Bidding

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 43. Sunrise is 7:20 and sunset 4:22 for 9h 02m 09s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 26.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1903, the Wright brothers make the first controlled powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

By John T. Daniels – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppprs.00626.


Corrinne Hess reports Wisconsin school districts would have to comply with competitive bidding requirements under new proposal (‘Wisconsin is only one of three states that doesn’t require schools to go out for bid on construction projects’):

School districts in Wisconsin would have to comply with competitive bidding requirements for construction projects costing more than $150,000 under a new legislative proposal.

Wisconsin is one of only three states that allows a project of any size to be awarded on a no-bid basis, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Municipalities, meanwhile, have to seek a competitive bid for any project over $25,000. The same proposed legislation would increase that threshold for municipalities to $50,000.  

During a public hearing Thursday before the Assembly Committee on Local Government, Chris Kulow, government relations director for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, testified against the bill. He argued that requiring a competitive bidding process would take away local control.

Kulow said most school boards are already using competitive bidding. He said having to choose the lowest bidder could mean having to sacrifice the best quality. 

“Currently, districts that have long-standing relationships with local contractors have the opportunity to work with them to negotiate deals that include spending resources locally, keeping those dollars in the community,” Kulow said. “They result in the hiring of parents whose children attend the schools. They want to do a good job, and they’re less likely to ask for extra charges.”  

All school boards, not merely most, should use competitive bidding for large projects. Kulow’s argument about districts with long-standing relationships with local contractors is unsupported by his testimony. He’s telling a story about local, but his story offers not measurement but instead only unsubstantiated-yet-beguiling claims: “spending resources locally,” “dollars in the community,” “hiring of parents whose children attend the schools,” etc. 

Sounds great, right? How often, how much, how many?

Kulow — who asserted his points as a representative of educational boards — offered in his testimony no evidence whatever. Not a shred. See testimony of Chris Kulow, Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Local Government, 12.14.23, video @ 1:17:23. A former superintendent, now part of the school board association’s staff, followed Kulow’s presentation with his own singular experiences in one school district.     

Honest to goodness. A knowledgeable or educated person should expect more than this. A student who turned in a term paper so vacuous would deserve a poor grade (or a chance at a re-write); an adult representative of school boards doing the equivalent deserves the intellectual scorn of his fellow Wisconsinites. Our millions of fellow Wisconsin adults did not, each of them, fall off of turnip trucks yesterday. 

These men represent school boards; many more men and women are on school boards. There are thousands of superintendents and other administrators in over four hundred school districts in this state. Anyone — any single one — who was graduated from high school, college, or a graduate program with a presentation as light as Kulow’s either learned too little or has forgotten too much. 

Those who wish to argue against required competitive bidding — a practice adopted in 47 of 50 states — need to do better than this. 


See a massive galaxy cluster evolve in simulation:

Daily Bread for 8.9.23: Wisconsin Senate Considers Bills to Address Sexual Assault in the Wisconsin National Guard

Good morning. Wednesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 83. Sunrise is 5:55 AM and sunset 8:05 PM for 14h 09m 31s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 38.5% of its visible disk illuminated. On this day in 1974, as a direct result of the Watergate scandal, Richard…

Daily Bread for 6.25.23: Committee Sends Wisconsin Budget to Full Legislature

Good morning. Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 78. Sunrise is 5:17 AM and sunset 8:37 PM for 15h 19m 37s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 42.1% of its visible disk illuminated. On this day in 1950, the Korean War begins when North Korea invades South…

Daily Bread for 6.15.23: Wisconsin Bill for Local Aid Finally Heads to Governor

Good morning. Thursday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 74. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:35 PM for 15h 19m 30s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 7.4% of its visible disk illuminated. The Whitewater Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM.  On this day in 1846,…