On this day in 1864, the Battle of Jonesborough, during the Atlanta Campaign, begins as Union troops seize “railroad supply lines into the city. The 1st, 12th, 16th, 17th, 21st, 24th, 25th and 32nd Wisconsin Infantry regiments along with the 5th and 10th Wisconsin Light Artillery batteries fought in this battle.”
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Patrick Marley and Lee Bergquist report As the fight over Wisconsin’s lame-duck laws rages, the legal tab for taxpayers tops $1 million:
Wisconsin officials from both parties have lawyered up this year at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1 million.
The legal fees will only go up, as was made clear Thursday when Republican lawmakers hired another law firm to assist them in one of several disputes with lawmakers.
It’s the fourth firm they’ve hired since January. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has hired three firms since then to represent him and other state officials.
The reason for the boost in legal bills: a set of lame-duck laws Republicans approved just before Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul were sworn in.
Those laws limit the powers of Evers and Kaul and have been the subject of five lawsuits, three of which are ongoing. Those cases have been the main source of the legal bills for taxpayers.
The lame-duck laws also made it easier for legislators to intervene in litigation over state laws. Legislative leaders have tried to insert themselves into four cases since January, helping fuel the rising legal costs.
Steven Elbow reports Labor report chronicles severe decline of unions in Wisconsin:
Republican efforts to eviscerate unions in Wisconsin have been wildly successful, according to a new report that indicates union membership has plunged by more than 50%, more than double the decline nationally.
University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) released its annual “State of Working Wisconsin” this week, showing that since the passage in 2011 of Act 10 — the law that stripped public unions of bargaining rights — union membership has declined by 53.9%. That’s three times the decrease of 14.9% in neighboring Minnesota. The decrease nationally was 21.2%.
In addition to Act 10, Wisconsin passed a right-to-work law in 2015 that allows union shop workers to decline to pay dues, delivering a blow to the financial position of unions in the private sector as well.
Before Act 10, Wisconsin’s rate of union members was above the national average. That changed in 2012, the year after the law passed.
Last year’s report — which is more detailed on even-numbered years and more a snapshot in odd-numbered years — detailed public-sector union membership rates, which fell from more than 60% since 2010 to 18.9 percent in 2017.