Daily Archives: May 26, 2011

The Nation: Justice in Fitzwalkerstan: A Wisconsin Judge Rules Anti-Labor Law Null and Void

-By John Nichols

May 26, 2011- When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the state legislature panicked in the face of mass demonstrations opposing their attempt to strip state, county and municipal employees and public school teachers of their collective bargaining rights, they hurriedly called a legislative conference committee and then the state Senate into action and passed a version of the law. The Republicans wanted to act quickly, on a cold night when Democratic senators were outside the Capitol and the crowds were at home. But they neglected to honor the most basic principle of open government in a state that has prided itself for its commitment to transparency: the people are their representatives must be given proper notice when the legislature is in session and acting on matters of general concern.

That failure to respect not just the state’s Open Meetings law but the state’s historic commitment to open and honest governance tripped Walker and his compatriots up.

Truthout: Privatization: The Road to Hell

-by Jim Hightower

May 25, 2011- Billionaires are different from you and me, for obvious reasons, including the fact that they buy much pricier baubles than we do.

A sleek car costing $100,000? Why, for them, that's just an easy impulse purchase. A few million bucks for a Matisse original? Go ahead — it'll liven up the hallway. How about throwing a fat wad of cash at a university to get an academic chair named for you? Sure, it's all part of the fun of living in BillionaireLand.

Then there is the top crust of the upper-crust — such megalomaniacal megabillionaires as the Koch brothers. Using money from their industrial conglomerate, their foundation and their personal fortunes, these two far-out, laissez-faire extremists are literally buying public policy. Their purchases of everything from politicians to the tea party help them push the privatization of all things public and the elimination of pesky regulations and taxes that crimp their style.

Washington Post: Another big boost for Wisconsin Dems and the recall effort

-By Greg Sargent

May 26, 2011- We keep getting told by our friends on the right that Scott Walker has already “won” the confrontation in Wisconsin or that he’s “crossed the Rubicon.” Turns out the end-zone dancing was just a tad premature:

A Dane County judge has struck down Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation repealing most collective bargaining for public employees.

In a 33-page decision issued Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said she would freeze the legislation because GOP lawmakers on a committee broke the state’s open meetings law in passing it March 9….

In the decision, Sumi appeared to be bracing for an outcry from Republicans and supporters of the law, noting that judges are supposed to apply the law even if their decisions will be “controversial or unpopular.” Sumi writes that Ozanne showed by “clear and convincing evidence” that the open meetings law had been violated.

Judge Voids Wisc. Union Law

MacIver News Service | May 26, 2011

[Madison, Wisc…] The judge who had been blocking implementation of Wisconsin's public employee collective bargaining reforms has now struck down the law altogether, saying legislative Republicans failed to give proper notice before acting on the bill in committee.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi issued her ruling Thursday, writing that the law is voided because lawmakers failed to provide proper public notice of a Cnference Committee meeting wherin the bill was amended.

"The court must consider the potential damage to public trust and confidence in government if the Legislature is not held to the same rules of transparency that it has created for other governmental bodies," Sumi wrote.

Republicans argued that the Legislature, when in Special Session, is not bound by the law requiring a broad public notice.

"This was not the case in which proper notice was missed by a few minutes or an hour," Sumi wrote. 

Truthout: Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution

-by Michael Pirsch

May 24, 2011- Our country is in tatters. While more and more of us plunge into official poverty status, our elected leaders, who are in service to the wealthy elite, argue about how much to cut from programs that "promote the general welfare." They squander our exhaustible resources on illegal wars. The rich have stolen so much from us that they comprise the wealthiest 1 percent in well over 100 years, and they are supported in all this by their pet pundits, who dominate the corporate media. And none of our elected leaders from either of the two parties question the morality of shredding the most basic programs "to promote the general welfare."

To imagine that the Democratic Party would provide any leadership to end the "long train of abuses and usurpations" brought upon us is akin to reaffirming our belief in Santa Claus. The time has come to break the chains that bind us and to establish a new government based on true, not humbug, democratic principles.

Huffington Post: Wisconsin Anti-Union Law Struck Down By Judge, But Measure Could Still Go Into Effect

-By Sam Stein

May 26, 2011- A Wisconsin judge struck down the state's controversial anti-collective bargaining law on Thursday, but Democratic state senators say that doesn't mean the measure won't still go into effect.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin's open meeting law when passing the measure, which strips most public employees in the state of collective bargaining rights. A March 9 committee meeting on the measure, concluded Sumi, was "held on less than two hours notice in a location that was not open and accessible to citizens."

"Judge Sumi's ruling today speaks for itself, the Republicans' actions violated the law," said state Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) in a statement. "Today we see the price of the Republicans refusing to negotiate and putting their partisan political advantage ahead of the best interests of the people of Wisconsin."

Daily Kos: Recall petition against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is live

-By by Chris Bowers

May 23, 2011- In response to comments and emails I received over the weekend, this morning I did some research to verify that the recall petition circulated by The Committee to Recall Rick Snyder (FireRickSnyder.org) is valid even though Snyder is less than 180 days into his term.

Short answer: yes. Long answer: yes.

Here is a summary of the information I received during a call with the Elections Division of the Michigan Secretary of State's office:

1. Can a recall petition of a statewide official be approved less than 180 days into that official's term?
Yes.

2. Can such a recall petition, once approved, be circulated less than 180 days into the relevant official's term?
Yes, as long as the signatures are submitted after 180 days had expired.

Midland Daily News: Group seeks to recall Rep. Johnson

May 23, 2011- Members of the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder have submitted a petition for the recall of State Rep. Joel Johnson to Clare County Clerk Pamela Mayfield.

The petition was to be reviewed by the Clare County Election Commission for the clarity of the language at a hearing at 2 p.m. today at the courthouse in Harrison.

The Committee to Recall Rick Snyder is a Political Action Committee formed out of concerns over Snyder’s approach to addressing budget woes in Michigan.

Johnson is being targeted for his support of the Emergency Financial Manager Bill. He also is being targeted for introducing bills to limit health insurance benefits offered to employees of state and local governments and public schools and to require women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasound examinations. And he voted to reduce funding to public K-12 schools and unemployment benefits, and to limit the rights of unions.

South Bend Tribune: Pscholka recall wording OK’d

Petition circulators get green light to proceed

-By Lou Mumford

May 23, 2011- Petitions seeking the recall of freshman state Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, can now be circulated, following Monday's approval of petition language.

The wording, as expected, takes issue with Pscholka, a former aide to U. S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, for introducing legislation granting additional authority to emergency financial managers such as the one in place in Benton Harbor. Unsuccessful earlier this month with its recall language, the group seeking Pscholka's ouster covered its bases this time by submitting four separate wordings, said Berrien County Clerk Louise Stine, one of three county officials charged with reviewing recall language.

"We approved three of the four, and they picked the one they wanted to appear on the petitions,'' she said.

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