Daily Archives: August 16, 2011

AP: 2 Wisconsin Democrats keep their Senate seats

-By Scott Bauer

August 16, 2011- MADISON, Wis. — Two Democratic Wisconsin state senators targeted by Republicans survived their elections Tuesday, ending a tumultuous summer of recalls spurred by anger over how lawmakers reacted to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal curbing collective bargaining rights of public workers.

Democrats picked up two seats through the nine recalls but were unable to wrest majority Senate control away from the GOP, which now holds a narrow 17-16 majority. Before the recalls, Republicans had a 19-14 edge in the chamber.

The two senators facing recall Tuesday were among the 14 senators who fled the state in February in opposition to Walker's proposal which passed despite their absence and has been held up by the state Supreme Court.

Democratic Sen. Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie defeated Kenosha attorney Jonathan Steitz, and Sen. Jim Holperin of Conover beat tea party Republican Kim Simac of Eagle River.

A third Democrat won a recall election last month. Two Republicans were defeated in six recall elections last week.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wirch retains Wisconsin Senate seat in recall vote

-By Georgia Pabst

August 16, 2011- Longtime Democratic legislator Robert Wirch beat back a challenge from Republican political newcomer Jonathan Steitz in Tuesday's recall election in Senate District 22 in the Kenosha County area.

Wirch, 67, was one of the 14 Senate Democrats who left the state last winter during Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill battle that eliminated most collective bargaining for public employees.

The move led to recall efforts of Wirch and two other Democratic senators. He's been in the Senate since 1996 and was in the Assembly before that.

Soon after the race was declared Tuesday for Wirch, Democrats issued this statement from him:

"I am proud to continue to represent the people of the Kenosha region.

"The future of Wisconsin depends on the strength of our working, middle class families and I look forward to returning to Madison with two new Democratic Senators to enact a moderate, Wisconsin agenda that supports them."

Last week, Wirch said he'd try to bring moderation and compromise back to Madison.

AP: Rick Scott pays less than $400 annually for state health insurance

August 10, 2011- TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott, a critic of the federal health care overhaul, is paying less than $400 a year for health insurance for himself and his wife.

While Scott is accepting no salary for his job as governor, the multimillionaire and former hospital chain executive chose to enroll in the taxpayer-subsidized health insurance plan offered by the state of Florida.

Scott is among nearly 32,000 people in state government who pay relatively low health insurance premiums. It's a perk that is available to high-ranking state officials, including those in top management at all state agencies.

Nearly all 160 state legislators are also enrolled in the program that costs just $8.34 a month for individual coverage and $30 a month for family coverage.

Brian Burgess, a spokesman for Scott, confirmed the governor and his wife are enrolled in the state health insurance plan, but refused to discuss why Scott signed up. He called the governor's health care coverage "private matters."

The Nation: Wisconsin Recall Replaces Two Republican Senators

-by John Nichols

August 10, 2011- Five months to the day after the Republican majority in the Wisconsin State Senate voted to approve Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees, two of the governor’s most prominent allies in the chamber have been removed from office.

Western Wisconsin State Senator Dan Kapanke and eastern Wisconsin Senator Randy Hopper were both defeated in recall elections that provided a powerful indication of the state’s anger with Governor Walker’s assault on worker rights.

Huffington Post: The Koch Brothers And The Battle Over Integration In Wake County’s Schools

-by Trymaine Lee

August 15, 2011- The stakes in the battle over the Wake County Public School System in North Carolina couldn’t be higher.

On one side are the billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch, and the Tea Party and libertarian groups they fund. On the other, parents, students and community leaders who are bent on stopping measures passed by the conservative-led school board that they argue would re-segregate the county’s public schools, which had been a national model for diversity and integration.

Since 2000, Wake County has used a system of integration based on income. Under this program, no more than 40 percent of any school’s students could receive subsidized lunches, a proxy for determining the level of poverty. The school district is the 18th largest in the country, and includes Raleigh, its surrounding suburbs and rural areas. It became one of the first school systems in the nation to adopt such a plan.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Special prosecutor named in Prosser/Bradley altercation

Allegations of chokehold in Wisconsin Supreme Court chambers to be investigated

-By Patrick Marley

August 15, 2011Madison – Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett will serve as special prosecutor in the investigation of a physical altercation between two state Supreme Court justices.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has said Justice David Prosser put her in a "chokehold" during a June argument over a case in her chambers. Others have said Bradley came at Prosser with fists raised and he put up his hands to block her or push her back.

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