Legislature Takes Aim at Disclosure

In this update: 1. Legislative committee rolls back campaign finance disclosure rules 2. Budget bill chock full of non-fiscal policy 3. What lawmaking in Wisconsin has come to 4. Will Republicans jump the gun on state redistricting? 5. Casualties of the class war
Legislature Takes Aim at Disclosure

Email date: 6/23/11

In this update:
1. Legislative committee rolls back campaign finance disclosure rules
2. Budget bill chock full of non-fiscal policy
3. What lawmaking in Wisconsin has come to
4. Will Republicans jump the gun on state redistricting?
5. Casualties of the class war

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Legislative committee rolls back campaign finance disclosure rules
After exterminating any and all public election financing in the state budget and thus handing state elections over entirely to private interests, legislators today took steps to make it harder for the public to see how special interests are funneling money into political advertising campaigns.

The Legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted this morning to approve legislation nullifying what little campaign finance disclosure the state Government Accountability Board has approved. In addition to rolling back existing GAB rules, the legislation also launches a preemptive strike against the agency, prohibiting any future rulemaking requiring disclosure of corporate electioneering.

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Budget bill chock full of non-fiscal policy
For all the yammering coming out of the Capitol about how non-budgetary policy has no place in the state budget, you'd think the two-year spending plan would be relatively free of such non-fiscal extras. Think again. A Big Money Blog posted today lists all the junk that should have been dealt with as separate legislation but instead got tucked in the budget bill. Prepare to scroll. It may be the longest blog ever.

One silver lining in a very dark budget cloud is the likely veto of one of the non-budgetary provisions in the bill, namely a policy change inserted by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee further restricting public access to records showing the financial interests of state officials. For more on that, go here.

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What lawmaking in Wisconsin has come to
Read it
and weep.

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Will Republicans jump the gun on state redistricting?
Normally the once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries in Wisconsin begins with the establishment of local districts. Once municipal ward lines are drawn, a task usually completed by the end of August, work is started on new state legislative and congressional districts in the fall. Persistent rumors are circulating at the Capitol that Republicans who control both houses of the Legislature plan to act on a redistricting plan in the coming weeks, long before municipal wards are finished. Not only would this deprive the public of a meaningful opportunity to review and comment on any proposed redistricting plan, but it could create an administrative nightmare for local election officials.

The only conceivable reason for veering from the longstanding timeline for redistricting is a crassly political one. Republicans want to redraw political boundaries in a way that favors them, and they want to do it before senate recall elections this summer that could flip control of the upper house to the Democrats.

Public News Service interviewed the Democracy Campaign’s director for a story on redistricting distributed today to commercial radio stations across the state.

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Casualties of the class war
The rich are sprinting ahead, the poor are lagging farther and farther behind while the middle class is running furiously in place, stuck in a deep rut. Class warfare surely will continue to intensify until its root causes are attacked, as the Democracy Campaign’s Ending Wealthfare plan aims to do.