Sweet Words, Bitter Actions

In this update: 1. New session starts with customary pledges 2. Ready or not, another election just around the corner 3. SEC eyes move toward disclosure of corporate political spending 4. Now THAT'S unpopular 5. WDC funding loss gets attention, generates concern Sweet Words, Bitter Actions

Email date: 1/15/13

In this update:
1. New session starts with customary pledges
2. Ready or not, another election just around the corner
3. SEC eyes move toward disclosure of corporate political spending
4. Now THAT'S unpopular
5. WDC funding loss gets attention, generates concern

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New session starts with customary pledges
With Governor Scott Walker set to give his State of the State address tonight, the state Legislature is getting out of the starting gate in typical fashion. Lawmakers kicked off the 2013-2014 session with the usual pomp and circumstance, as well as the usual promises of good will and bipartisanship. If this session follows the pattern of the recent past, the knives will soon come out.

Assembly Republicans and Democrats did agree to try to avoid all-night sessions, but majority Republicans seemed more concerned about the behavior of citizens who watch Assembly proceedings from the gallery. They approved new restrictions that go too far in restricting First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble and petition your government.

Under the rules, no bags or briefcases are allowed in the gallery. No laptop computers. No video cameras. No photography of any kind. No cell phones or pagers. No newspapers. No eating or drinking. No standing. No public displays or demonstrations. No signs or placards. And no hats.

Conspicuously absent from the list of banned items are guns, which evidently are less concerning to legislative leaders than newspapers and cameras. The rules also say nothing about laughing, openly weeping or retching. Good thing. Sometimes those things just can't be helped.

One policy issue that is sure to come up early in the session is mining. But maybe not for the reasons you might think.

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Ready or not, another election just around the corner
Another election is sneaking up on us. This spring Wisconsin voters will decide a key contest for one of the most partisan of all nonpartisan offices, the state Supreme Court. The stakes are high, and the battle lines are drawn.

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SEC eyes move toward disclosure of corporate political spending
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is sending signals that it intends to act on rules requiring corporations to publicly disclose information about their political spending. This is long overdue but welcome news. Please take a few minutes to urge the SEC on. Remind the commissioners that the public has a right to know who is seeking to influence American elections, how much they are spending to buy that influence, and where the money is coming from to pay for the campaigning.

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Now THAT'S unpopular
The latest polling shows a mere 9% of the American people approve of the performance of members of Congress. To put that unpopularity in context, consider that the opinion survey found that Congress is even more unpopular than NFL replacement refs, colonoscopies and used car salesmen.

Quoting from the report: “It's gross to have lice but at least they can be removed in a way that given the recent reelection rates members of Congress evidently can't.”

And this: “Cockroaches are a pretty good reason to call the exterminator but voters might be even more concerned if their homes were infested with members of Congress.”

At least Congress can take comfort in the finding that members are somewhat more popular than telemarketers, playground bullies, lobbyists and meth labs.

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WDC funding loss gets attention, generates concern
News of the Democracy Campaign's loss of a major funding source spread fast, generating newspaper, television and radio coverage statewide as well as supportive editorials and commentary across the blogosphere. Since last Tuesday's announcement, we've raised a little more than $19,600 in a week's time. Still a long way from replacing the $232,500 in annual support we are losing, but it's a good start. Please help keep the momentum going.