Brendan Fischer's News Articles

Walker's Costly Perpetuation of Prejudicial Corrections Policies

As CMD has previously reported, Governor Walker's budget bill will have a negative impact on Wisconsin's populations of color, especially in regards to perpetuating Wisconsin's atrocious record of racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Walker's effort to prolong prison sentences will also result in increased costs not reflected in the budget, at the expense of spending on education and health.

WI Attorney General Seeks Appeal of Decision Halting Union-Busting Bill

Attorney General JB Van Hollen is seeking to appeal last Friday's order halting implementation of Governor Walker's union-busting bill. While the trial court found that the bill's rushed passage likely violated state Open Meetings laws, the Court of Appeals is being asked to consider whether that decision conflicted with separation of powers principles.

As CMD has reported, on March 18 Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi found that legislators had likely violated Open Meetings laws by providing inadequate notice for the March 9 Joint Conference Committee meeting and subsequent Senate vote that amended and passed Gov. Walker's controversial bill. In making her decision, Judge Sumi noted that the law states "any actions taken at a meeting of a governmental body held in violation [of Open Meetings law] are voidable," provided that the District Attorney brings the suit and the public interest in voiding the bill outweighs any public interest in upholding it. Sumi emphasized the Constitutionally-recognized public interest in ensuring open government, stating "we are entitled by law to free and open access to governmental meetings, and especially governmental meetings that lead to the resolution of very highly conflicted and controversial matters."

Walker's Attack on People of Color

While Wisconsin protest coverage has focused on GOP efforts to limit public sector collective bargaining, less attention has been given to the Republican attack on the poor and people of color. On Saturday, activists gathered at the Exposing Colorlines event at the capitol to focus on the under-reported aspects of Walker's budget and proposed GOP legislation.

Wisconsin Judge Halts Union-Busting Bill

A second judge has castigated Wisconsin Republicans for excluding the public from the legislative process. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi has issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of Governor Walker's union-busting bill on grounds that the conference committee's rushed passage of the bill on March 9 likely violated state Open Meeting laws.

Scott Fitzgerald and WIsconsin GOP Pull Back From the Brink

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has backed off a March 14 announcement that he would effectively eliminate Senate Democrats' right to vote during committee hearings and sessions. At first glance, it may appear that Fitzgerald and company are retreating from weeks of out-of-control decision-making, but the more likely explanation is that blocking votes may be unconstitutional and illegal. Plus, the move was completely contrary to Fitzgerald's prior claims that he was only trying to force the fourteen back into Wisconsin and "back to work." In a temporary win for legislative sanity, Fitzgerald seems to have backed down for now.

Scott Fitzgerald Acts the Fool on Fox & Friends

In an interview with the "Fox & Friends" morning show last Sunday, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald arrogantly dismissed public support for the "Fab 14" Democratic Senators, recycling discredited talking points to deceive the public (and perhaps himself). Here is what Fitzgerald said and why it is wrong.

First They Came For the Labor Unions. Then They Came for the Immigrants. Who's Next?

The divide-and-conquer attack on working people by Wisconsin Republicans continues. After pitting private sector workers versus public employees, Walker and the GOP are now targeting Wisconsin's quickly-growing Latino and immigrant communities.

The latest census numbers show that Wisconsin's Latino community has grown by 74 percent in recent years, and GOP lawmakers have responded aggressively to this shift in Wisconsin's ethnic composition. Walker's budget eliminates laws that had treated immigrants humanely, and a GOP bill circulating through the legislature seeks to impose a draconian racial profiling bill modeled after Arizona's SB1070. What's more, the anti-immigrant sentiment may be fueling the out-of-state effort to recall Wisconsin's Democratic Senators.

Implementing Union-Busting Bill Will be Bureaucratic Nightmare

The Wall Street Journal has pointed out what an expensive bureaucratic nightmare it will be for the twenty-person Wisconsin Employee Relations Committee to certify annual elections for the 2,000 unions representing Wisconsin's 200,000 state employees around the state.

Karl Rove's Secretly-Funded Crossroads GPS Attacks Unions in Nationwide Ad

Karl Rove's secretly-funded Crossroads GPS is spending $750,000 airing a terribly misleading ad attacking public-sector labor unions. With support declining for the GOP's anti-union stance, Rove's group is looking towards the 2012 elections and aiming to counteract that slide by unfairly demonizing unions.

Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White

They may look more Slayer than healer, but the hand-printed medic logo safety-pinned to their sweatshirts suggest otherwise. The street medics, a loose organization of volunteer healthcare providers tied together by a shared ethic of collaborative service, have helped keep the Madison protests healthy and safe.

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