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First Wisconsin recall petition to be filed against Republican state Senator Dan Kapanke

by Chris Bowers for Daily Kos

Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 09:50 AM EDT

Please, support the recall effort by contributing $5 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democratic state Senate Committee.

Recall petition organizers in Wisconsin will file their signatures today against Dan Kapanke, the most vulnerable of all the eight Republican state Senators:

La Crosse area Democrats say they will file petitions today with enough signatures to trigger a recall election of Sen. Dan Kapanke, one of eight Senate Republicans targeted over votes to curtail collective bargaining rights for public workers. If approved, it would be just the fifth recall election of a Wisconsin legislator.Recall organizer Pat Scheller said volunteers have gathered more than the 15,588 signatures needed and that they plan to take them to Madison after a noon rally today at La Crosse City Hall.

Kapanke represents a district that President Obama won with 61% of the vote in 2008. Our Daily Kos / PPP poll shows him trailing a generic Democrat by a whopping 55%-41%. An earlier MoveOn / Survey USA  poll showed Kapanke trailing a generic opponent by an even worse 57%-41% margin.

Kapanke is in a lot of trouble. He is also not alone. Last week, recall petition organizers against Republican state Senator Randy Hopper announced they had enough signatures, too:

Efforts to recall Republican State Senator Randy Hopper from Fon du Lac have reached another milestone, as organizers issue a call for volunteers to turn in any remaining petitions to be counted. Organizer Scott Dillman says he’s sure they have enough signatures to trigger the recall, but he can’t give exact figures yet. He says, processing all the information they’ve collected so far will take a week.

Hopper, a freshman who only  won his seat by 163 votes, trails a generic Democrat 49%-44% in our polling. In the MoveOn / Survey USA polling, he trails 54%-43%. Both polls were taken before the scandal about Hopper’s mistress receiving a state job with a 35% raise exploded. Since Monday morning, our ad highlighting the scandal has over 2,500,000 page views in Randy Hopper’s district, even though his district has only about 175,000 residents.

Even though the deadline is May 2nd, organizers in a few other recall districts either already have, or will soon pass, the number of signatures required to file recall petitions. As such, we will soon be entering the election phase of the recall campaign. Please, support the recall effort by contributing $5 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democratic state Senate Committee. The recall elections themselves won’t take place for at least another 10 weeks, and likely longer, but we must be relentless in our pressure against Wisconsin Republicans.

For more discussion, please see the rec list diary by nik.

SOURCE

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Red vs. blue: The great Midwestern backlash

New GOP governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan are suddenly unpopular. The economy gives, and it takes away

Salon- By Andrew Leonard

Friday, Mar 18, 2011 08:30 ET

In 2008, Barack Obama carried Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, three crucial Midwestern states in which he had campaigned unceasingly. Two years later, the midterm tidal wave handed monolithic control of the state legislature and governor’s mansion in each state over to Republicans. The new governors, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and Michigan’s Rick Snyder, immediately and forcefully moved to exploit their power in pursuit of bold Republican agendas.

We’re not just talking good old-fashioned budget-balancing mandated cuts in public services. The grandiose ambitions of Wisconsin’s Walker have been well chronicled. But Michigan’s Rick Snyder has been equally aggressive. Snyder is proposing to cut corporate taxes in Michigan by 60 percent while simultaneously hiking the percentage of state revenues raised from individual income taxes from 31 percent to 41 percent. He just signed a “financial emergency law” giving him the right to appoint emergency managers — with the legal power to arbitrarily cancel union contracts — to replace locally elected government authorities. In Ohio, Kasich plans to gut public education spending, end collective bargaining by public sector workers, sell prisons to the private sector and push through a voucher plan for charter schools.

So now comes the backlash. Polls in each state show support for the trio of Republican governors plummeting. In Wisconsin, Democrats are counting the days until Walker is eligible for a recall, and in the meantime, pushing hard to retake control of the state Senate. On Wednesday, 5,000 protesters marched through the Michigan state Capitol — the largest protest yet in that state — and Gov. Snyder was booed by workers at a Ford Focus plant. Grass-roots resistance to Ohio’s Kasich doesn’t yet appear to have reached quite the same fever pitch, but if he ran for reelection today against his 2010 opponent, he’d get clobbered.

As quickly as the politics of the Midwest reversed themselves, once, they are doing so again, and political observers can be excused for suffering a severe case of whiplash. We’re used to seeing the pendulum swing in the United States, but the action over the last two years — from Obama’s breakthrough to the Tea Party rebellion to Cairo-in-Wisconsin — is more reminiscent of a strobe light’s jitteriness. How to explain it?

MORE HERE

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Scott Walker And Wisconsin Republicans Face Legal Battles Over Bill

Politicususa- By Sarah Jones
March 17, 2011

In the aftermath of his Draconian power grab, Governor Scott Walker has been smirking his way though celebratory dinners and being slapped on the back by national Republicans who whisper “Vice Presidential material” to him through the decayed orifices of their corporate mouths. Scott’s pleasure with himself is evident to all who are forced to watch this soulless Koch logo preen his way through a press conference.

But back in his home state, things don’t look very good for Scotty. Numerous lawsuits have been brought against Walker’s anti-union bill, the most important one of which calls for the bill to be voided. After reading numerous complaints, the Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne believes the Republicans violated the open meeting law of Wisconsin. He further requests a stay on publishing the bill until the court can hear these matters. In addition, several other suits have been brought against the Republicans for violating open meeting laws and passing a financial bill without the necessary quorum.

After receiving at least five complaints regarding the Republicans’ alleged violation of the open meeting law, the DA filed a lawsuit. The suit alleges that in the March 9 meeting during which Republicans passed Walker’s anti-union bill, killing collective bargaining, the special legislative committee (consisting of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon and Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder of Abbotsford) violated the Wisconsin Open Meeting Law in several ways.

Firstly, the Republicans claimed they were in an emergency meeting and thus exempt from giving notice as required by open meeting law, but the DA found they do not meet the requirements for an emergency meeting. Secondly, Republicans claimed that Senate rules overrode the state law, but the DA determined that because they had both the assembly and the Senate in the meeting, the Senate rules do not apply. Thirdly, the Republicans held the meeting at a time when they restricted access to the Capitol to the public (as well as lawmakers) as well as holding it in a tiny room where there was no room for the public.

MORE HERE

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Madison Firefighters union President Joe Conway says a general public strike would be an appropriate response to the Wisconsin Senate voting to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights. The union members would need to approve it by Conway is advocating walking off the job.

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Wisconsin GOP Senators Pass Stand-Alone Anti-Union Bill Without Democrats Present

HuffPost- Sam Stein & Amanda Terkel

First Posted: 03/ 9/11 07:45 PM Updated: 03/ 9/11 07:57 PM

WASHINGTON — In a bold gambit to put an end to the weeks-long budget standoff in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) split his controversial budget-repair bill in two on Wednesday, allowing the Senate to pass the most hotly contested provisions while their 14 Democratic colleagues remained out of state.

The parliamentary maneuver, first reported by local press, allowed the anti-collective bargaining measure to pass with just Republican support. Under Wisconsin law a 3/5s quorum is needed for a statute that is fiscal in nature. No such quorum is needed for non-fiscal matters.

It was also a 180-degree reversal by Walker and state Senate Republicans, who have insisted for the past three weeks that the collective bargaining provision was designed to help alleviate the state’s budget problems. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had previously said he would not attempt to pass any portions of the bill without Democrats present.

Wisconsin Democrats decried the move as an unprecedented and blatant end-run, but it was clear that they were powerless to stop it. Indeed, it took the conference committee only a matter of minutes to pass the severed off measure by a four-to-two vote. Minutes later, the same bill passed through the entire Senate by an 18-1 margin, with Sen. Dale Schultz, a Republican moderate who had proposed a compromise measure, lodging the only no vote.

Justin Sargent, a staffer to Senator Chris Larson (D-Wis.) called the maneuver completely unexpected. It showed, he added, that this “obviously wasn’t about any kind of financing, it was an attack on working families.”

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(h/t to First Draft for photo)

Scott Walker Hates Anything That Helps The Little People. Here’s Another Example

Crooks & Liars- By Susie Madrak

March 07, 2011 07:00 AM

From the Cap Times (via First Draft, a blog that’s done an amazing job cover the Madison movement). This insurance plan is something that doesn’t cost the state government anything — but doesn’t profit any of Walker’s friends, so it has to go:

If you need a prima facie example of how this extremist Republican governor is taking the side of the big guys against the little guys, I’ve got one for you.

Hidden in the 1,300 or so pages of his 2011-13 budget is the dismantling of Wisconsin’s little-known State Life Fund, a small state-operated life insurance plan that was enacted 100 years ago this year by progressive Republican legislators in the wake of insurance scandals that rocked the state back then.

The fund costs Wisconsin government nothing, but operates off investing the premiums paid by the 30,000-plus state residents who hold policies with face values ranging from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000. The fund, which isn’t well-known because it is forbidden from doing any advertising, nevertheless earns dividends that substantially reduce the insureds’ premium costs plus build cash values that policyholders can cash in if events in their lives make it prudent to do so.

In 2010, the State Life Fund sold 146 new policies with $69,000 in new premiums. The plan is totally self-supporting and continually runs a surplus. It requires no extra workers in the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. It’s a good deal for young families who want to have at least a little life insurance protection. Some cash in their policies and use the cash value to help pay for their children’s college. Older folks are known to purchase a policy to cover funeral expenses.

Yet Walker wants to freeze it in place come July 1 and close it to further purchases.

It’s a blatant giveaway to the private insurance industry, which has long bristled at the existence of the fund, insisting that it is “socialized insurance.” It has tried without success for several decades to get it killed. The most recent attack on it came from dishonored former state Rep. Scott Jensen of Waukesha, himself an insurance industry shill. Even Tommy Thompson’s Republican administration wouldn’t go along with Jensen’s scheme to close it down.

But now comes Walker, who received substantial campaign contributions from insurance interests in his race last fall. And because of the acquiescence to his machinations by the Republican majority in the Legislature, the threat to the fund is much more serious. Walker will get his wish unless the proposal is removed from the budget bill before it passes.

SOURCE

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Breaking: Wisconsin Dems throw their weight behind drive to recall GOP Senators

Washington Post- The Plum Line- Greg Sargent

Posted at 2:34 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

By Greg Sargent

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has decided to throw its weight behind a nascent grassroots drive to recall a number of GOP state senators, a move that will considerably increase the pressure on them to break with Governor Scott Walker, the Dem party chair confirms to me.

“The proposals and the policies that Republicans are pushing right now are not what they campaigned on, and they’re extreme,” the party chair, Mike Tate, said in an interview. “Something needs to be done about it now. We’re happy to stand with citizens who are filling papers to recall these senators.”

Previously, Wisconsin Dems had not publicly supported talk about recalling GOP Senators, in hopes of privately reaching a negotiated solution to the crisis. The Wisconsin Democratic Party’s decision to support the recall drives represents a significant ratcheting up of hostilities and in essence signals that all bets are off.

Eight Republican Senators are eligible to be recalled right now, and various groups around Wisconsin are beginning to file papers to make it happen. Tate told me that the party would throw its organization behind such efforts

“We’re an aggressive, on-the-ground group and we’re going to be looking to aid these citizens in any way we can,” he said.

Tate said he couldn’t say whether such a recall drive would result in GOP Senators breaking with Walker, given their solidarity so far, but he vowed that a number of them would pay the price by losing their own jobs.

“There are Republican senators today that will lose their seats in a recall election in the next few months,” he said “We’re happy to assist.”

Asked if Wisconsin Dems would drop their push to recall senators if they abandoned the drive to roll back public employee bargaining rights. Tate said he couldn’t guarantee that, arguing that Walker’s proposed budget cuts yesterday took this fight to a whole new level.

“In the past 24 hours, this has gotten so much larger than the rights of our public employees,” he said. “This is much larger now than it was a week ago.”

UPDATE, 3:08 p.m.: Ian Millhiser has some detail on the slim vote margin some of these Republicans won office with, and on how a recall would work.

And Sam Stein notes that Wisconsin Dems are already raising money to support the recall effort.

UPDATE, 3:43 p.m.: The SEIU is now soliciting support for the recall drives, suggesting labor may join the push to collect the required signatures necessary to make them happen.

UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: We now have a total of four national polls all showing solid support for public employees.

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 2:34 PM ET

SOURCE

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Wisconsin Democrats Launch Recall Effort Against GOP Senators

HuffPost- Sam Stein

First Posted: 03/ 2/11 02:39 PM Updated: 03/ 2/11 02:50 PM

WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin Democratic Party has launched a fundraising campaign to recall state Senate Republicans who have supported the budget bill by Gov. Scott Walker (R) that would strip collective bargaining rights from the state’s public employee unions.

The email the party sent out on Wednesday afternoon is excerpted below:

In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back. It’s that simple.This morning citizens from around the state took the first steps by filing recall papers against key Republican Senators who have stood with Scott Walker and pushed his partisan power grab that will strip thousands of middle class teachers, nurses, librarians and other workers of their right to collective bargaining. And we learned just last night that their disastrous budget that will cut millions from our schools and universities.

In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back by recalling the Republican Senators who have decided to push Scott Walker’s divisive attack on the rights of workers and his assault on schools, universities and local communities. Can you contribute $60 today to support the Democratic Party’s recall efforts?

Make no mistake, these Republican Senators are vulnerable to recall for their radical partisan overreach. Senator Randy Hopper won his last election by just 184 votes. And Alberta Darling won her last race by only 1,007. By recalling just three of the eight Senators we are targeting, we can regain control of the Senate.

But we need your help today. The clock is ticking and we have just 60 days to collect the signatures we need to force a recall. Every day and every dollar counts.

[snip]

If we can recall at least three Senators and regain control of the Senate, we can end the ugly games Republicans in the legislature have played in the last few days — unplugging phone lines, bolting windows inside the Capitol shut, and withholding the paychecks of Democratic legislators.

MORE HERE

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