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‘Indivisible’ with Charlie Sykes: Can judges be impervious to party politics?

Right Wisconsin Editor Charlie Sykes explores what it means to be a conservative judge, and why that term can have different meanings.
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‘The Insiders’ debate the DNR magazine’s value

The WisOpinion.com Insiders, Chvala and Kanavas, debate the value of the DNR magazine slated to be shuttered under Gov. Scott Walker's budget. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association and Michael Best Strategies.
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‘The Insiders’ debate the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare

The WisOpinion.com Insiders, Chvala and Kanavas, debate how the Republicans' effort to repeal and replace Obamacare will play out over time. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association and Michael Best Strategies.
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‘The Insiders’ take an early look at Baldwin’s re-election prospects

Will Tammy Baldwin need the luck of the Irish to win re-election next year? The Insiders do an early analysis this St. Patrick's Day. Sponsored by Michael Best Strategies and the Wisconsin Counties Association.
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‘The Insiders’ talk Trump, Walker, Laning and Evers-Holtz

The WisOpinion.com Insiders, Chvala and Kanavas, debate Trump, Walker, Laning and Evers-Holtz in the lightning round. Sponsored by Michael Best Strategies and the Wisconsin Counties Association.

Adam Brandon: Rand Paul’s Obamacare repeal plan gets there — Paul Ryan’s doesn’t

House GOP plan does not go back to ground zero, where this disaster began. Instead, the plan is to go for "Obamacare Lite." It's simply a different version of Obamacare — a Republican version of Obamacare. It's how President Obama himself might have done it.
Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake.

Adam Jarchow: I screwed up and I’m sorry

Last session, in his budget, Gov. Walker proposed adding 102 new auditors to the Department of Revenue. I didn't like the proposal, nor did many of my colleagues in the Legislature. A number of us tried to remove it from the budget. When that failed, to our discredit, we went along with it. We shouldn't have.

Adam Neylon and Devin LeMahieu: Time to REIN in the bureaucracy

The REINS act makes several changes to improve the transparency of the administrative rulemaking process in Wisconsin.

Alan Talaga: Ties that bind

The governor’s budget tethers student aid increases to employee benefits

Ben Brancel: Governor Walker’s budget works for rural Wisconsin

I am optimistic for the future of Wisconsin’s rural communities. I believe Governor Walker’s budget makes a strong investment in our rural communities and Wisconsin’s future.

Bill Kaplan: GOP health care debacle

President Trump was no dealmaker and Rep. Paul Ryan was speaker in name only. A debacle for the GOP.
Paul Ryan

Bill Kaplan: Ryan and Trump, drop dead rural-urban folks

The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com. The Ryan-Trump health plan and federal...
Paul Ryan

Bill Kaplan: Ryan’s health plan, 24 million more uninsured

On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a bombshell: the GOP health plan will increase the uninsured by 24 million.

Bill Kaplan: Trump and Ryan, pay attention to John Dean

John Dean, former White House counsel to Nixon, who plead guilty for his role in covering up Watergate, tweeted: “Hey, Donald (Trump), a tip: Cover-ups don’t get easier as they proceed. Russia tie leaks drown your joint session speech (Tuesday) in less than 24 hrs”.

Bill Lueders: Opee Awards recognize good acts and bad

Time and again, transparency advocates have seen that protecting Wisconsin’s traditions of open government depends on the courage and initiative of individuals. This year’s winners of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council’s Openness Awards, or Opees, include two citizens, two journalists, one fired government worker and one small but gutsy Wisconsin newspaper.

Bill Osmulski: Does Wisconsin really have a billion dollar transportation deficit?

A billion-dollar shortfall in the next transportation budget started the debate about raising Wisconsin's gas tax, which was so explosive, no one seemingly had the time to confirm there is a billion-dollar shortfall.

Bill Osmulski: Many methods of rating roads leads to confusion

Even for the pros, the state of Wisconsin's roads lies in the eye of the beholder.
Paul Ryan

Bob Bryan: The biggest fights Ryan’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will face

Groups on the right and left of the political spectrum have gripes with Ryan's plan — and how those battles are fought will ultimately decide the fate of the ACA and millions of Americans' health insurance.

Brett Healy: No surprise here: MPS blames $12 million less in federal Title I...

Just one problem - Congress changed the law so more federal funding would go to actual services and less to administrative bloat at MPS.

Brett Healy: Repealing EPA’s noxious coal rules is great for Wisconsin

President Donald Trump’s executive order instructing the Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process to repeal the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, a slate of anti-coal regulations, is a welcome respite for Wisconsin and the nation.

Bruce Murphy: Can Holtz beat Evers?

Voters could hardly have a clearer choice in this race.

Bruce Murphy: Gagged and bagged

DNR staff are no longer protectors of the environment

Bruce Murphy: Pat Roggensack on the warpath

Supreme Court chief justice slams Journal Sentinel, Janine Geske, and others.

Bruce Murphy: Sue Black faces more controversy

Former county parks director investigated for management of Arizona Parks.

Bruce Murphy: Sykes’ war against Sheriff Clarke

Nowadays, if you looking for someone to dump on Sheriff David Clarke, you can’t do better than Charlie Sykes.

Bruce Murphy: The muzzling of the DNR

Gagged by the Walker administration, its staff no longer provide any information.

Bruce Murphy: The remarkable clout of We Energies

Year after year the company jacks up prices with bipartisan approval. Why?

Bruce Murphy: The worst governor ever for workers?

Six years later, Gov. Scott Walker’s impact on unions, worker rights and jobs.

Bruce Murphy: Who’s to blame for Milwaukee pension mess?

County’s countless expensive mistakes go back at least 15 years -- and still no solution.
Donald Trump in Wisconsin

Bruce Murphy: Wisconsin is the Rust Belt’s global trade winner

Trump’s protectionist trade policies will hurt state far more than others.

Bruce Thompson: How Trump betrays his supporters

Trumpcare in Wisconsin and nation hikes costs the most for Trump voters.

Bruce Thompson: Three whopping data lies

Here are three recent examples of people making the convenient slide from correlation to causality, including Governor Scott Walker’s attempts to show that his policies created jobs and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel’s argument that the Wisconsin gerrymander results from demographic changes. Of course, no discussion of political misleading claims would be complete without President Donald Trump.

Bruce Thompson: Who wins from anti-poverty programs?

In U.S. and Wisconsin, biggest beneficiaries are whites without degrees.

Buzz Davis: Wars do not beget peace — Trump throws another $54 billion at...

On Nov. 6, 2018 we will elect a new Congress (all the House members and 33 senators will be up for election.) Is it time to throw the bums out, keep the few good ones and start turning America into a Nation of peace builders and turn our backs on war mongering?

Casey Hoff: Roggensack’s ‘tough talk’ criticism misses point

Chief Justice Patience Roggensack need not look any further than some of the court’s own members’ actions as reasons for the court’s decline in public confidence.

Casey Hoff: Supreme Court should address recusal issue

State's top justices ignore voter concerns about campaign donations they get.

Charles Benson: My dinner with POTUS

It was an awesome night; engaging, enlightening and entertaining. I never thought as a journalist I would have dinner at the White House with any president.

Charlie Sykes: 7 things we learned from the health care debacle

Minutes after the most dramatic political defeat of his presidency, Donald Trump made two things clear: (1) he was actually relieved (rather than angry) that the repeal/replace bill was dead and, (2) was basically giving up on the issue that conservatives had hammered on for the last seven years.

Charlie Sykes: Our illiberal arts

The Oxford Dictionaries still define "liberal" as meaning a willingness “to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas.” But it is hard to square that with what has become of liberalism – or more specifically the Liberal Arts – on many university campuses.

Chris Rickert: GOP: Heroin abuse more deserving of empathy than illegal immigration

Two recent legislative initiatives provide a window onto which people state Republicans believe are worthy of government empathy and assistance, and which people should be a law enforcement priority.

Chris Rickert: Scott Walker’s prescience won’t save his state from his party’s health care...

In navigating federal changes to America’s system for making sure people have access to health care that won’t land them in bankruptcy court, Walker has been downright prescient. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean paying for health care in the state he leads will get any easier.

Chris Rickert: Smart labor reform undermined by years of GOP labor ‘reform’

Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Tyler August would expand from three to five the number of highest-earning years used in calculating monthly pension benefits for retired public-sector workers, and raise the minimum retirement ages from 50 to 52 for public safety workers such as cops and firefighters and from 55 to 60 for everyone else. The changes would apply only to future public-sector hires.

Chris Taylor: Democrats’ tax proposal helps middle class

Proposal ends Walker’s giveaway to millionaires and gives tax relief to low-income and middle class.

Chris Taylor: Fight over U.S. Constitution is coming to Wisconsin

ALEC’s drive to amend our Constitution has nothing to do with actual people and everything to do with their big corporate backers. They want to stop the federal government from protecting our environment, giving workers a voice at the table, paying fair wages, and giving the economy a boost during recessions.
Paul Ryan

Chris Walker: Paul Ryan objects to key CBO claim, but here’s why he’s still...

People will be economically forced into refusing insurance under “TrumpCare” plan.

Chris Walker: Scott Walker ‘shifts’ on his promises — so why should voters trust...

Walker tries to spin excuses for why he's failed to deliver on jobs pledge.

Chris Walker: Wake up, Republicans: the lead crisis is real, and poisoning our children

A bipartisan effort is needed to address lead poisoning in Wisconsin.

Christian Schneider: Clarke stealing Trump’s playbook

Donald Trump has now given conservatives permission to engage in a new type of verbal pugilism formerly relegated to fringe candidates in local school board races.
Donald Trump in Wisconsin

Christian Schneider: Fauxbamacare flops for Trump, GOP

Nobody voted for Republicans to keep the most objectionable parts of the Affordable Care Act.
Donald Trump in Wisconsin

Christian Schneider: Recognizing honor isn’t always honorable

The temptation for Trump to wrap himself in the valor of a recently deceased soldier was too much to resist.

Christian Schneider: The conservative guide to impeaching Trump

Temptation grows for right-wingers to consciously uncouple from his supporters.

Christian Schneider: Walker right to ax state property tax

Since 1937, the Forestry program has been predominantly funded by a small statewide property tax — the only property tax the state levies. The problem with the state forestry property tax is that for decades, it sat untouched, generating millions of more dollars for the Forestry Account with little justification for whether it actually needed the money.

CJ Szafir: Did Republicans in Congress further empower Superintendent Tony Evers?

Repeal of ESSA means legislature must take role.

Dale Kooyenga: Let’s rethink a tuition cut

I believe higher education should be affordable, and I say this as someone who chose to attend a two year college before attending a four year institution. However, by marching toward a policy of free tuition we are actually moving away from students placing their own equity in their education.

Dan Benson: Is Milwaukee a ‘donor’ city?

More than it used to be, but Mayor Tom Barrett fails to count all the state’s funding to the city or how much other communities give.

Dave Cieslewicz: College tuition: Work for it!

Why not simply pay students to work their way through college?

Dave Cieslewicz: Hard lines equal hard times

Last week Republicans struggled to do what they had done so easily dozens of times in the past: pass a bill to repeal Obamacare. But it got tricky this time because they had to make good on the “replace” part of their “repeal and replace” mantra that worked so well for them in every election since the law was passed.

Dave Cieslewicz: Return, sweet boredom

A properly humming civic engine runs quiet. It’s boring. And boring is beautiful.

Dave Cieslewicz: Why white guys matter

Democrats and liberals cannot regain power until they fix the problem they have with men in general and white men in particular.

Dave Considine: Medicaid reform would give states the flexibility to cut coverage

Our conservative Congressional leadership should be honest with people. Medicaid reform is an effort to save money at the federal level which will in turn tighten the budgets of states.

Dave Considine: PSC appointment is concerning, but not the end of the road

Lon Roberts was the secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions before his appointment. The PSC is tasked with keeping public utilities in line and essentially balancing our energy needs with the resources we currently have. With that responsibility in mind, why not choose someone with experience in that field?

Dave Daley: Sunshine Week: Federal grant funding obscures how government is funded, diffuses accountability

For close to a year now, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute has been wrestling with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to obtain a report on what steps, if any, HUD took to stop misuse of more than $2 million in taxpayer funds by a Wisconsin tribe.

Dave Zweifel: Donald Trump’s got it all wrong on ‘fake news’

To suggest, as Donald Trump and his perennially angry base do, that thousands of media people get together each morning and decide how to demonize the president is ludicrous on its face.

Dave Zweifel: Godspeed to National Guard public affairs master Tim Donovan

Donovan passed away last month at the age of 65 a few weeks after he was struck down by an aneurysm that ruptured in his brain while he was at home getting ready to go to work.

Dave Zweifel: Only some constituents count with Jim Sensenbrenner

"I won by 146,000 votes," he boasted to the New York Times. "I represent the majority. Now, they're a vocal minority," referring to the crowds at the town hall meetings. And of course Republican stalwarts like Jim Sensenbrenner couldn't possibly think that those constituents are worth representing.

Dave Zweifel: Politicking or tax breaks, but not both

Here's my advice to those pastors out there who want to do politics from their pulpits on Sundays. Go ahead. Endorse candidates, fight for or against politicians and exhort your parishioners as to how to vote. Do it all you want — just give up your tax exemption and start paying taxes on property and income just like everyone else has to do.

Dave Zweifel: Real butter regains its rightful status

After all these years the pro-butter folks appear to have won their battle against those dastardly oleo people.

Dave Zweifel: Scott Walker and Paul Ryan still buy in to ‘voodoo’ economics

Two of "trickle-down" proponent Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's biggest fans are House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker.

Dave Zweifel: Trump’s terror obsession ignores gun carnage

My Cargo Coffee Shop friend Charlie was elated with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's column recently that noted the anomaly of how excited we get about the possibility of terror attacks, but fall asleep whenever we talk about America's real problem: guns.
Donald Trump in Wisconsin

Dave Zweifel: What if Barack Obama had lied like Donald Trump?

Republicans, who couldn't launch enough investigations into Hillary Clinton's emails or who said what about Benghazi — both issues that even Republicans knew were phony — can't bring themselves to get behind probing the lies that are as clear as the noses on their faces.

David Blaska: Epic fail: Obamacare repeal DOA. Good!

The promise that elected ever-more Republicans in four straight elections after Obamacare’s passage eight years ago turned out to be a chimera. Lucy pulling the football.

David Blaska: Gorsuch schools America on the judiciary

Confirmation hearing should be required viewing on college campuses for the education it offers on the separation of powers.

David Blaska: President Trump opened the right envelope Tuesday night

Can one speech change the national mood? Perhaps not. But if any speech can, Donald J. Trump delivered it Tuesday night.

David D. Haynes: In Donald Trump’s ‘real America,’ unrelenting angst

Since the election of Trump, who attracted an outsized amount of support from people who didn’t go to college, this group has been a focus of curiosity. And what we’re finding is that there are major problems in the real America that those of us in “the bubble” don’t know much about.

Dominique Paul Noth: GOP kills measure for buying American steel, hiring American workers

It’s a pipe dream for Trump followers to believe he has done anything concrete on his Buy American pledge.

Dominique Paul Noth: Ryan’s failure should turn Trump to House’s enduring power center

The debacle of the GOP health care bill reveals a hard truth for Donald Trump. There is a strongman in D.C. he will have to work with if he wants to get anything positive done. Her name is Nancy Pelosi.

Dominique Paul Noth: What to expect April 4 – and what to do

Non-partisan spring election may not be a good test of public's political anger.

Dominique Paul Noth: Why shameless is best description of Trump speech to Congress

The most penetrating moment in Donald Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night was not his, except for the crass setup.

Dominique Paul Noth: Why silly thinking makes Trump the terrorist’s best friend

If there is an uptick in deadly terrorist violence in the next few years the main culprit will likely be Donald Trump and his wrong-headed policies.

Erin Grunze and Andrea Kaminski: Underage voting shows need to invest in voter education

To prevent such incidents in the future, the state needs to invest in more voter education and training of election officials.

Ernst-Ulrich Franzen: Clouds gathering over government access

It is only through the ability of citizens and advocates and news organizations to monitor government that democracy remains strong.

Ernst-Ulrich Franzen: Legislature doing what’s needed in in fight against opiate epidemic

Pushing forward in the fight against the state's opiate epidemic, the Legislature's budget committee moved a package of legislation Monday that should help victims, families and law enforcement.

Ernst-Ulrich Franzen: Surprise! Robin Vos doesn’t like being kept in the dark

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) was none too happy when fellow legislators kept him in the dark about a bill aimed at reining in profits that We Energies makes from its power plants in Oak Creek and Port Washington.

George Mitchell: The lynching of Mark Gottlieb

When it comes to Wisconsin’s transportation finance crisis, the real “public trust” that needs rebuilding involves the governor and the legislators who have let Mark Gottlieb twist in the wind. He left the Transportation Department in better shape than when he took it over.

George Mitchell: The transportation debate: Assessing Gov. Walker’s role

Where does the buck stop in Madison?

Gregory Humphrey: Mainstream Wisconsin vs. governing conservatives

Carrying water for corporate farms, the cash-rich NRA, and major industries may play well at GOP political fundraisers. But the average citizen looks at it all and wonders how did we get so far removed from the ideals our state once embraced.

Gregory Humphrey: What Wisconsin Democrats need to do

Elected Democrats across the state need to speak of how political boundaries are drawn with every coffee shop gathering, civic-club luncheon, and press interview.

Gregory Humphrey: Wisconsin citizens do rely upon public notices in local newspapers

In small towns and villages around this state folks who desire to get information about the places they live turn to their hometown papers.

Gregory Humphrey: Wisconsin needs to say the public trust should not be for sale

Regardless of how one aligns politically there is agreement that some changes to the process of how government operates would be a benefit to all. One such idea is being advanced in Wisconsin to prohibit legislators from becoming lobbyists for at least a year after they leave office.

Gretchen Schuldt: Sen. Baldwin is right: Gorsuch is the wrong choice for SCOTUS

If you ignore all the chatter and study Gorsuch’s record, however, what emerges is a portrait of a far-right judge who is even more extreme than Justice Antonin Scalia, and whose legal views would harm Wisconsin workers and families.

Ike Brannon and Mike Nichols: Help students succeed before they get to college

Admitting students with little chance to graduate helps no one. Tying UW System funding to graduation rates would force change.

Is Trump’s infrastructure plan a Trojan horse?

The plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects; not to mention that the plan does not directly fund infrastructure projects like new roads or airports.

Jake Curtis: If Tim Kaine thinks his son’s Trump protest was ‘peaceful,’ what would...

Those known as the ‘resistance’ are fundamentally and potentially irrevocably altering the norms of civil discourse rooted in the First Amendment.

James Rowen: 3/15 hearing kicks off permanent WI groundwater privatization

Shakespeare warned us that bad things could happen on 3/15 - - the Ides of March - - and sure enough, 3/15 is when a joint Wisconsin Assembly/Senate committee hearing in Madison will launch big ag and big dairy's long-sought push to finally win permanently-held rights to massive amounts of Wisconsin ground water through an expanding number of wells which pump at least 100,000 gallons of water a day.

James Rowen: Get used to more corporate control of WI, US environment

As Trump and his budget slashers take aim at climate change science, staff and expertise at the EPA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and even the Centers for Disease Control, remember that Walker and his DNR did it first.
Paul Ryan

James Rowen: Killing health insurance essentials echoes GOP ‘freedom’ blueprint

Trump and Paul Ryan want to pull so-called essentials out of health insurance coverage requirements in the name of 'choice.'
Paul Ryan

James Rowen: Paul Ryan and his failed wonkology

"Wonkology" is my term for ideology + buzzwords, and there's no bigger believer in it and its toxic detachment from everyday human reality than Wisconsin GOP Congressman and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

James Rowen: Some DNR web data on CAFOs stuck in 2014

A DNR website on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations includes a 2014 chart showing 230 such operations, though a recent news story about DNR inspection staffing suggests the number is "about 285," and a DNR database says the number is 292.

James Rowen: The Walker iconography shows polluted water, broken roads, lost jobs

Milwaukee is on the road to a new city flag with up-to-date symbols, and Isthmus offered options for a new state banner, so how about some possible new state symbols that highlight right-wing Republican Gov. and reverse Midas-touch Scott Walker's signature achievements which he could add to his home page and official documents:

James Rowen: Walker again opts for humiliation, punishment as anti-poverty tools

Gov. Scott Walker's fresh appeal to Donald Trump for federal permission to drug test public aid recipients is another Walker pre-election dog whistle to the GOP base.

James Rowen: Walker axed DNR magazine right after agency touted it

Word began circulating on February 9th that Scott Walker's upcoming state budget would wipe out his 'chamber of commerce mentality' DNR's popular, subscriber-supported magazine. So why did the DNR tout the magazine and its virtues in both a posting on a DNR web page and also in a DNR weekly newsletter just a few days earlier on January 31:

James Rowen: Walker, GOP have destroyed state roads and budgets

The roads are a mess, there's not enough money to repair and improve them, the budgets are awash in red ink and taxpayers face mounting congestion and billions in unfunded obligations.

James Wigderson: A constitutional lesson for Democrats

Do Wisconsin Democrats need a class in the state constitution? During the debate over an amendment to eliminate the office of the state treasurer, it certainly seemed that way.

Jan Uebelherr: Long ordeal to get licensed in Wisconsin frustrates aspiring hair stylist

Cassie Mrotek, a beauty school graduate from Milwaukee, just wants to work but has been thwarted for over a year.

Jan Uebelherr: Massage therapist finds continuing education requirements for licensing onerous

“How often do ethics change in massage therapy?” wonders Sara Cerwin, a Milwaukee massage therapist who says the state should ease up on continuing education requirements.

Jan Uebelherr: Salon owner says Wisconsin licensing hurdles make it tough for small businesses

“We’re not playing with people’s lives. We’re playing with people’s hair,” says Krissy Hudack, owner of Sky’s the Limit salon in Iron River, Wis.

Jenni Dye: Decision time for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

It’s important that our courts are beyond reproach and that judges aren’t deciding cases involving large campaign contributors. But that’s not what the rules governing the courts and the conduct of judges say in Wisconsin today.

Jeremy Thiesfeldt and Duey Stroebel: Modernizing meeting minutes

Fewer and fewer citizens are getting their news from traditional newspapers. There is now a superior, more cost-effective way to keep the public informed--the internet.

Jerry Bader: ‘Vets hardest hit’ prevailing wage myth goes multi-state

After failing to stop a partial repeal of Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law last session, union backed forces have now embraced the “veterans hardest hit” meme to stop a total repeal from happening this session.

Jerry Bader: GOP lawmakers, privately, use harsh language to criticize Walker’s budget

In what has become a biennial ritual, the Wisconsin media is crafting alarmist stories about the “structural deficit” in Governor Scott Walker’s proposed 2017-2019 state budget. What is new, however, is the tone of criticism several Republican lawmakers are voicing about the Walker budget in private conversations.

Jerry Badger: A case study in Democratic gun mythology

Draconian handgun laws in Chicago, Washington D.C. and other cities have done little to stem a rising tide of violent crime. What they have done is making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to self-protect with guns. That indisputable reality doesn’t keep Democratic lawmakers from insisting that making easier for non-criminals to legally carry guns will make society less safe.

Jesse Kremer: Body cameras: Policing with privacy in an age of technology

21st century technology, although beneficial, has placed us on thin ice with the Fourth Amendment and in situations where there is an expectation of privacy.

Jesse Kremer: Maintaining relevancy for all vets; The American Legion legacy

At a time when the American Legion has a dwindling membership, potentially compromising non-partisan integrity through a muddled relationship with a third party politically leftist lobby is not only disturbing on many levels, but begs the question, how can they maintain relevancy?

Jessica Murphy: For true academic freedom, the time is now

I am optimistic that if Governor Walker's commitment to academic freedom is passed in the biennial budget, university campuses in Wisconsin will once again become a haven for open intellectual discourse.

Joe Knight: Walker’s state budget could mean demise of DNR magazine

End of outdoors publication has more to do with policy than money.

John Koskinen: Wisconsin must be doing something right

Five often-overlooked features of Wisconsin's economic upswing.

John Nichols: On Sessions: Baldwin served, Johnson failed

While Sen. Baldwin can be proud that she respected her oath and sought to avert the Sessions catastrophe, Sen. Johnson failed his state and his country.

John R. Raymond: Trump’s research cuts would cost Wisconsin nearly 2,000 jobs

The Medical College of Wisconsin, UW-Madison, Marquette, UW-Milwaukee and Versiti/BloodCenter of Wisconsin competed for and earned about $400 million of research funding from the NIH alone in federal fiscal year 2016, and the proposed budget would eliminate about $100 million from Wisconsin research institutions in 2018.

John Torinus: GOP replacement plan: missed opportunities

They had seven years while vehemently opposing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which played out as the unaffordable Care Act, to craft with an elegant plan for governing the health care industry – nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy. Instead they made least-wurst sausage.

John Torinus: Please rethink those Trump tariffs

A tariff wall will just force companies like mine to raise prices.

John Torinus: What happened to Trump’s Art of the Deal?

President Trump may know a thing or two about hotel deals, but he totally flubbed the art of the deal with Republicans in Congress as they tried to replace Obamacare. So did his quarterback in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan.

Jon Erpenbach: Stop raiding veterans nursing home fund

A state that supports their veterans spends state money for programs for veterans and does not use money meant for the care and comfort in nursing homes for agency administration and rent.

Jon Peacock: The sneak attack on Medicaid

The House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act goes far beyond changing that law. Without so much as a single public hearing, the bill being voted on by the House this week also makes radical changes to the structure of the Medicaid program that provides health care coverage for about one-fifth of Americans.

Jonathan Krause: Brought to you by the letter Q and the number 0

While they like to call themselves "progressives", liberals sure are unwilling to let go of archaic public institutions.

Kara O’Connor: Implosion of American Health Care Act shows need for campaign finance reform

To those who are ready for something better – please join the effort to fix our broken campaign finance reform system, so that we get health care reform that actually works for We The People.

Karen Hobert Flynn: Wisconsin legislators put constitutional rights at risk

Senate Joint Resolution 18 would add Wisconsin to an alarming and growing number of states calling for a constitutional convention to impose a federal balanced budget amendment.

Kathleen Vinehout: Don’t eliminate the state treasurer

Wisconsin is the only state where treasurer doesn't oversee cash management.

Kathleen Vinehout: Are waters in Wisconsin meeting water quality standards?

Oversight at the state level is something Wisconsin waters need right now.

Kathleen Vinehout: Broadband expansion: Rural Wisconsin needs the real deal

Both federal and state governments have responded with grant programs to expand broadband but there are problems with assuring that residents actually receive the promised services.

Kathleen Vinehout: More funding for local roads needed

In 38 counties only 5% of local roads are rated “good.”

Kathleen Vinehout: What’s next for health care?

Healthcare policy is complex. But solving problems is possible. If those in Washington have given up, let’s consider new ideas at our state Capitol. We might land on an idea that really works.

Kevin P. Reilly: What we can learn from America’s Irish immigrants

Are Muslim immigrants more likely to pose a serious threat to America than Irish immigrants were thought to in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th? Not if you asked the American nativists of those days. To them, the Irish then seemed as “other” as Muslims do to some Americans now.
Paul Ryan

Larry Kudlow: Ryan’s health-care bill is a very good first step

The Paul Ryan health-care bill is a very good first step toward reforming health care. I think the House and Senate GOP can make the Ryan blueprint even better.

Lena Taylor: Childbirth behind bars

Currently, Milwaukee County Jail’s policy mandates that inmates be shackled for all medical procedures despite the fact that the Wisconsin DOC and Federal Prison Bureau no longer require the practice of childbirth shackling. States that banned the practice have not reported any increase in escape attempts or threats to staff.

Lena Taylor: Giving chances

Right now, the ex-prisoner re-entry process is a vicious cycle. It needs to be a navigable road.

Lena Taylor: Leading on lead

When there’s so much evidence that something as simple as lead is so detrimental to our community’s well-being, our response should be just as simple: get the lead out.

Leon Young: The dismantling of Obamacare

Mr. Trump has already indicated that he intends to support the new American Health Care Act. But, it remains to be seen what changes the bill will ultimately undergo, or whether Republicans can muster enough support for passage.

Leon Young: The new art of deception

Trump’s histrionics should be viewed for exactly what they are: Calculated distractions intended to keep one from peering behind the curtain of lies that he routinely espouses.

Lou Kaye: Walker’s ‘reform dividend’ bails out his many failed reforms

Had Scott Walker's so-called "reforms" actually worked the way he claimed, there would be no need to borrow even a dime for this budget or any his previous budgets. But he does and he did borrow plenty.

Mark R. Hogan: Walker’s budget helps support Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs

The state of Wisconsin is committed to supporting the entrepreneurs and innovators who are working to move our state and economy forward.

Mark Redsten: Trump’s executive order on energy threatens Wisconsin

Let’s be very clear: Wisconsin’s agricultural industry, our tourism industry, the quality and quantity of our water resources, our natural landscapes, and our health are all threatened by fossil fuel industry-funded efforts to block meaningful climate change policies from taking effect.

Martin Preizler et al: Former Private sector insurance CEOs agree self-funding bad for Wisconsin

As taxpayers, however, we urge the members of the Joint Finance Committee to take a very critical look at the long-term impacts of the disruptive change being considered.

Matt Rothschild: Justice Gableman’s conflict of interest

Justice will speak at GOP fundraiser with right-wing leader helped by his Doe decision.

Matt Rothschild: Senators give themselves 31% increase

In non-public meeting they approve 31% raise in their per day expenses.

Matt Rothschild: Walker would end state property insurance

Local governments then must buy from private insurers, who donated to Walker.

Matt Rothschild: Why an Article V convention is such a bad idea

The proposed balanced budget amendment would lead to economic catastrophe and an Article V constitutional convention would imperil our fundamental rights.

Matthew Rothschild: Wis GOP backs Article V Convention. No Dems allowed!

Under one version of legislation calling for a constitutional convention on a balanced budget, Republican leaders would get to pick all seven delegates.
Paul Ryan

Matthew Sheffield: Downfall of a policy wonk

Paul Ryan becomes the latest victim of the American right’s fundamental dysfunction, The inability to face reality is not a bug in conservative politics — as Paul Ryan just found out; it's a feature

Melissa Sargent: Wisconsin’s lead crisis demands leadership

We need meaningful, comprehensive solutions to prevent the continued exacerbation of lead-related issues, and I can think of no better issue to demonstrate the Legislature’s capacity to transcend partisanship than on addressing the lead crisis in Wisconsin.

Michael Horne: Two tall men duel over schools

Evers and Holtz square off in superintendent's race; sparks fly both ways.

Mike Fischer: 5 takeaways from the CBO analysis

To navigate the talking points and spin in the media, here are several takeaways for conservatives about the CBO analysis.

Mike McCabe: We must rescue the First Amendment

Freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment have never been more threatened than they are today.

Mitch Henck: Best speech Donald Trump ever gave?

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck says President Donald Trump behaved in his Tuesday speech to Congress.

Mitch Henck: Conservative media is there for a reason

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on conservative media.

Mitch Henck: Free speech under attack at UW-La Crosse

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on the firing of a UW-La Crosse police dispatcher.

Mitch Henck: Health care bill doomed without compromise

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on Republicans' health care overhaul.

Mitch Henck: I’m tired of teachers getting the blame

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck comes to the defense of teachers.

Mitch Henck: No proof of election meddling?

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on election meddling and wiretapping allegations.

Mitch Henck: Smoking gun against Jeff Sessions?

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on the controversy over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' contact with Russia.

Mitch Henck: Subsidizing health care? We already do

In "Two Minutes with Mitch" radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on Republicans' health care overhaul.

Owen Robinson: The future of education in Wisconsin is on the ballot

Wisconsin has an excellent alternative to just doing the same tired thing and getting the same disappointing results. Lowell Holtz, a selfstyled “Kidservative,” plans a new path for Wisconsin education.

Owen Robinson: Tweaking the Wisconsin Retirement System

The Wisconsin Retirement System is a great example of government working well. Thanks to decades of prudent management by both Democrats and Republicans, it has provided an ample retirement income to generations of Wisconsin’s public employees and remains one of the only fully funded public pension systems in the nation.

Paul Fanlund: Are we facing the death of expertise?

The rejection of established knowledge as a tool to persuade people that they might be wrong makes politics even harder.

Paul Fanlund: Defending science, without picking fights

When a president denies science as consistently as President Trump does, what’s a scientist to do?
Donald Trump in Wisconsin

Paul Fanlund: It’s not just Kansas anymore

Political author Thomas Frank' most famous book — “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” — published in 2004, was prescient in foreshadowing the rise of Donald Trump populism.
Donald Trump in Wisconsin

Paul Fanlund: The navel-gazing style of Donald Trump

While President Trump has the ability to inspire a messianic adoration from supporters, it becomes clearer by the day — and by the tweet — that his interest in humankind is pretty much limited to one human — himself.
Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan: Keeping our promise to repeal ObamaCare

Our bill guts the failing law and enacts conservative reform without pulling the rug out from under anyone.
Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan: The American Health Care Act: What you need to know

Our plan will create an environment for universal access to quality, affordable health care. It will help create more choices, lower costs, and give back control to individuals and families. It will move decisions away from Washington and into state programs, doctors’ offices, and family living rooms.

Ray Allen: Career and technical education in Wisconsin: Looking forward

DWD is excited to continue on the pathway of expanding career education and opportunities for youth. Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin has come a long way, and we're on strong footing to do even more.

Ray Allen: Limits to unemployment insurance work-search waivers support Wisconsin employers & workers

A system that motivates workers to support themselves and their families, expands the talent pool for employers, brings greater fairness to all employers who pay into the UI Trust Fund, and drives up hiring and retention incentives, is a system that will move our economy and state forward.

Richard Komer: Give choice a chance

Milwaukee’s School Choice program celebrates 25th anniversary of landmark State Supreme Court ruling.

Rick Badger: What to do about Lincoln Hills

It’s time to fully staff these facilities, reverse the pay cuts of nearly 20% that hit front-line staff under Act 10 and restore the fundamental right to collectively bargain over workplace conditions and safety.

Rick Chandler: Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit will encourage work

People who haven't been working notice that when they take a job, they start paying taxes and they also lose public benefits they've been receiving. The combination of new taxes and lower benefits can make it economically unattractive to take a job. The solution to this problem is the EITC, which offsets some of the taxes imposed and benefits lost when people start working.

Ron Haskins: Gov. Scott Walker has a plan to strengthen families and reduce poverty

The governor’s plan creates a three-part strategy: use the schools and a public information campaign to spread the word about the success sequence; use proven programs to provide help to at-risk parents with babies so they can improve their parenting skills; and reduce financial disincentives to marriage.

Russ Feingold: If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t...

Never before has Senate leadership so openly and intentionally played political games with our highest court. The consequences are staggering.

Russ Feingold: The very legitimacy of our democracy is under threat

Donald Trump’s presidency is just one element of our disintegrating democracy.

Rusty Cunningham: Your right to know: Keep public notices in print

For more than two centuries, governments in this country have paid newspapers to publish public notices about the actions of government. But now, Wisconsin state legislators are circulating a pair of bills, AB70 and SB42, that aim to take public notices out of newspapers and put them instead on government websites.

Sam Dunkovich: Drug reform needed to address Wisconsin’s opioid crisis

A public health crisis is unfolding in America due to a growth in opioid addiction. Unfortunately, drug policy change has altered at a slow pace, and Wisconsin continues to rely on outdated medicines and policies.

Scot Ross: What could go wrong with a constitutional convention? Plenty

Once a constitutional convention is convened, all of the protections of our rights we enjoy as citizens and all of the responsibilities we apportion to the federal and state government are on the table.

Scott Walker: UW students and their families deserve a break

During the decade before our historic four-year tuition freeze, the University of Wisconsin (UW) System jacked up tuition by 118 percent, and it built up a $1 billion cash reserve off of those massive tuition hikes. Our budget proposes a five percent reduction in tuition for Wisconsin’s UW System students, and their families, because they deserve a break.

Spencer Black: Coal’s on the way out, and Trump can’t bring it back

The market for coal, both here and abroad, has been shrinking dramatically and will continue to do so.

Spencer Black: Trump administration takes the cake on presidential impropriety

Move over Ulysses Grant and the Crédit Mobilier scandal. Step aside Warren Harding and the Teapot Dome imbroglio. In just a few weeks, Donald Trump has you both beat when it comes to presidential financial impropriety.

Steven Walters: Barrett sells Milwaukee to GOP

City has reinvented itself, deserves greater investment from state, he argues.

Steven Walters: How the Legislature rigged the game

2015 campaign finance law gives more power to wealthy and corporations.

Steven Walters: Trump budget threatens state spending

$22.05 billion – or 28.9 percent of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2017-19 budget – will come from Washington.

Tamarine Cornelius and Jon Peacock: State near average in taxes, spending

24th in taxes and fees, 25th in spending, latest data shows.

Tamarine Cornelius: Will UW System changes hurt minorities?

Walker’s performance metrics may mean UWM serves fewer poor students.

Tamarine Cornelius: Wisconsin lawmakers set to consider radical proposal to amend U.S. Constitution

State lawmakers in Wisconsin are seeking to pass a resolution that calls for a convention to make drastic changes to the U.S. Constitution. If enough states join this effort, delegates to such a convention could have wide-ranging authority to make amendments to the constitution with very little in the way of external controls on what they are enabled to do.

Ted Nickel: Self-insurance will save state money without reducing benefits

As part of Gov. Scott Walker’s ongoing effort to generate taxpayer savings through reform, the self-insurance proposal would save taxpayers at least $60 million in the state budget while maintaining the same level of benefits for state employees.

Todd Berry: Lottery advertising: You be the judge. Or the statistician.

Wisconsin state budget bills are usually 1,000 or more pages in length and contain many small items that receive little or no attention. That is not to say, however, that serious questions cannot arise from the minutiae.

Todd Novak: The publishing of public notices

As a local and state government official, I want the public to have as much information as possible. It doesn’t matter if they gather their information from a government website or if they read it in the public notice section of the local newspaper. In many areas of the state, newspapers are the lifeblood of a community and sometimes the only convenient source of information.

Tom Diehl: Don’t start school until after Sept. 1

In the early 2000s, leaders of both the education and tourism industries sat down to compromise on a uniform school start date. Both sides negotiated that Wisconsin would have a uniform start date for public schools of after Sept. 1. This date has proven over the years to be a success and has created a good balance for Wisconsin schools and tourism.

Tom Frazier: Gerrymandering: Unconstitutional and unaffordable

Elections are supposed to be free and fair, but – until we get rid of gerrymandering – they will be neither in Wisconsin. We need a change!

Tom Still: Cyber-attacks will require new army of ‘soldiers’ with the right skills

Cyber-attacks are rampant in industry as well as within government institutions, yet there are relatively few people trained for cybersecurity careers.

Tom Still: For a stronger economy and national security, don’t cut science

With his proposed cuts in federal research and development spending, President Trump risks harming a priority he puts at the top of his own list – national security.

Wendy Riemann: Advantageous Advocacy: Two words that must be said: Thank you

We spend a lot of time thinking about what we will SAY in meetings with elected officials. We want our message and our ask to be perfect. However, we should also take note of what we DO in meetings, through our nonverbal messages.

William Lemorande: Trump spending too much on military

Increasing military budgets and cutting the State Department is a huge mistake. This, from a 27-year retired Navy commander. Who would think a military man would want to see his budget cut?
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