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— Both of Wisconsin’s U.S. senators have stops in the state today.
U.S Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, has two visits planned. She’ll be at the Wonewoc Waste Water Treatment Plant and Mid-State Technical College in Stevens Point to talk water infrastructure and workforce development.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, will be in De Pere to meet with Wisconsin truckers. Johnson earlier this month met with “People’s Convoy” truckers in Washington, D.C.
— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore is expected preside over the House floor today as members debate the CROWN Act, which aims to ban race-based hair discrimination.
The Milwaukee Dem’s spokeswoman Samara Sheff told WisPolitics.com Moore will preside over the chamber on the measure. It bans discrimination based on an individual’s texture or style of hair.
Wisconsin’s only Black congressional member last month in a floor speech said she has personally experienced race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and is seeking to make sure the same doesn’t happen to others.
See more on the bill:
Watch the floor speech:
— In this week’s Republican radio address: Sen. Joan Ballweg touts the passage of her bill into law allowing parents of children whose other parent has committed a sex-related crime to legally change their kids’ last names.
The Markesan Republican says after stories of manipulation, shame and expensive court
processes, she’s proud to have authored the bill allowing a parent to change the name of their child, who is 14 years or younger, if the other parent was convicted of a homicide or certain sex-related crimes.
“Wisconsin is full of great close-knit communities that offer high caliber education, opportunities for economic success and positive social connections,” she says. “No one should have to uproot their lives just to disassociate themselves with past trauma and begin to move forward.”
Listen to the address:
— In this week’s Democratic radio address, Sen. Melissa Agard says don’t let Republicans discourage you from voting.
The Madison Dem asks people not to be discouraged by reports of Republicans’ lawsuits. She also says people shouldn’t be discouraged by “their attempts to undermine election results, and the bills they passed that try and make it harder for people to vote, especially people with disabilities and individuals who live in nursing homes and other group settings.”
“My Democratic colleagues and I are proud to stand with Governor Evers to protect and defend the voting rights of all Wisconsinites and to ensure our elections are more accessible and inclusive – not more restrictive,” she says.
Listen to the address:
March 23: WisPolitics.com virtual luncheon with AG Josh Kaul
Join WisPolitics.com for a free virtual luncheon on Wednesday, March 23 with Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul to discuss top issues such as crime, election management, and environmental protection.
The luncheon goes from noon to 1 p.m.
The event will begin with a moderated discussion moving to questions that were submitted in advance by members of the audience.
This luncheon is sponsored by Husch Blackwell, American Family Insurance, Xcel Energy, Walmart, Anthem, and AARP Wisconsin.
REGISTER HERE: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeuLEAZFAaS-1nSH8-L92uYG7IB1de4V01XMLyfHiM9rRHY7g/viewform
‘That’s not leadership’: Evers criticizes Vos’ claims of election fraud
Evers addressed elections, shared revenue and public safety among other topics Thursday … at a WisPolitics event in Madison on Thursday. … “One of the most important facets of people participating in a democracy is voting. And if we make it more difficult for eligible people to vote, that’s a problem for me and I think it’s a problem for everybody. So I will be vetoing those bills that fall into that category,” Evers said. Evers also addressed local govt and shared revenue, blamed Legislature for cutting his budget, “The counties and municipalities, the townships of this state do the hard work, they do a lot of hard work. And they’ve been hamstrung by the state of Wisconsin. … If you want a more robust police force, if you want better violence prevention programs, that’s where the money comes from,” Evers said. “They should have increased shared revenue when they were in office. That’s the bottom line. They could have and they didn’t,” said $3.8B surplus makes their inaction more frustrating. … Speaking to a mostly unmasked audience, Evers said we have gotten to a place where we’re finally living with the virus because we made hard sacrifices. We saved lives. … “At the end of the day, they were the right decisions to make for our state,” Evers said. “This is a disease that has cost 12,000 Wisconsinites their lives. And so we did the right thing.” … acknowledged the long road to recovery [especially in] public schools … “It’s not something that we can just assume is going to happen by itself. There’s been time that’s been lost and when we have kids that are struggling mightily academically and otherwise, we need the resources, and we frankly need even more resources to make that happen,” Evers said. … Like every year, he has the Badgers going all the way [in NCAA]. “I believe they’re going to do it but it will be a long road to make it happen,” Evers said.
Evers prods Vos over baseless claims of widespread voter fraud
… “I think there was widespread fraud, and I think we are going to see more and more data that comes out” from the election review being led by GOP-backed attorney Michael Gableman, Vos said after the meeting Wednesday. … “I think he is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and I think this is one of the dumbest things he has ever said,” Evers said of Vos during a lunch event hosted by WisPolitics.com. … “That’s not leadership,” Evers said … “We want people, eligible people, to vote.” … said GOP lawmakers were “wrong” to “ratchet up the false narrative” that there was widespread fraud … Evers said he wants to “have an election about the issues.” Peddling claims of voter fraud, Evers said, is not a real issue. … Vos’ new claims of widespread voter fraud are baseless. Numerous lawsuits, recounts and a nonpartisan audit found no widespread fraud in Wisconsin’s presidential election.
Vos comes under fire from GOP, Dems for 2020 election comments
… [Evers at WisPolitics luncheon said Vos embracing widespread fraud only amplified calls for decertifying 2020 election,] “Robin Vos could end it today and say, ‘Gableman, go home. Stop your circus,'” Evers added. [But Vos continued to oppose decert, leading Trump to say,] “”Wrong! If you rob the diamonds from a jewelry store, if you get caught, you have to give the diamonds back, votes should be no different. There is so much fraud, as Vos knows, that this should be done quickly and easily,” cited Ramthun’s resolution. Reviews Ramthun ‘punch bullies in the nose’ remark about VOs, which Vos labeled “foolish.” Ramthun did not respond. Judge Lanford added WEC chair Jacobs, DOA CIO Zanow, WEC techie Linski to AG Kaul’s suit against Gableman subpoenas.
Ramthun says he wanted to punch Vos
… in an online interview posted on YouTube on Wednesday [over being asked to leave Vos’ closed-door meeting with Davis and decert advocates and opponents.] Ramthun has unsuccessfully tried to decertify Biden’s win, a move Vos opposes. * Ramthun interview: “It was the perfect opportunity to punch him right in the nose and say go pound sand, but I was concerned about the collateral damage. There’s only one way to treat a bully and that’s to punch him right back in the nose but in this case I couldn’t take the chance because he could have just ended it and say, ‘Fine I’m outta here’ and left. And then it would have been on me.” * Ramthun text Thu. walked it back: “I am not a violent person. I referenced nose punch in describing how most, if not all bullies, should be treated. It’s a common phrase, isn’t it?” * Trump statement also expressed disappointment Vos saw fraud but would not decert, “Speaker Vos should do the right thing and correct the Crime of the Century–immediately! It is my opinion that other states will be doing this, Wisconsin should lead the way!” * Evers at WisPolitics luncheon dubbed Vos’ actions “repugnant … When he’s getting all this crap from other people, he’s saying ‘There was widespread fraud and, by golly, I’d love to do something about that but I can’t.’ That’s not leadership. … I think he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and I think this is one of the dumbest things he’s ever said.” * Vos statement: “Rep. Ramthun says a lot of foolish things, this is one more on the list.” Reviews Biden’s win affirmed by recounts and lawsuits, WILL and LAB audits finding no broad fraud, 24 actual vote fraud charges in 2020, Gableman’s disproven nursing home turnout claim, Vos disciplining Ramthun, Ramthun/Kleefisch/Nicholson guv primary.
WEC chair joins lawsuit against Gableman subpoena
… [WEC chair Jacobs-D, a WEC tech services staffer and DOA CIO Zanow were all allowed to join WEC Admin. Wolfe and Voces in the lawsuit. They will be represented by [WDOJ]. During Thursday’s virtual hearing, DaneCo Judge Lanford rejected objections from attorneys representing Gableman, Speaker Vos and Elections Chair Brandtjen, “No case was cited by the defendants to support their position.”] … Gableman’s review has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. He earns $11,000 per month for his work, which a different Dane County judge recently said does not constitute a thorough “investigation.” AG Kaul brought the suit in October. In January, Lanford declined to injunct the subpoenas, but warned Gableman against enforcing them before the case had been decided on the merits. Gableman recently delivered 136-page interim report, having blown Oct. 31 and Dec. 31 deadlines. Speaker Vos extended Gableman’s contract until April 30, in part to resolve pending suits, though this case alone could require further extension. Vos said in February that Gableman’s lawsuits — especially one seeking to jail Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and other officials — should continue to help outline the Legislature’s authority going forward. The 2022 midterm elections will be held in a little more than seven months, on Nov. 8.
SOS Doug La Follette to seek reelection in 2022
Longtime state official was first elected in 1974 … [during less than 5 min. Capitol presser in front of “Fighting Bob” bust, said GOP push to put election duties into his office] factored into his decision to run again. “Two years ago, I might have made a different decision,” La Follette said. “But now, with the integrity of this office at risk, many people have urged me to consider running for reelection. … said it would be a mistake to … put elections in the hands of an elected office. “Recently, think of all the secretary of states from Georgia to Arizona to Michigan who had people putting pressure on them to change elections,” La Follette said. Loudenbeck, Schmidtka, Schroeder and Becker seek the GOP nomination. Loudenbeck is pushing for election duties, “Regardless of how one feels about the results of the 2020 elections, enough questions have been raised about the process and gridlock at the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) to justify a hard look at including the Secretary of State in election oversight as this Constitutional office is directly accountable to the voters.”
As he wraps up tenure, TGT hopes UW System seen as ‘the problem-solvers’
… Though his … statewide promise program to cover tuition for low-income students at all UW campuses — never got off the ground … Thompson brought swift and ambitious changes that went beyond reacting to problems. … a $10M budget cut to the central office, reinvesting the savings into scholarships and college advising … turned campuses into COVID vaccination hubs, and appeared in humorous videos [“Smash COVID!”] on social media to encourage vaccines. … “The Legislature was really hard to deal with,” Thompson told reporters Thursday. “I’ve changed the attitude in the Legislature. Didn’t get everything I wanted by any stretch of the imagination, but I certainly have improved the relationships with the Legislature because I was a member of the body for 20 years.” … encouraged system leaders to keep “bragging” about the UW System. “We’re not a problem,” he said. “We’re the problem-solvers.” … wants [incoming prez] Rothman, to continue the push for expanded online education options, and for a statewide commission that would look at the structure and future of higher education in the state. Has he decided to run for guv? “I made a commitment (that) I’m not going to be partisan at all while I’m president of the university and I’ve adhered to that solidly,” he said. “I’m not going to break the promise when I’ve only got 48 hours left to be president.”
Alex Lasry reintroduces himself to voters in bid for U.S. Senate
… “We’re actually building these relationships with voters,” Lasry said. “We don’t want to just go one place for a photo op. We want to go places a number of times to really develop that trust in that relationship. … We’re making sure that we’re giving a consistent message to the people of Wisconsin that we’re going to be able to deliver for them. And that’s what we’ve been doing with our direct mail, our TV ads, our digital ads and travel. We’re making sure that we’re giving a consistent message to the people of Wisconsin that we’re going to be able to deliver for them. … we’ve raised more money than any candidate in this race so far and we’ve said from the beginning that this is going to be a campaign that is funded by grassroots donors and by the people of Wisconsin. And I’m also going to make sure that I invest because the one thing I think we all agree with, is that we want to make sure that the Republicans aren’t going to outgun us on resources. … I’ve actually worked in some of the highest levels of politics. But not being a politician, I think, is actually a strength. I think what people are looking for are non-politicians who can go and actually deliver. … It’s why Tammy [Baldwin] is so popular here. And I think people want to make sure that we’re able to bring a partner for Tammy Baldwin and to deliver some real change and real results for the people of Wisconsin.” More on Lasry’s background, refutes ‘trust fund baby’ remark, you can’t choose your parents, “But I did have a choice of where I was going to live,” he said. “And when I had a choice of where to live, I’ve lived the vast majority of my adult life — other than my time at the White House — here in Wisconsin.” * MU Law pollster Franklin noted NBA execs aren’t well known, “They don’t score very many points after all. … Someone in Lasry’s case, who has not run for office before, he needs to introduce himself to voters. And if he’s got the money to do that, which he clearly has, it can have some effect.” * RPW’s Kelly: “Alex Lasry is a New York trust fund baby who wants to buy Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat.”
Evers isn’t endorsing any candidates in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate
… gave a simple “no” when asked Thursday at a WisPolitics.com luncheon … “As the elected leader of the Democratic Party, that’d be wrong,” Evers said. “I know a lot of those people. They’re all good people. And so, we look forward to a robust primary and having somebody be actively campaigning to beat the present U.S. senator.” … “Mandela Barnes knows that as the leader of the party, Governor Evers cannot get involved in the primary,” said a statement from Maddy McDaniel, a Barnes’ campaign spokeswoman. “He looks forward to continuing their great relationship throughout the campaign and is committed to doing everything he can to support the Governor’s re-election.”
– 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Wisconsin Women in Conservation webinar on supporting mental health.
– 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: WisPolitics.com luncheon with Gov. Tony Evers. The Madison Club, Madison.
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