Commentary: The Real Job Crisis in Wisconsin

The real crisis in the U.S. labor market is not, as we keep hearing, that there are not enough people who can work. The real crisis is all the working-age people on the sidelines, not even looking for a job. Yes, the unemployment rate is low, but that statistic covers only people who have looked for a job in the last four weeks. The labor force participation rate, which measures the share of working age people working or at least looking for work, shows a long-term decline, particularly for men without a college degree, and especially in states like Wisconsin. When able-bodied men are not even looking for work, a host of social problems ensue — from crime, to drug addiction, to family breakdown. 

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Evers Administration Blames Worker Shortage, Lack of Money for Occupational License Backlog

Wisconsin’s professional licensing department is blaming a lack of employees as well as a lack of money for the months-long delay in getting people their paperwork to go back to work.

The legislature’s Study Committee on Occupational Licensing held a daylong meeting Tuesday where lawmakers pressed Department of Safety and Professional Services leaders, the latter who essentially blamed lawmakers.

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Wisconsin Counties Turn Attention to Fentanyl Crisis

Two communities in southeast Wisconsin are looking to do more about fentanyl.

Waukesha County on Monday declared a community health crisis over the spike in fentanyl deaths, while Washington County said it will ask voters to okay a new anti-crime task force to keep the drug out of schools.

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New Questions Surround Possible Wisconsin Nursing Home Voting Violations

There are new questions about the opportunity for voter fraud in Wisconsin.

The Thomas More Society this week released its findings into people who are under “no vote” guardianship orders in the state. Those orders come from a judge after someone has been found “incapable of understanding the objective of the elective process,” according to state law.

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Wisconsin Senate Leader Warns Elections Commission over Ballot Curing

The top Republican in the Wisconsin Senate is warning the state’s Elections Commission about its new rule for filling out ballots.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, on Thursday said the Elections Commission needs to follow the state law on ballot curing.

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Wisconsin Gov. Evers Warns That If Republican Wins in November, GOP Could Overturn State Elections

Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wis.) warned supporters this week if he is not re-elected this November, oversight of elections in his state could be at risk of being turned over to state lawmakers.

“We will see elections change to the point where the Legislature makes the final decision and that should scare the living crap out of everybody in this room,” said Evers at a campaign stop in the capital city of Madison.

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Wisconsin Democrats Condemn, Republicans Celebrate End of Roe

The reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and the end of abortion in Wisconsin is clear and split by political party.

Wisconsin is one of nearly two dozen states where abortion is now illegal because Roe is no more as a result of its decision in the case, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  

Republican leaders at the Wisconsin Capitol celebrated the 6-3 SCOTUS decision.

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New Audit Finds Millions in Accounting Mistakes at Injured Patients Compensation Fund

State auditors are once again criticizing Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for millions of dollars in accounting mistakes in the state’s fund for medical malpractice claims.

The Legislative Audit Bureau on Tuesday released a report into the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund for the past three years. The audit found several, repeated accounting mistakes that overstated or understated the fund’s finances, including a $60.9 million mistake for the last two years.

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Wisconsin Republicans Refuse to Endorse a Candidate for Governor During Convention Amid Growing Criticism of GOP Establishment

During their annual convention on Saturday, Wisconsin Republicans for the first time rejected a long-standing tradition to endorse a candidate in the primary race for governor. A candidate in Wisconsin needs 60 percent of the vote to win the party’s endorsement. The exercise is meant to signal to voters which candidates are most competitive, and determine which candidate will receive party funds for the rest of the primary and general election.

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Wisconsin Department of Health Services Recommends Masks Again for High Coronavirus Counties

Wisconsin’s public health managers are once again recommending masks for some people in the state.

The state’s Department of Health Services on Tuesday said people in the seven counties that currently have high COVID-19 community levels should wear masks inside once again.

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Republicans Criticize New University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor, Threaten University of Wisconsin Funding

Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol are not happy with the new choice for chancellor at UW-Madison.

Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, who is the vice chairman of the Senate’s committee for universities and technical colleges, called  Dr. Jennifer Mnookin a “ridiculous choice.”

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Wisconsin Nurses: Gov. Evers Sided with Hospitals over Patients

Nurses in Wisconsin say Gov. Tony Evers is making it harder for folks in rural parts of the state to get care.

Evers last month vetoed a proposed law that would have allowed advanced practice nurses to work more independently. Advanced practice nurses currently can provide care, but need to collaborate with a doctor.

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Wisconsin Bird Flu Outbreak Confirmed in 11 Counties

Another 66,000 birds in Wisconsin were put down because of the bird flu this week.

The state’s Department of Agriculture on Thursday said cases were confirmed in Sauk and Pierce counties. New cases were also confirmed in Barron County, which now has the most cases of the bird flu in the state at five.

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Wisconsin State Superintendent Again Defends Teaching of Race, Class, and Gender

The top teacher in Wisconsin says it is important for all kids in Wisconsin to learn from the author who wants to “upend mainstream ideas about race, class, and gender.”

State Superintendent JIll Underly on Monday responded to Sen. Chris Kapenga’s letter full of questions about a Critical Race Theory author and activist who spoke to teachers in the state back in February.

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Marquette Law School Poll: Voters Have More Trust in 2022 Election

Voters in Wisconsin are beginning to regain trust in the state’s electoral process.

The latest Marquette Law School Poll shows 76% of Republicans and 96% of Democrats said they trusted the results of the April election. Just 67% of independent voters said the same thing.

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Wisconsin 2020 Election Investigation to Continue

Robin Vos

The investigation into Wisconsin’s 2020 election won’t end until lawmakers are certain about the legal authority to issue subpoenas by the state’s special investigator.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Tuesday issued a statement explaining why he is extending former Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman’s special investigation once again.

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Wisconsin Senators Preach Patience at Medical Marijuana Hearing

No one is going to be completely happy with whatever Wisconsin’s new medical marijuana legislation looks like.

Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, the woman driving the new push for medical pot made that promise on Wednesday as she asked marijuana supporters to be patient with lawmakers.

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Evers’ Broadband Veto Riles Rural Wisconsin Republicans

A disagreement over who should get free access to high speed internet in some parts of Wisconsin likely means no one is getting a new connection anytime soon.

Gov. Tony Evers last week vetoed SB 365, which would have expanded high speed internet service in rural parts of the state.

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Commentary: Wisconsin’s Zuckerbucks Report Is a Call to Action on Election Integrity

In 2020, under the guise of providing funds to help election officials overcome the challenges of COVID-19, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funneled more than $10 million into Wisconsin, with $8.5 million strategically targeting just five cities. While this money was originally marketed as funds to be used for purchasing personal protective equipment, these funds — coined “Zuckerbucks” — were primarily used to drive procedural changes and get-out-the-vote efforts that benefited the Left.

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Milwaukee Officials Face Zuckerberg-Related Election Bribery Lawsuit

Cavalier Johnson and Mark Zucckerberg

Three Milwaukee, Wisconsin, officials face accusations of illegally taking “Zuck Bucks” to facilitate voting by purchasing absentee ballot drop boxes, among other things, according to a lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Society.

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Wisconsin’s Minimum Mark-Up Law Not Helping with Gas Prices

The average price of gas in Wisconsin is over $4.00 per gallon and rising, but it’s not just the war in Ukraine that’s keeping prices in the state high.

Will Flanders with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty wrote an open letter Thursday asking Gov. Tony Evers to roll back the state’s minimum markup law as a way to help drivers better afford gas.

“[Minimum markup] requires that retailers increase the price of their gas by 9.18% over what they pay at wholesale. This means that gas stations are required to pass on price increases to consumers,” Flanders wrote.

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Wisconsin State Rep. Timothy Ramthun Talks to Steve Bannon About His Resolution and Hearing on Election Fraud

Timothy Ramthun

Tuesday morning on War Room: Battleground, host Bannon welcomed State Rep. Tim Ramthun from Wisconsin’s 59th district to describe his resolution and hearing next week proving alleged election fraud.

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President Joe Biden Set to Visit Wisconsin

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Superior, Wisconsin, on Wednesday to tout the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

According to the White House, the visit will focus on the effects of the legislation, including the advancement of “good-paying union jobs.”

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Fiscal Report: Wisconsin’s Tax Burden Down $22 Billion Since 2011

Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol are pointing to another report as proof their policies are working.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu on Wednesday released a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau that shows Wisconsin’s tax burden has fallen by $22 billion since 2011.

“In 2010, Wisconsin had the 5th highest tax burden in the nation. Residents were sending far too much of their earnings to Madison. On top of high taxes, the state had a $3.6 billion structural deficit, no Rainy Day Fund, and businesses were leaving in droves,” LeMahieu said.

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Trump Blasts Pence’s Claims About January 6: Vice Presidency Not an ‘Automatic Conveyor Belt for Old Crow Mitch McConnell to Get Biden Elected President’

Former President Donald Trump released a blistering attack Friday afternoon on former Vice President Mike Pence’s claims earlier in the day about the January 6, 2021 Joint Session of Congress over which Pence presided at which Electoral College votes submitted by the states were counted.

In a speech before the Florida Chapter of the Federalist Society in Orlando on Friday, Pence asserted, “There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election.’ President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.” (emphasis added)

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Commentary: Wisconsin Consumers Will Be Shocked by Their Electric Bills If Lawmakers Insist on Pushing New Energy Legislation

With Wisconsinites increasingly worried about inflation and rising energy costs, you’d think state officials would be acting to alleviate the situation, not make it worse. But if legislation recently filed in Wisconsin goes into effect, residents may be in for another shock when they get their electric bills. The legislation would change the way electric transmission lines are built and operated in the state, eliminating competition and driving up costs for consumers to benefit a few established monopolies.

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Republicans Pitch Medical Marijuana Plan, Pot Supporters Balk

The latest pitch for legalized marijuana in Wisconsin is getting a sour reception from marijuana supporters at the State Capitol.

Republican Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Tomahawk, and Rep. Patrick Snyder, R- Schofield, on Wednesday introduced legislation that would create a new medical marijuana program.

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Analysis: Wisconsin Among the Top Governor’s Races to Watch This Year

Democrats four years ago rode a blue wave to governors’ mansions across the country, flipping Republican-held seats in the Midwest, Northeast and West alike.

Now, however, many of those governors face Republican challengers amid a political environment that looks potentially promising for the GOP, meaning that contentious races may lie ahead in some of the nation’s most pivotal battleground states. Republicans have already had two strong showings in states that lean Democratic, flipping the governor’s seat in Virginia and coming surprisingly close in New Jersey, a state that voted for President Joe Biden by 16 points in 2020.

Governors in less competitive states are also facing primary challengers from the left and right, making for multiple bitter, closely-followed primaries between candidates from different wings of the same party.

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Trump Confidant Kerik Surrenders Memos to January 6 Panel, Vows to ‘Eviscerate’ Democrat Narrative

Then-President Donald Trump’s team assembled a 10-day pressure campaign in December 2020 hoping to shame governors and state legislators into officially investigating allegations of Election 2020 irregularities, according to memos newly turned over to Congress by former New York Police Commissioner and Trump confidant Bernard Kerik.

The strategy called for “protests” at governors’ mansions and the homes of politicians ranging from secretaries of states to “weak” congressional members in key battleground states, the memos show.

The documents, turned over Friday night under subpoena to the House’s Jan. 6 commission, are remarkable in part because they show the primary focus of the Trump team leading up to the Jan. 6 certification of the 2020 vote – an event that turned violent when pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol – was to get “support for hearings” to probe allegations of voting irregularities Trump’s team had received but not vetted.

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Wisconsin District Admits at Least One Student ‘Accessed Inappropriate Content’ on School-Issued iPad

A Wisconsin school district walked back its original claim, admitting that one student did access “inappropriate content,” according to a statement from the district provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Following a report in November of a misconfiguration of Securly on our KG-1st grade iPads when used at home, the District has concluded its investigation that revealed only one device out of 1,200 iPads accessed inappropriate content,” according to an email from Elmbrook Public Relations that was sent to families and staff Wednesday. “We appreciate the parent who brought this to our attention and our technology team’s fast response to resolve the problem before it became a bigger concern.”

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Commentary: An Overview of the 2022 Election Cycle

"VOTE ONE MORE TIME" sign on an electric pole in Atlanta, Georgia

It is now less than a year to the 2022 elections, with this, more stories about the midterms are developing. Below are the latest updates.

State

In California, Progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin will face a recall. Conservatives have tapped into anger over his decisions not to prosecute certain cases. Meanwhile, CA Governor Gavin Newsom is facing controversy over his lack of public appearances.

In Wisconsin, Republicans are continuing their 2020 election audit, even amidst criticism that the audit is too partisan and unruly. Republican Senator Ron Johnson is set to decide in the next few weeks over whether he will seek re-election

In New Jersey, Powerful Democratic State Senate President Stephen Sweeney has conceded in his race for re-election. Sweeney’s race caused national headlines because it was so shocking.

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Democratic Kingmaker Clyburn to Endorse Top Party Challenger for Wisconsin GOP Johnson’s Senate Seat

South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburn has reportedly given his all-important endorsement to a party candidate running for the seat of Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson.

Clyburn will endorse Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Gendorse Mandela Barnes, according to the Daily Beast.

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Poll: Wisconsin Gov. Evers, Sen. Johnson Underwater with Likely Voters

The latest Marquette Law School Poll says both Gov. Tony Evers and Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson would lose their elections if voters went to the polls today.

The poll released Wednesday shows Johnson, who has had low approval ratings for years, remains in the polling doldrums.

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University of Wisconsin System to Require Vaccines to Meet Federal Contractor Rules

The University of Wisconsin System doesn’t want to lose its federal grant money, so everyone who works there is going to have to get vaccinated.

UW President Tommy Thompson on Wednesday said the school will comply with President Biden’s mandate that all federal contractors require their employees to be vaccinated.

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Wisconsin Republicans Release New Political Map, Look to Retain Majorities

Wisconsin’s new political map doesn’t look much different from the current map.

Republicans released their iteration of the Wisconsin districting map Wednesday. The new map maintains Republican majorities in both the State Assembly and the State Senate. It would also give Republicans an advantage in most of the state’s congressional districts.

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Commentary: The First Step to Rightsizing Education Spending Is Reforming Teacher Pensions

In the past year, Congress has rushed more than $204 billion in federal emergency funds to states to support K-12 schools. 

But 23 states had fewer incoming students this fall. This declining enrollment is likely in part due to pandemic-related trends but is also a symptom of changing birth rates and families geographically relocating.

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Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson Sponsors Bill That Would Ban Vaccine Mandates

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson unveiled new legislation Wednesday that would block federal vaccine mandates by utilizing the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Johnson was joined by some of his colleagues from the House and Senate who wish to co-sponsor the bill.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court to Take Redistricting Case

Wisconsin Supreme Court

There could be two different court-drawn political maps in Wisconsin. The state’s Supreme Court late Wednesday agreed to take up a redistricting case that could result in the court drawing the state’s new boundaries for Congress and the state legislature.

The decision comes just one day after a federal court in Madison essentially said it would draw the new political map if lawmakers and Gov. Tony Evers can’t agree.

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