Monday, January 9, 2017

We Need You to Help End Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin!



For Release: Monday - January 9, 2017


In November, a federal three-judge panel declared Wisconsin's 2011 Republican redistricting process (gerrymander) unconstitutional essentially because of the hyper-partisan, secretive manner in which it effectively disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters.

The Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) could rule on the case this year, but in the meantime, two former Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leaders have argued that the federal court should redraw the state legislative boundaries now, rather than wait for the SCOTUS decision. We agree. The Court should heed the wise words of Dale Schultz, a Republican from Richland Center and Democrat Tim Cullen of Janesville, who also serves on the CC/WI State Governing Board. Read their excellent op-ed on the matter.

Even if SCOTUS takes the case and a federal court is ordered to redraw the state legislative district boundaries for 2018, the temporary correction will only be in place through the 2020 election. Then the decennial Census will occur (as it does every ten years), and legislative and congressional districts will be redrawn again in 2021 to reflect the changes in population.

The overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites do not want to see partisan politicians – with their self-centered, partisan selfish interests – controlling the redistricting process in 2021 as they did in 2011. Both former Senators Schultz and Cullen, Common Cause in Wisconsin and the entire reform community and virtually every pro-redistricting reform legislator is united behind a proposal that will shortly be introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature by State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). The proposal is modeled after the highly-respected, effective non-partisan redistricting process that has been the law in our neighboring state of Iowa since 1980.

Senator Hansen's press release on the legislation is here and the legislative proposal itself can be examined here.

It is very important that you act now, or within the next several days and demand that both your State Senator and your State Representative co-sponsor and strongly support the "Iowa Model" redistricting reform legislation being introduced very soon by Hansen. Tell them to call Sen. Hansen's office (608-266-5670) and add their name as a co-sponsor of the legislation immediately. Again, contact both your State Senator and your State Representative. If you are not sure who your State Senator and/or your State Representative is go here.

Here is another way you can help advance ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin during the new state legislative session. If you have not done so already, please sign our Petition in support of the Iowa Model legislation, which we will present to the Legislature when the legislation has been formally introduced in both the State Senate and Assembly and we begin pressing for a public hearing. If you have already signed the petition, please get members of your family, friends and like-minded citizens to sign it as well. We currently have more than 2,200 signatures and would like to boost that total up considerably, if possible!

We can make this much-needed reform happen in Wisconsin if citizens press and force their legislators and the legislative leadership to make it happen. This requires all of us to do our part and make our voices heard!





CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



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Monday, December 12, 2016

Ethics Commissioner Robert Kinney's Resignation Underscores Failings of the Newly-Partisan State Agency



For Release: Monday - December 12, 2016



Retired judge Robert E. Kinney, a member of the six-member Wisconsin Ethics Commission, resigned this morning citing a lack of commitment on the part of some of the Commissioners to upholding open and ethical state government, excessive secrecy, and a lack of transparency in the proceedings of the commission.

It is very sad and unfortunate for Wisconsin to be losing Kinney's voice of integrity and impartiality, but not surprising. The partisan Ethics Commission, which commenced activity this past July – replacing the respected, effective non-partisan Government Accountability Board which was destroyed by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Scott Walker late in 2015 – was designed to fail.

Incredibly, in August, members of the Commission defeated Kinney's proposal that Ethics Commissioners should be prohibited from making campaign contributions to the very candidates and elected officials they are charged with overseeing with matters related to campaign finance law. Kinney's disillusionment has grown since then, leading to his recent unfortunate but principled resignation.

Wisconsin needs more upstanding public servants like Judge Kinney, not less. This should serve as a stark reminder to citizens about the deteriorating state of ethical, honest and transparent practices in Wisconsin's state government over the past number of years – and the need to halt and reverse this trend before matters become irreparable and beyond redemption.

Judge Kinney's resignation statement should be read by everyone who cares about good, honest and accountable state government and ethics.




CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



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Thursday, December 1, 2016

In the News - December 2016




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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Federal Court Rules 2011 State Legislative District Maps are Unconstitutional




For Release: Tuesday - November 22, 2016

Statement of Common Cause in Wisconsin Director Jay Heck on
Federal Court Ruling That


Wisconsin's 2011 Gerrymandering
of State Legislative Districts is Unconstitutional


On Monday, a federal 3-judge court panel issued an unprecedented decision that is a huge victory for all of those voters of Wisconsin who want and deserve a real choice in their elections and a system of redrawing state legislative districts after each Census in a non-partisan, transparent and reputable process.

Never before in the nation's history has partisan gerrymandering been struck down as unconstitutional.


Yesterday, that standard changed for the betterment of democracy – not just in Wisconsin, but nationally.

For more on this significant and hopeful development go here and here.

Forward!




CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



Read More...