Madison, Dane County

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Which State Legislative and Statewide Candidates on the November 4th Ballot Support Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform?



Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update
Tuesday - August 19, 2014


1. 55 Candidates for the Wisconsin Legislature and Statewide Office On the November Ballot Support the Iowa Plan to End Gerrymandering in Wisconsin

2. Editorial Says "Now is the Time to Push Candidates to Support Redistricting Reform" Citing CC/WI's' Aggressive Advocacy on the issue

3. More Than Half of the 99 Candidates for the State Assembly Face No Major Party Opposition This Fall

4. Libertarian candidates making non-partisan redistricting reform a major campaign issue

5. Recent Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision on Voter Photo ID Causes Confusion



1. Over the past two years CC/WI has pushed hard for non-partisan redistricting reform to be in place in Wisconsin by 2021. This Summer we began trying to elevate ending partisan gerrymandering as a campaign issue this year and have been challenging candidates to proactively contact us to express their support for the "Iowa Plan." Now that the August 12th primary election has come and gone, CC/WI is beginning to push those candidates – up for election on the November 4th ballot – to support non-partisan redistricting reform. We have posted the updated list of supporters on our website where you can check back often to see who has been added to the list.

You can play an important role in pushing candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform by contacting them and telling them to contact CC/WI by email or by phone (608-256-2686 and leave a message if no answer) to get on the list.



2. The Capital Times of Madison has been a tremendous supporter of our efforts to elevate the non-partisan redistricting reform issue and last week published this excellent editorial urging that this issue be kept front and center this Fall when looking at which candidates to support for statewide public office and for the state legislature. Please read it and then press your candidates to support the Iowa Plan.





3. It is downright shocking and sad that less than half of the 99 Assembly seats that will be decided on November 4th have two major party candidates for voters to choose from. WKOW-TV (Channel 27), the ABC affiliate in Madison featured this story late last week with CC/WI commentary on how gerrymandering is undermining democracy in Wisconsin.



4. The only Republican legislative candidate who contacted CC/WI in support of ending partisan gerrymandering thus far, lost in last week's primary election. Conservative Republican Bryn Biemeck had challenged Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) the most vociferous proponent of the current hyper-partisan, expensive (to taxpayers), secretive and indefensible current redistricting process. Meanwhile, three Libertarian candidates have contacted CC/WI in support of the Iowa Plan. They are the Libertarian candidate for Governor, Robert Burke, for Secretary of State, Andy Craig and for State Representative in the 51st Assembly District, Adam Laufenberg who issued this press release in support of the Iowa Plan yesterday.



5. The Capital Times recently published this opinion-editorial by CC/WI Director Jay Heck and national Common Cause research analyst Jay Riestenberg on the Wisconsin Supreme Court's confusing, recently-issued opinion upholding Wisconsin's extreme and restrictive voter photo ID law enacted in 2011.

Fortunately, a federal court decision striking down this ill-advised and unconstitutional law prevails over the Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling and it is likely that there will be no photo ID requirement in place for the November 4th election.





CONTACT:
Jay Heck

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




Jay Heck, Executive Director
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, August 14, 2014

State Rep. Scott Walker Introduced Bill Requiring All Out-Of-State Groups to Report Source of Funds



For Release: Thursday - August 14, 2014

State Rep. Scott Walker Introduced Bill Requiring All
Out-Of-State Groups to Report Source of Funds


Sometimes it's good to be a pack rat. In sorting through the CC/WI office recently, we came across a press release from then-State Representative Scott Walker (R-Wauwatosa) proposing that all out-of-state groups that spend money in Wisconsin elections disclose where those funds came from. He strongly supported the type of full disclosure of the donors of outside money that Wisconsin has needed for two decades.

While back in 1997, State Rep. Walker strongly supported electioneering disclosure, Governor Walker has been much less supportive. In fact, he and his allies have been major impediments to providing information voters need about who is behind the millions of dollars being spent in Wisconsin elections – particularly in gubernatorial elections.

Governor Walker could learn something from State Representative Walker.

Below, verbatim, is the March, 1997 Walker press release on his disclosure legislation. Needless to say, it didn't get very far back then and that's a major reason we have so much secret money in Wisconsin today.








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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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One Candidate for Governor and 51 Other Candidates Endorse Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform



For Release: Tuesday - August 5, 2014

One Candidate for Governor and 51 Other Candidates Endorse
Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform

Burke (not Mary, but the Other One, Robert) and Vos' GOP Primary Opponent Among Those Who Contacted CC/WI


Just five days ago, only a dozen statewide or state legislative candidates up for election this August or November had bothered to take the time and make the effort to inform Common Cause in Wisconsin of their support for non-partisan redistricting reform based on Iowa's 34-year-old widely-acclaimed and successful non-partisan redistricting process.

But since July 30th, additional 40 candidates have contacted CC/WI – boosting the total up to 52 as of this morning. Included in that total are Robert Burke, the Libertarian candidate for Governor and Republican Bryn Biemeck of Mount Pleasant (who is challenging Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in the GOP Primary Election on August 12th). Two additional Libertarian candidates and 48 Democratic candidates have pro-actively contacted us as well so far.

To see the constantly-being-updated list of candidates who have contacted CC/WI telling us they support the "Iowa Plan" for Wisconsin during this election season, go here.

If you are a candidate who supports non-partisan redistricting reform, but have not yet pro-actively told us so, send us an email, call 608-256-2686 (leave a message if no answer) or write to us at CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597. You will then be added to this list.

One of the reasons we need non-partisan redistricting reform is because we believe legislators elected under such a process will be more responsive to their voters and pay attention to their concerns. If they occupy an utterly safe seat, legislators don't have to be and often are not. This is, in part, an exercise to see which candidates are paying attention!

Stay tuned for new additions to the list!

For our July 24th and July 30th releases on this "challenge to candidates" on this issue, go here and here, respectively.

Go here for an excellent, recent editorial in The Capital Times on the CC/WI challenge (written when there were 22 respondents).





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




Updated at 7:15 AM on 8-5-2014

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Dozen Legislative and Statewide Candidates Have Told CC/WI of Their Support for Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform Thus Far



For Release: Wednesday - July 30, 2014


Last Thursday, Common Cause in Wisconsin challenged candidates of all political parties to contact us if they support establishing a non-partisan redistricting process for Wisconsin to be in place for the next time redistricting occurs – in 2021. The reform, based on our neighboring state of Iowa's highly successful and respected 34-year-old redistricting process, would still give the Wisconsin Legislature the final say on the new district boundaries, but they would actually be drawn by the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau, without partisan political considerations. This would serve the best interests of citizens rather than those of the partisan legislative leaders, which is the case now. Legislators could vote up or down on the LRB-drawn maps, but without interference or amendment.

This reform, which was embodied in the 2013-2014 legislative session in Assembly Bill 185 and Senate Bill 163, was the most widely-supported and written-about political reform in Wisconsin over the past two years and had the editorial support of an unprecedented 19 Wisconsin daily newspapers.

Non-partisan redistricting reform is, and should be, an issue voters consider in the 2014 elections.

Thus far, 12 state legislative and statewide candidates have contacted us indicating their support for the "Iowa Plan." This is as much an exercise in seeing who is paying attention as it is in finding out who supports this common sense reform. Any candidate – including incumbent legislators running for re-election who may have been co-sponsors of AB 185 or Senate Bill 163 – must proactively contact us by email, by phone 608/256-2686 (leave a message if no answer) or by a simple sentence or two letter to CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597.

As of today, here is the list of supporters.

We are making this listing available to all Wisconsin citizens and to the statewide media, and will be updating it as new supporters contact us.

So pay attention!




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...


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Which State Legislative and Statewide Candidates Support Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform?



Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update
Thursday - July 24, 2014





CONTACT:
Jay Heck – 608/256-2686





1. Check Here to See Which Candidates for State Public Office Support Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform for the 2014 Elections. (Candidates must contact us to be listed.)

2. Governor Walker and His Allies Continue to Try to Mislead Voters and Obfuscate the Facts in the Two-Year-Old "John Doe" Criminal Investigation

3. Candidates Refusal to Participate in Issues Forum Proves Why Wisconsin Needs More Competitive Elections and an End to Partisan Gerrymandering





1. During the 2013-2014 Legislative Session, non-partisan redistricting reform emerged as the leading political reform initiative in the media and among citizens throughout Wisconsin. CC/WI helped unite pro-reform legislators behind a single measure – Assembly Bill 185 and Senate Bill 163 – that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 34-year-old redistricting process that takes the partisan politics out of redistricting and delegates the boundary-drawing to a non-partisan state entity that does not utilize partisan political considerations in their task.

This issue received the unprecedented endorsement of 19 Wisconsin daily newspaper editorial boards and thousands of citizens expressed their support for ending gerrymandering in letters to editors, communications to legislators and by attending one of six "reform forums" CC/WI organized over 2013-2014 in Beloit, Whitewater, Stevens Point, Madison, Eau Claire and Racine.

While the legislative leadership opposed this reform and refused to hold even a public hearing during the legislative session, redistricting reform will be very much an issue during the upcoming election season.

Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" and would like to see their name listed here should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email or by letter: CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597. Citizens can urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list. Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site. Even incumbent legislators running for re-election who co-sponsored AB 185/SB163 during the last legislative session must contact us to be on the list.

We will update the list constantly and will have a tab near the top of our website for anyone to check to see who is on it and therefore in support of the Iowa Plan.



2. For two years, until this May, Governor Scott Walker's 2012 campaign has been under active criminal investigation for possible illegal coordination with outside spending groups such as Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. In May, Federal Judge Rudolph Randa halted the investigation, but his flawed and hyper-partisan decision is under appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago.

Writer and legal counsel Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy has written a sensational series of articles this month on these legal and political machinations and has consulted with CC/WI for our take on this critical and still very relevant issue that will ultimately determine whether or not Wisconsin's remaining campaign finance laws will survive or be eviscerated altogether – which Governor Walker and his allies seem determined to do. These articles are a must read for anyone who cares about honest, accountable state government and politics in Wisconsin:

McCutcheon’s Supreme Cynicism
- July 7, 2014

Exclusive: After Subpoenas in Walker Criminal Probe, WI GOP Sought to Quietly Change Law

- July 15, 2014

WI GOP Endorses Basis for Walker Criminal Probe
- July 23, 2014




3. Our friends at the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin scheduled an issues forum in the 6th Congressional District for citizens to come hear and find out about the four candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives to replace 36-year-old incumbent, Congressman Tom Petri of Fond du Lac. Two of the candidates, State Senators Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) refused to participate in the debate because they were at odds with the LWV-WI's warranted opposition to Wisconsin's extreme and unconstitutional voter photo ID law (Act 23).

Grothman and Leibham were trying to "out right wing" each other to pander to the ultra-conservative activist base. The 6th Congressional District is a "safe" Republican district, in part due to gerrymandering, and so Grothman and Leibham feel they do not have to participate or even engage with a non-partisan organization like the League, because they would likely not suffer any serious adverse political consequences. Instead, the election becomes even more polarizing.

Bill Barth
, the conservative editorial page editor of the Beloit Daily News, captured perfectly, exactly what is wrong with this entire situation, in this recent editorial.




Jay Heck, Executive Director
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...