Friday, February 17, 2023

Gov. Tony Evers Pushes 12 Weeks Paid Family Leave (WI GOP Pooh-Pooh's the Idea)

Marco Verch Professional Photographer/Flickr

It has absolutely no chance of passing the Republican-led state legislature.

But it bears repeating that Gov. Tony Evers (D) is actually looking out for the people of Wisconsin.

As part of his state budget proposal, Evers is proposing policies that actually aim to help Wisconsin families, including for parents who deserve bonding time with their infant children in the months after they're born.

From The Cap Times:

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed two-year budget, released Wednesday, would implement paid family and medical leave for public- and private-sector employees...


Evers’ budget would make 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave available to employees in the private and public sectors starting Jan. 1, 2025. Private-sector benefits would be funded by employer and employee contributions to a trust fund, which would be created with $243 million in one-time seed money from the state. The governor’s office said the program would pay for itself by 2026.

Republicans are already scoffing at the idea, derailing it from the start and somehow claiming it's unnecessary.

From The AP:

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said Feb. 16 that it was "very doubtful" Republicans would support Evers' plan…

LeMahieu also tried to falsely claim we've got it great here in Wisconsin, compared to other states:

LeMahieu said Feb. 16 that Wisconsin's family and leave laws are already "above and beyond what the federal standard is." But that's not the case in most scenarios. Federal law offers Wisconsin workers up to 12 weeks of leave each year, as opposed to an 8-week maximum under state law.

WI Spring Race for State Sup. Ct. Is for "All the Marbles," Including Democracy Itself

 Via Joseph:

Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much in Wisconsin, the nation’s most important and arguably its most polarized swing state. But they agree that their state’s ongoing Supreme Court election is the most important in a generation.

Among a number of issues that the race will affect: abortion rights/access, union protections, and democracy itself — and not just in Wisconsin, but in the U.S. overall.

Both the head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and a veteran GOP strategist in the state say the race is "for all the marbles," Vice noted. 

Daderot/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The 4-3 conservative-leaning balance in the state could shift to a 4-3 liberal balance, if one of two candidates — Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Judge Janet Protasiewicz or Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell — advance in the primary race next week and win in April against one of two hardline, far-right nominees. That's important for a number of reasons.

One of the biggest issues? Partisan gerrymandering. If the state Supreme Court can finally rule that gerrymandering the way the state GOP has been doing it is not only a thing, but a bad thing that needs to be regulated, then the state legislature can finally start to look like and reflect the views of actual Wisconsinites — you know, instead of resulting in legislative chambers where nearly two-thirds of the seats go to one party, in spite of the state being evenly divided, ideologically speaking.

That means that increases in funding to public schools can happen, marijuana legalization can finally be considered (and *gasp* possibly passed!), and importantly, basic rights can be protected.

The article puts it in the clearest terms possible:

The court will soon decide whether abortion is legal for the state’s 6 million people. It will likely reconsider whether the aggressively gerrymandered maps that have kept Republicans mostly in control of the swing state for more than a decade will remain in place through 2030. And it will play a crucial arbiter of how the state’s elections are run in 2024, when Wisconsin could once again decide who wins the presidency.

That last point is important: Wisconsin's spring election will have important ramifications for the state, of course, but it could also play a part in determining where the country, as a whole, goes.

Featured image credit: Daderot/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Friday, January 27, 2023

GOP Congressman Gifts ACTUAL GRENADES to His Colleagues in Congress

Alternate headlines for this post could have easily been: "Florida Man Brings Grenades to Congress." But I digress…

Rep. Cory Mills (R-Florida), a freshman congressman and apologist for the Trump-inspired January 6 Capitol attackers, brought grenades to his Republican colleagues of the House — doing so actually inside of the Capitol building. Accompanied by the 40 mm grenades was a letter, in which Mills wrote that he is welcoming his fellow lawmakers to a "mission-oriented" session.

The grenades also featured an image of the Republican Party's logo (the elephant with three stars) painted on them. Classy.

Receiving criticism for bringing multiple weapons to Congress, Mills noted that, at the bottom of his letter, it says the grenades are "inert." (Should have probably put that at the top, buddy.) He also tried to justify his action further by noting it's a "customary" action to gift other lawmakers with items from your home district (a munitions plant is within Mills's jurisdiction).

Image via Twitter/Morgan Phillips

Most lawmakers, of course, don't hand out weapons — active or otherwise — to their colleagues during this ritual.

One surprising note — House and Senate rules allow for lawmakers to bring weapons into their offices. They are not allowed, however, to bring them into the chambers of either house.

Understanding Mills deeper: the Florida Republican is an outspoken critic of investigations into the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, perpetrated by a mob of Trump loyalists after the (then) president riled them up into a frenzy that morning and urged them to voice their grievances in person. (Lest anyone say otherwise, members of the mob understood what their "mission" from Trump was about.)

Mills, a so-called "back the blue" lawmaker, has been critical of the way violent members of that mob have been treated by law enforcement. One year ago, he also called the January 6 committee an effort to "hunt down Trump supporters."

"Do NOT COMPLY," he urged anyone on the right thinking of testifying before the panel.

Not backing down. When Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) shared an image of the grenade and letter Mills was handing out on social media, Mills responded by describing the California lawmaker as "jealous," and bragged about Republicans having the House majority. 

Real grown-up, mature adult stuff, of course.

WISGOP Leader Pooh-Poohs Gov. Evers's "Year of Mental Health" Focus for 2023

Gov. Tony Evers (D) used his State of the State speech earlier this week to declare 2023 the "year of mental health" in Wisconsin.

Per WPR:

Citing declining mental health among young people because of the pandemic, Evers...promised to spend $500 million on mental health.
"The state of mental health in Wisconsin is a quiet, burgeoning crisis that I believe will have catastrophic consequences for generations if we don't treat it with the urgency it requires," Evers said in his speech, adding that the issue affects students, workers, and "folks’ ability to take care of and provide for their family and loved ones."

But, there's GOP resistance to the idea: Responding to a Twitter user critical of using Wisconsin tax dollars to help mental health, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos took a critical tone of Evers's plan, writing: "Not going to happen."

Image via Jernej Furman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)