Monday, April 15, 2024
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Monday, April 15, 2024

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10 Awful Things Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers Did to the State Today

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers went on a veto binge on March 29. Because it was the Friday afternoon right before Easter, you knew it would be bad.

In veto-after-veto of common-sense legislation passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature (41 vetoes in all), Evers chose a radical agenda over the best interests of the state. He threw taxpayers under the bus. Threw cops under the bus. Threw hunters and farmers under the bus. Threw the mentally ill under the bus. Threw daycare providers under the bus!

Here are 10 awful things Evers did with his veto pen today:

1. He Threw Wisconsin Cops Under the Bus

Evers vetoed a bill that would have narrowed the state’s John Doe law so liberal judges (like the slew of former public defenders he’s appointed to the bench) can’t issue criminal complaints against cops in old shooting cases already ruled justified by DAs.

In so doing, he threw Wisconsin’s law enforcement officers under the bus, exposing them to the potentially endless dredging up of already decided old use-of-force cases.

Here’s why the veto is bad: The law has been exploited by anti-cop activists to target cops. It allowed them to dredge back up an old shooting case against former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah even though the DA had long ago exonerated him, dragging the case back into court before a liberal judge. Luckily, he didn’t end up charged, but the possibilities are nightmarish.

2. Evers Threw Retirees and Taxpayers Under the Bus, Vetoing a $3 Billion Tax Cut

Evers vetoed a bill that would have reduced the tax rate for the third individual tax bracket from 5.3 percent to 4.4 percent beginning with tax year 2023. The bill would have expanded the current retirement income exclusion. Altogether, it was a $3 billion tax cut.

Here’s why the veto is bad: You won’t get to keep more of your money despite those rising grocery store costs.

In continuing his fiscal insanity, Evers also vetoed a bill that “requires a bidding process for school district contracts costing more than $150,000 w/ exception for cases where public health is endangered,” according to reporter AJ Bayatpour.

3. He Wants Non-Citizens to Be Able to Raise Your Taxes

Yes, you read that right. Evers vetoed a bill requiring members of technical school district boards to be citizens.

Here’s why the veto is bad: Those boards have the authority to tax and spend. Thus, Evers thinks non-citizens should be able to raise your taxes, which is an exercise of governmental authority over the citizenry.

4. He’s Okay With Universities Demanding Loyalty Pledges for DEI or Political Ideologies

Evers vetoed a bill that would have banned higher education loyalty tests for faculty and staff.  The bill would prohibit universities from requiring loyalty pledges of allegiance “to support for, or opposition to  a political ideology or movement, including with respect to diversity, equity or inclusion.”

Here’s why the veto is bad: So much for free speech. Universities are hardly havens of ideological tolerance as it is.

5. He Doesn’t Want College Students to Be Exempted From Immunization Requirements Due to Religious Beliefs

The bill Evers vetoed also would ban college students from being exempted for health reasons or personal conviction.

Here’s why the veto is bad: So much for bodily autonomy and freedom of religion.

6. Evers Wants to Limit Who Can Be a School Superintendent

Evers ensured the centralized power of the State Department of Public Instruction’s liberal-controlled bureaucracy, vetoing a bill that would allow school boards to hire superintendents who don’t have a DPI license.

Here’s why the veto is bad: We need more superintendents who come from the business world. There’s also a shortage. We should pick the best person to run school districts and consider a wealth of past experiences. Milwaukee Public Schools already has an exemption.

“As a result, we remain locked in with some of the strictest licensing requirements in the region, which exacerbates our workforce problems,” bill co-author state Sen. Duey Stroebel said to the Journal Sentinel. “Being superintendent is like being the CEO of a company. One does not need to have spent a lifetime in the field to effectively manage the professionals working for you. There are probably thousands of Wisconsinites who would do a great job serving their communities in this role who have not spent their entire careers licensed in a classroom. This veto maintains the absolute prohibition on locally elected officials considering anyone outside the box.”

7. Evers Vetoed a Bill to Help Solve Wisconsin’s Teacher Shortage

According to the Institute for Reforming Government, the bill, Senate Bill (SB) 917 – the teacher apprenticeship bill – “would have given every four-year college in Wisconsin another tool to help solve the teacher shortage.”

Here’s why the veto is bad: “Wisconsin needs to graduate more great teachers. 18% of the teachers we do get quit before their third year. 30 states and counting are fixing it with ‘teacher apprenticeships’ – integrating two years of real-life, mentor-led classroom training into the college experience. This quadruples student teaching practice while lowering debt,” IRG explains.

“SB 917 would have gotten more teachers into the classroom by raising teaching standards and lowering other barriers to graduation. All four-year colleges could have opted into solving the teacher shortage crisis.”

Although Evers will “introduce a teacher apprenticeship pilot program in 2024,” students “in Milwaukee, Madison, Wisconsin Rapids, and rural western Wisconsin will not be able to access this affordable, experience-based program at their local technical colleges. Those are the highest-need regions in the state!” IRG adds.

8. Evers Vetoed a Bill to Allow Wisconsinites to Have Greater Options for Mental Health Services

According to IRG, Assembly Bill (AB) 541 – the tele-mental health bill – would have “allowed Wisconsinites greater options to access services from telehealth providers from out of state. This bill had strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and the Assembly and would have dramatically expanded the pool of providers available to those who need it most.”

Here’s why the veto is bad: The bill “would have made mental health care more accessible for Wisconsinites across the state by allowing people to access treatments across state lines,” IRG says. That’s especially true in “rural and underserved areas of the state, and it allowed college students from other states to keep their previous providers remotely.”

9. Evers Threw Hunters & Farmers Under the Bus

According to Fox News, Evers vetoed a bill that “would have required state wildlife managers to set a firm numeric goal for the state’s wolf population.”

Here’s why the veto is bad: “Hunting advocates support setting a population limit, saying the lack of a goal leaves both wolves and people unprotected,” Fox News reported.

This matters to Wisconsin farmers – a lot – because they’re losing livestock and dogs to the wolves. According to the Associated Press, the wolves sometimes attack pets and livestock. See the list of wolf depredations in Wisconsin for 2013 here.

But that’s not all. Evers also vetoed a bill that would have allowed people in specific areas to use dogs to hunt free-roaming wild animals.

Republican Rep. Chanz Green wrote, “My message to these vetoes: Gov. Evers doesn’t represent Northern Wisconsin hunters! The DNR should listen to hunters in Northern Wisconsin, not the other way around.”

10. Evers Rejected an Opportunity to Help Child Care Providers in Wisconsin

Evers has been incessantly whining about the “childcare crisis” and demanding to hand over millions of dollars in checks to daycares in Wisconsin. But now he’s vetoed a “$15 million loan program for child care providers. Evers says it doesn’t do enough to help providers, says they should grants, not loans,” wrote reporter AJ Bayatpour.

Why the veto is bad: Childcare providers could have used the money, but Evers wants, instead, to hand over big checks in the manner done during COVID. We previously documented how millions of dollars went to an out-of-state daycare chain founded by a junk bond king and financed by wealthy Swiss backers. Money also went to daycares with serious child abuse allegations or that operate is affluent areas. The Republican plan was better.

Here’s a round-up of some of Evers’ other Friday afternoon vetoes:

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Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to charges he paid hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through a lawyer and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president.

Trump has attempted to delay the start of the New York state trial several times, including three longshot tactics judges rejected this week.

What charges does Trump face in the New York hush money case?

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to money paid to Daniels and another woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Bragg has alleged Trump broke New York law when he falsified with the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Prosecutors allege Trump falsified internal records kept by his company, hiding the true nature of payments that involve Daniels ($130,000), McDougal ($150,000), and Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen ($420,000). Prosecutors allege the money was logged as legal expenses, not reimbursements. Both Cohen and Daniels are expected to testify.

Cohen is expected to be a key witness in the trial. Daniels has said she expects to testify.

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., Bragg's predecessor, did not bring the case to trial.

What happens on Monday?

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and Donald Trump are expected to be present when the trial before Judge Juan Merchan gets started Monday. The first step will be picking a jury, a process that could take a week or more depending on how things progress. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will select 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of potentially hundreds of people. Each juror will answer 42 questions designed to determine if they can be impartial in the high-profile trial of a polarizing former president. The jurors will remain anonymous because of security concerns.

Once a jury is seated, it's on to opening statements where prosecutors and defense attorneys will get to address the jury about what they plan to show during the trial.

What is Trump's defense to the charges?

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong and has accused Bragg of bringing a politically motivated case involving conduct in 2016 during a presidential election year as Trump faces incumbent Joe Biden in a rematch of the 2020 election.

Trump has spoken out against the judge, the district attorney and other involved in the case repeatedly. Trump's comments prompted a gag order from the judge who said Trump can't talk publicly about certain people involved in the case and their families.

"The White House Thugs should not be allowed to have these dangerous and unfair Biden Trials during my campaign for President. All of them, civil and criminal, could have been brought more than three years ago. It is an illegal attack on a Political Opponent. It is Communism at its worst, and Election Interference at its Best. No such thing has ever happened in our Country before," Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social this week. "On Monday I will be forced to sit, GAGGED, before a HIGHLY CONFLICTED & CORRUPT JUDGE, whose hatred for me has no bounds. All of these New York and D.C. 'Judges' and Prosecutors have the same MINDSET. Nobody but this Soros Prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, wanted to take this ridiculous case. All legal scholars say it is a sham. BIDEN'S DOJ IS RUNNING THE CASE. Just think of it, these animals want to put the former President of the United States (who got more votes than any sitting President!), & the PARTY'S REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, IN JAIL, for doing absolutely nothing wrong. It is a RUSH TO THE FINISH. SO UNFAIR!"

Will Trump take the stand?

That's not clear yet. Trump said last month that he'd be willing to testify at trial if needed.

Could Trump go to jail?

It's too earlier to tell what will happen if Trump is convicted. Under New York state law, falsifying business records in the first degree is a Class E felony that carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Trump's age and lack of any prior criminal convictions could work in his favor at sentencing if he's convicted. His attacks on the judge could have the opposite effect at sentencing. Before sentencing, the judge would look at sentencing guidelines, recommendations from prosecutors and any other pre-sentence reports.

In late March, Trump said that he wasn't worried about a conviction when asked if he thought a conviction could hurt his chances of returning to the White House.

"It could also make me more popular because the people know it's a scam," he said. "It's a Biden trial, there is no trial, there's a Biden trial."

Whatever happens during the trial, Trump will be protected by the U.S. Secret Service.

Even if convicted and sentenced to jail, Trump could continue his campaign to re-take the White House.

"The Constitution does not bar felons from serving as President," said Richard Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Trump could not pardon himself from any state charges, Hasen said.

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s next supreme court race could be even more contentious and even more expensive than the last one.

Liberal Justice Anne Walsh Bradley on Thursday surprised the state when she announced she will not run for re-election next year.

"My decision has not come lightly. It is made after careful consideration and reflection. I know I can do the job and do it well. I know I can win re-election, should I run. But it's just time to pass the torch, bring fresh perspectives to the court," Walsh Bradley said in a statement.

She is one of Wisconsin’s longest serving justices, serving her third 10-year term on the court.

“In the 177-year history of the court, only four justices have served longer than my length of service,” she wrote.

Walsh Bradley’s decision means the next election will be open.

Former Republican attorney general, and current Waukesha County judge, Brad Schimel has already jumped into the race. There aren’t any declared Democrats yet.

Schimel on Thursday said Walsh Bradley’s decision isn’t changing anything for him.

“From the beginning of my campaign, I made it clear that I’m not just running against one person, I’m running against this Court’s leftist majority,” Schimel said. “I wish Justice Ann Walsh Bradley well in retirement after decades of public service. I look forward to continuing the fight to bring integrity and respect for the Constitution back to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin’s last race for the supreme court, in April of 2023, set records for spending. The race between Justice Janet Protasiewicz and former Justice Dan Kelly cost more than $56 million. That makes the 2023 Wisconsin race the most expensive judicial race in American history. Many court observers and politicos in Wisconsin say the 2025 race could be just as expensive, or even more expensive.

Protasiewicz’s victory flipped the Wisconsin Supreme Court to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in 15 years.

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State Bar of Wisconsin Changing Diversity Definition to End Discrimination Suit

(The Center Square) – The State Bar of Wisconsin isn’t ending its diversity clerkship that faced a federal discrimination lawsuit, instead it is changing the definition of diversity.

The State Bar agreed to tweak the program and make it about the diversity of ideas and experiences, rather than base the clerkship on race and gender.

“The settlement clarifies the definition of ‘diversity’ but makes no changes to the program,” State Bar Executive Director Larry Martin said. “The Diversity Clerkship Program, which has been creating opportunities for Wisconsin-based law students for three decades, will continue to exist and to operate in its current form.”

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty sued, saying it’s against the law to hire anyone based on race or gender.

WILL Associate Counsel Skylar Croy said they have had to make it a habit to remind people of that fact.

“Defeating unconstitutional DEI programs has become WILL’s area of expertise, and we are not stopping here,” Croy said in a statement. “While we are pleased with this victory, we know the fight is far from over. In fact, this is only the beginning of a movement, and our lawsuit will provide a roadmap for future victories in all 50 states.”

WILL has also sued over DEI programs at the University of Wisconsin that it says are race-based.

The bar said the only thing that is changing about the Diversity Clerkship is the focus on race in its definition of diversity.

“Under the settlement, the new definition states: Diversity means including people with differing characteristics, beliefs, experiences, interests, and viewpoints. Diversity promotes an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their differences and without regard to stereotypes, and helps to ensure a better understanding and consideration of the needs and viewpoints of others with whom we interact,” the bar added.

WILL sued on behalf of Daniel Suhr, who is a lawyer in the state and is required to be a member of the bar.

After the settlement, Suhr said the new definition is the first step toward restoring fairness to the Diversity Clerkship.

“Premier internship opportunities should be available to students based on merit – not race. I am proud to partner with WILL to set a strong precedent for the next generation of law students,” he said in a statement.

The Diversity Clerkship Program is a 10-week, paid summer job where first-year Marquette University Law School and University of Wisconsin Law School students are matched with law firms, corporate legal departments and government agencies.

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Group Allegedly Involved in Pre-pandemic Wuhan Coronavirus Research to Testify Before Congress

Lawmakers plan to interrogate the head of Eco Health Alliance, the group accused of conducting dangerous coronavirus research in Wuhan, China just before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic will hold a public hearing May 1 where Dr. Peter Daszak is expected to testify. Daszak is the president of Eco Health Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit health research company that used taxpayer-funded grants to conduct coronavirus research.

The lawmakers on the committee also allege that newly obtained documents show Daszak’s previous testimony misled the committee or misrepresented the facts.

“These revelations undermine your credibility as well as every factual assertion you made during your transcribed interview,” the letter said. “The Committees have a right and an obligation to protect the integrity of their investigations, including the accuracy of testimony during a transcribed interview. We invite you to correct the record.”

One of those obtained documents appears to show Daszak saying he plans to work with Wuhan researchers.

A federal grant database shows that Eco Health Alliance received millions of dollars since 2014 from the federal government to study coronaviruses that originate in animals and in some cases can transfer to humans, with an emphasis on China.

A key and highly disputed part of the inquiry is whether Eco Health Alliance’ research included making coronaviruses more dangerous,.

Under former President Donald Trump, the federal National Institutes of Health cut all funding to the group in question over the controversy.

Under the Biden administration, funding has been restored, and NIH has emphatically stated that Eco Health Alliance did not play a role in the start of the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, in the absence of a definitive answer, misinformation and disinformation are filling the void, which does more harm than good,” NIH said in a 2021 statement. “NIH wants to set the record straight on NIH-supported research to understand naturally occurring bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, funded through a subaward from NIH grantee EcoHealth Alliance. Analysis of published genomic data and other documents from the grantee demonstrate that the naturally occurring bat coronaviruses studied under the NIH grant are genetically far distant from SARS-CoV-2 and could not possibly have caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Any claims to the contrary are demonstrably false.”

In 2022 and 2023 NIH awarded Eco Health Alliance a total of at least $1,230,594 to research “the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.”

The idea that the COVID-19 virus began in a Wuahn lab was once denounced as a conspiracy theory but has now gotten more widespread credibility.

The FBI announced last year after its investigation that COVID-19 most likely came from a Wuhan lab. That news came just after the Department of Energy also said the Wuhan lab was most likely the origin of COVID-19, though neither agency expressed a high degree of confidence in that theory.

Other groups have suggested it came from the Wuhan wet market, though no definitive answer has been settled on.

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Trump Calls for Sanctions, Censure of Special Counsel Jack Smith

Former President Donald Trump called for special counsel Jack Smith to be sanctioned or censured for "attacking" the judge in Trump's classified documents case.

Trump's comments on Thursday come after Smith and his team of prosecutors made it clear they think Judge Aileen Cannon's latest ruling was based on "an unstated and fundamentally flawed legal premise." Prosecutors objected to Cannon's order to produce proposed jury instructions under two different legal scenarios. Smith said both legal scenarios were flawed.

In response to the judge's order, prosecutors said they need clarification on Cannon's position so they can appeal if needed. They asked the judge to decide before the trial if the Presidential Records Act "has an impact on the element of unauthorized possession" of classified documents. Failure to do so could make it impossible to prosecute Trump because of the double jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

Trump lashed out Thursday morning.

"Deranged 'Special' Counsel Jack Smith, who has a long record of failure as a prosecutor, including a unanimous decision against him in the U.S. Supreme Court, should be sanctioned or censured for the way he is attacking a highly respected Judge, Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over his FAKE Documents Hoax case in Florida," Trump wrote in a message posted to Truth Social.

Trump also said Smith shouldn't be on the case.

"He shouldn’t even be allowed to participate in this sham case, where I, unlike Crooked Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and all the rest, come under the Presidential Records Act," Trump wrote. "I DID NOTHING WRONG, BUT BIDEN DID, AND THEY LET HIM OFF SCOT-FREE. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN, JACK? A TWO TIERED SYSTEM OF JUSTICE. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!"

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 40 felony counts that allege he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who didn't have security clearance and tried to get around the government's attempts to get them back.

Trump faces a rematch against President Joe Biden in this year's presidential election. Trump also faces three other criminal cases in New York, Georgia and another federal case in Washington D.C. He's used millions of dollars in campaign contributions to pay his mounting legal bills.

Trump also is appealing a $464 million fine in a civil case in New York. He posted a $175 million bond to appeal that decision.

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Biden Cancels Replenishment of Strategic Oil Reserves

The Biden administration will pause its replenishment of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves because oil has become too expensive, the White House said.

Earlier in his term, Biden drained about half of the U.S. oil reserves down to their lowest level in decades in order to try to lower gas prices, which surpassed a record national average of more than $5 per gallon in 2022 before coming back down. Now, Biden’s effort to replenish those reserves have been stalled.

Critics warn that lower oil reserves are a national security issue for the U.S. If the reserves are low when a larger war or crisis occurs, refilling the reserves could be much more difficult and certainly more expensive.

“It’s pure insanity to watch the Biden Administration cut American oil production and then claim they can’t refill our critical reserve because of the price,” Daniel Turner, founder and executive director for Power The Future, said in a statement. “Joe Biden drained the SPR for political reasons, cut our domestic production for his climate agenda and now he’s leaving our critical reserve more vulnerable because he’s incompetent. As a result, Americans are paying more at the pump, more at the grocery store and our SPR is less full during a time of rising turmoil in the Middle East.”

Biden has taken fire from Republicans for hindering U.S. oil production and lowering the reserves. The Biden administration has increased regulatory pushback for oil domestic production while raising ongoing concerns about climate change.

“The Biden administration’s war on U.S. energy is crippling hardworking Americans and has led to our Strategic Petroleum Reserves being at their lowest levels since the 1908s,” U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Reverse course and restore U.S. energy dominance!"