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Judge temporarily blocks Wisconsin anti-union law. GOP House Bans federal funding for NPR.

March 18, 2011



Massive crowd at Wisconsin Capitol in Madison (3/12/2011) Photo D. Hauck/ Reuters

Both of our stories today involve openness and accountability in government — two basics of any Democracy.  Republicans have little patience for either. In Wisconsin, GOP senators met in a highly dubious closed door session as a step in passing the law that smothers collective bargaining.

To see what happened in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, see the second story.


Excerpt from Reuters, Friday 18 March, 2011:

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi granted a restraining order stopping official publication of the bill, which was passed by the Midwestern state’s Republican-controlled legislature and signed by its Republican Governor Scott Walker last week.

Her ruling did not overturn the law but effectively blocked it while she considered a lawsuit filed by the Dane County district attorney, who has argued Republican lawmakers violated state open meetings laws by failing to give adequate notice of the vote. Sumi still has to rule on the merit of the lawsuit, which asked that the law be voided. Even if it were overturned, Republicans could return to the legislature, where they control both houses, and pass it again in compliance with the open meetings laws….

The judge’s order gave public workers in the state more time to bargain new and better contracts with municipal authorities — deals that could allow them to skirt the law’s strict measures during the length of those contracts.”

Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette listens to arguments in Dane Co. Court, Friday, March 18, 2011; Photo AP


In our previous post, we called this Doug’s finest hour. By not being bullied by the Governor Scott Walker and the GOP,  La Follette gave the County time to file it’s suit. As stated above this will give local governments and school boards around the state time to negotiate properly with public employee unions. Thank you, Doug for doing the right thing and putting up with a lot of nastiness for doing so.

What you can do:

Badgers: Send a letter to the editor (local paper) in opposition to the union busting law and the Democratic Senators (Fabulous 14) and Doug La Follette.

Friends of Labor and Democracy: Support the recall of GOP union  busters: an ActBlue. Nearly $1 million raised in a few days! Add to the total.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES — GOP IN ACTION: Yesterday the House Republicans voted on a bill to defund National Public Radio without providing 72 hours for the public to review the bill. This violates a pledge that Speaker John Boehner made repeatedly that he would require every bill to be made available for at least 72 hours online and in public. All Democrats and 7 Republicans voted against the bill which passed by a margin of  228-192 to ban the use of federal funds for NPR programming. If enacted by the Senate, the bill would cutoff funding to local stations to buy national programming from NPR. See articles (1) and (2)

At every turn the ultra-right-Tea-Party-bright GOP is attempting to chop programs that it doesn’t like — invoking the federal deficit as its reason. But they don’t seem to mind (a) hundreds of billions in tax cuts for the wealthy or (b) subsidies for big oil companies, agri-business, etc.  I guess they would like to see less competition for Fox.

NPR's Robert Siegel and Nina Totenberg. Source: David Scull for The New York Times

What you can do: Let your Senator know that you depend on NPR on a daily basis for intelligent and unbiased reporting. Keep and increase the funding! Call today.

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