This week Citizen Action records from the fast food and retail workers strike headquarters in Milwaukee. Along with the strike, they talk about Gov. Walker’s disgraceful plan to make 83,000 people in poverty wait 3 months for healthcare because he refuses to accept billions in federal money for BadgerCare. They also discuss redistricting, new GOP efforts to pass a Constitutional Amendment requiring a super majority to increase taxes in Wisconsin, and state Supreme Court “F” grade on ethics.
Bill Further Erodes Our Minimum Wage Protections
In the 2009-2010 session, the Legislature passed bipartisan legislation that would give community members the option to petition to end the use of of race-based mascots at local schools in their area. Of the 65 schools that had Native American related mascots in 1989, 30 schools changed their nickname prior to the 2010 law while 32 schools still have Indian mascots. Despite only four schools having been affected by this bill--three changed their names and one is challenging the change request in court--legislative Republicans have felt compelled to overturn the law designed to diminish discrimination.
This past Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Senate took up this legislation, Assembly Bill 297, which will send Wisconsin backwards in the fight to end discrimination of all kinds, including towards Native Americans across the state. This bill eliminates the current process allowing people to file complaints with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) over race-based mascots and team names, and giving DPI the authority needed to enforce mascot changes at these schools. I was disappointed to see that so many of my Republican colleagues refused to even participate in the debate on this offensive bill.
Click here to view a copy of Senate Bill 320.
On November 5, 2013, the Kaiser Family Foundation published State-by-State Estimates of the Number of People Eligible for Premium Tax Credits Under the Affordable Care Act. The study finds that Wisconsin has approximately 301,000 residents who are likely to be eligible for tax credits to help pay for the premiums. The study also estimates that the potential market size is 482,000.
The website also offers a simple calculator that can provide people an estimate of their premiums and tax credits to help pay for the insurance, based on their state, zip code, and income. For example, a 40 year old adult who has no children, who lives in Milwaukee, and earns $25,000 a year would be able to buy a "silver" plan for $3781 per year. But that's not what the plan will cost her. She will be eligible for tax credits totaling $2052. So her final cost for that tier of coverage will be $1729 or about $150 a month.
If she opts for a "bronze" tier plan, her out of pocket cost for health insurance will be about $873 per year, or just under $73 per month.
Take our Survey
So that we can better meet your needs, utilize your talents and organize to return Wisconsin to its progressive roots, please take our brief, 10-item survey.
John Nichols, Robert W. McChesney, and their publisher Nation Books have graciously given Grassroots North Shore permission to post an extended excerpt from their recent book, Dollarocracy. If you enjoy what you see here, you can purchase a copy of the book from us.
The excerpt below comes from the conclusion of the final chapter called "The Right to Vote: Beginning the New Age of Reform," pages 281-284, .
The headlines of the contemporary moment lead us back to a core understanding: the time has come to end the expansion and contraction of the right to vote in America and to establish it once and for all in the nation’s constitution. Voting rights experts are correct when they argue that doing so will provide the clarity that is needed to achieve the following:
- Guarantee the right of every citizen eighteen and older to vote.
- Empower Congress to set national minimum electoral standards for all states to follow.
- Provide protection against attempts to disenfranchise individual voters.
- Eliminate those rules and practices that give some voters more power than other voters.
- Ensure that every vote cast is counted correctly.
But this, to our view, is merely the point of departure. Most rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution are negative rights. They protect against the encroachment of the government on a citizen’s right to speak, to assemble, to petition for the redress of grievances, to own a gun, to be secure from official intrusions. The assurance of a “positive liberty” to engage in the choosing of those governments, and by extension the process of defining its direction, ought to be recognized as the most precious of all freedoms.
To establish an affirmative right to vote, we can imagine an even simpler amendment than has been proposed; one that reads: “Every American citizen 18 years of age or older has a right to vote, to the information necessary to cast an informed vote, and to the assurance that their vote will count equally with others toward the formation of local, state, and national governments.” From such an assurance could extend protections necessary to establish real democracy and a more perfect union: not just equal access to the polls but equal access to news and opinions about the candidates and parties and issues; not just the assurance of the fair counting of votes for which there is currently no guarantee but also to voting systems and electoral districts that give those votes meaning. The possibilities are, as the poet Langston Hughes might suggest, “explosive.”
Judges who have suggested that there ought to be some kind of constitutional protection against gerrymandering would finally have the tool to prevent a party in power from drawing congressional or district lines that prevent meaningful competition and effectively disenfranchise citizens.70 Citizens might finally find the standing to demand the inclusion of minority parties in debates and the FCC to require broadcasters to provide free airtime to candidates and parties and more thorough coverage of issues and campaigns.71 Proponents of instant runoff voting, proportional representation, and other approaches that countries around the world have used to ensure diversity and a deeper political discourse would find an avenue for challenging inherently unfair “first-past-the-post” voting systems that saddle states across the country with one-party rule.72
Sunday, November 3rd
The new health insurance options in WI can be confusing. Thousands are at risk because Walker refused to expand Medicaid. Many people do not know what their options are or how to file for insurance coverage. Learn how you, your friends, family members and neighbors can navigate the system and find affordable, accessible health insurance in Wisconsin.
Get answers from the experts:
Robert Kraig (Citizen Action of WI)
Bob DeVita (Common Ground)
Matt Hayes (Senior Law)
Danielle Zirkel (Covering Kids and Families)
- Bring your friends, relatives, colleagues – anyone who may not have health insurance or who pays for individual insurance.
- Healthcare coverage in Wisconsin can be a game changer for small businesses, would-be entrepreneurs, people just leaving college, and all those working for companies that do not provide benefits.
- The presentation will be followed by Q&A, with representatives staying afterward to answer questions and provide guidance.
Where: North Shore Presbyterian Church — 4048 N. Bartlett Ave., Shorewood (use south or northeast entrance).
When: Doors open at 3:30; presentation begins at 4:00; information and consultation with presenters available after Q&A.