the legislature's sneak attack

Before I dive into the contentious issues brewing in our state, I want to call your attention to the next big Grassroots North Shore event: Winning the Messaging War, to be held on Sunday, November 12. Our featured speakers are David Pepper (author of Saving Democracy), Melissa Agard (Minority Leader in the WI Senate) and Mandela Barnes (President of Power to the Polls). Although the event itself is still six weeks away, we'd like to hear your questions and concerns. We especially welcome questions for David Pepper who will have to appear in a pre-taped interview owing to scheduling issues. So submit your questions as soon as possible.

Over the past two weeks, the Wisconsin legislature, especially the Assembly, went berserk. In the Assembly, MAGAites hurriedly crafted a bill supposedly designed to implement a fair and nonpartisan process for drawing election districts — AB 415 — at 3am on Tuesday and then presented the bill for amendment and passage Thursday night. No committee hearing. No public hearing. No time to read and think carefully about the bill's effects.

Boss Vos presented it as a nonpartisan redistricting law based on the Iowa model. But according to the Iowa State Auditor, the Wisconsin bill omits KEY PROVISIONS that safeguard against reverting to the same kind of rigged maps we have had since 2011. As two Iowa officials note, "The clearest and most consequential difference [from the Iowa model] is that Wisconsin’s proposal rejects our system of judicial review. In Iowa, the legislature has limited opportunities to accept or reject the maps drafted by legislative staff. If lawmakers fail to reach consensus, the maps are drawn by the Iowa Supreme Court and enacted" (WisDems: Bipartisan Iowa leaders: 'The proposal currently in front of the Wisconsin Legislature cannot be accurately called the Iowa Model').

As the bill heads to the Wisconsin Senate, you might wonder why Vos suddenly chose to adopt a bill that pretends to create a nonpartisan process for redrawing our election districts in time to be adopted for 2024 elections. Here's why: "Vos offered the plan to nullify pending lawsuits over the 2022 redistricting" (Wisconsin Examiner, September 15, 2023). In other words, the goal is to prevent the Supreme Court of Wisconsin (SCOWIS) from reviewing the maps it approved when the court still had four conservative justices sitting in judgment. Now that there are four progressive justices, they fear that SCOWIS will throw out those maps and adopt ones that are truly nonpartisan.

The same change in the make-up of SCOWIS prompted the threat to impeach Justice Protasiewicz. Never mind that the only grounds for impeachment our state constitution recognizes are corrupt conduct in office or commission of a crime. In short, Vos has been pulling out all the stops so that the power to stay in power remains in the hands of the MAGAites.


  • In his weekly newsletter on September 22, Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler noted that the Assembly gaveled out of session last Thursday and won't be back in session until October 10. So, for the rest of this week and all of next week, the Assembly cannot impeach anyone! He goes on to say:
    You made this happen. Without your voice, your outrage, and your organizing, it’s entirely possible—and in fact, based on what we’ve heard, more than likely—that Robin Vos and the Assembly Republican caucus would have already voted to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz by this moment, and Wisconsin would have been at the center of an explosive constitutional crisis.
    So, keep it up. Keep calling and writing your Assembly representative and the state Senator to let them know how you feel about the bogus effort to take the judiciary out of the redistricting process and the equally bogus effort to impeach Justice Protasiewicz. Even if your elected officials are Democrats. (After all, Representative LaKeisha Myers voted for the amended AB 415, the only Democrat to do so.) Legislative staff keep a running account of public views, even if those views don't always sway legislative opinions. To find your legislators and their contact information, visit the Legislature's home page.

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  • Sign up for a Poll Worker Info Session with the Wisconsin Democrats. The Voter Protection Team has added Saturday sessions from 11:00 - 11:30am on September 30, October 14, and October 28. If you'd like to get involved in volunteering with the Dems, this is a perfect opportunity. It's also one of our final big chances to spread the word ahead of the November deadline to submit poll worker nominations. See all the available days and times and sign up. And bring a friend!

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  • The Wisconsin Senate recently voted to fire Wisconsin Elections Administrator Meagan Wolfe. She is being pushed out of her job as the state’s top election official. She is non-partisan and non-ideological and carries out decisions made by the Commissioners. A significant part of her job is ensuring that local clerks and other election officials have the resources and technology they need to conduct a safe, accurate, and successful election.
    Here's what you can do:
    Please write a thank you note WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe. Feel free to use one of the sample messages on the page linked above or personalize the message to put it in your own voice.
    Mailing Address:
    Administrator Meagan Wolfe
    Wisconsin Elections Commission, Second Floor
    201 West Washington Avenue
    Madison, WI 53703

As I was finishing this newsletter, a news flash arrived. Apparently when it convenes on Thursday, the Senate will not take up the redistricting bill the Assembly passed late last week. That's a huge relief. As Ben Wikler says, the public outcry about impeachment has the upper hand right now. And it seems we might have at least temporarily derailed the bogus Assembly bill also. Make your voices heard. Call and write your legislators!


Tuesday, September 26

Chris Larson Backyard Fundraiser, 5:00 - 7:00pm
3233 S Herman St, Milwaukee

If the cooling weather didn't make it clear, we are getting closer to our annual end-of-summer backyard fundraiser. Please, join us for a great time.
     - Good beer! At least 17 different varieties, including Oktoberfest, stouts, IPAs, and a couple of N/As so there's something for everyone.
     - Good weather! So far, we've had great weather every year we've done it and I hope we can keep that streak alive.
     - Good conversation about the latest political happenings! Have you checked the news lately?!
     - Good people! That's where you come in.
Donate and RSVP.

Milwaukee Reception for Judge Pedro Colón, 5:00pm
Broken Bat Brewing Co., 135 E Pittsburgh Ave, Milwaukee

You're invited to support Judge Pedro Colón's campaign for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. We look forward to seeing you there! Contributions of any amount are gratefully appreciated but not required to attend. Donate here. To RSVP or to be listed as a host, email us at [email protected].

Wednesday, September 27

Liz Sumner Campaign for MC Comptroller Kickoff, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Scout Wine Merchants, 4512 N Oakland Ave, Shorewood

You're invited to a reception to kick off Supervisor Liz Sumner's campaign for Milwaukee County Comptroller. Liz chairs the County Finance Committee and is a member of the Audit Committee. She is also a member of the Fox Point Village Board, giving her a unique perspective on complex municipal and county finance issues. Her candidacy stands strong on a platform of fiscal responsibility, transparency, and collaboration. She is committed to ensuring the financial health of Milwaukee County, making it an even better place to live, work, and grow. Donate and RSVP.

Saturday, September 30

Free Citizenship Clinic, 10:00am - 1:00pm
MATC Education Center at Walker Square, 816 West National Ave, Milwaukee

This clinic will offer Free legal assistance in filing naturalization applications. If you wish to participate, registering before the event is mandatory. Please register only if you believe you may qualify for citizenship. Eligibility requirements can be found in the registration link.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Lincoln Memorial and La Fayette Hill

This week we are standing for peace in Ukraine with the Peace in Ukraine Coalition — Ceasefire and Peace Talks Now! No Nuclear War in Ukraine! Diffuse Nuclear War. Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Tuesday, October 3

Astor Street Regulars, 12:00pm
University Club of Milwaukee, 924 E Wells St, Milwaukee

Wisconsin is at a political crossroads, again. Fair and free elections, once honored by both parties, no longer help to determine the political, economic and social goals of Wisconsin. Standards of fair play and honesty have been banished. Republicans push redistricting legislation that could allow the extreme gerrymander to continue. It is all very frustrating. But not hopeless. One answer to this disfunction is robust, aggressive legal activity. That’s what the three-year old Law Forward! organization is about. Jeff Mandell, a founder of Law Forward!, will join us on October 3rd. He will bring us up to date on actions to advance equitable policies for all Wisconsinites. Law Forward! pledges to “defend Wisconsin from ongoing attacks on the state’s progressive traditions.” RSVP to by Thursday, September 28, to Phyllis Bankier. Lunch is included ($25) with a choice of (1) Cobb salad with chicken, rolls on the table, and dessert. Vegetarian? Indicate “no chicken” on your email. Or (2) Chicken salad on Croissant with fruit, and dessert. Coffee, tea, and iced tea are included.

Saturday, October 7

Hope Without Borders Picnic On The Farm Fundraiser, 12:00 - 8:00pm
Parve Family Farm, 5724 Division Rd, West Bend

We are excited to welcome you for a day of fall fun during the HWB Picnic on the Farm Fundraiser. Many things have changed over the years, but some things have not... our passion for serving local and global communities. We are so excited to tell you about our farming project in Tanzania, which is changing lives and inspired us to do more. Price includes a picnic style brat fry, cookie decorating; pumpkin decorating; petting zoo; games; silent auction; raffles; and even a pie baking contest. Buy Tickets and Register.

Monday, October 9

WIARA 2023 Power Lunch, 10:30am
Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Northwest Conference Center, 11600 W Park Pl, Milwaukee

Sponsored by Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, this is an event you don’t want to miss! Not only are we recognizing Labor, Community, and Elected Officials that go above and beyond to support Wisconsin retirees, but we’ll also be hearing from several exciting speakers – watch your email for the announcement! If you would like to nominate someone to be recognized click here for nomination process details. Individual tickets are $75. A table for 8 is $600. Lunch provides a choice of Salmon, Beef Short Rib, or Vegetarian. Changes to food choices should be emailed to [email protected]. Purchase your ticket on Action Network.


Tuesday, October 10

What is Happening with DEI in Our Schools, 5:00- 6:30pm
Turner Hall, 1040 Vel R. Phillips Ave, Milwaukee and online

For students, teachers, families, and folks who care about equity in our community. DEI efforts are under attack in our schools. Long-term systemic racism must be countered by long-term systemic anti-racism that lifts up and collaborates with marginalized people. Societies are stronger, richer and more resilient when they respect, value and learn from diverse cultures, knowledge, experiences, and ideas. Panelists: + Elisabeth Lambert, Wisconsin Education Law & Policy Hub + Diannia Merriett, Parents Advocating for Greendale Equity + Lashawnda Holland, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility - Wauwatosa School District + Alyson Weiss, Superintendent, Glendale River Hills + Nathan Russell, Founder, Suburbs for Equality. Moderator: Emilio De Torre, Milwaukee Turners. Doors open at 4:30 PM. Broadcast begins at 5 PM in the Palm Garden, on the first floor of Turner Hall. For in-person or for virtual attendance, please sign up.

Monday, October 16

Milwaukee PD District Seven: 2023 Crime & Safety Meeting, 5:00- 6:30pm
Wellpoint, 8901 Capitol Dr, Milwaukee

District 7's Crime & Safety Meetings are always held on the 3rd Monday of every month. More information.

Dem Party of Milwaukee County Monthly Meeting, 6:00pm
J&B's Bar and Grill, 5230 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee

Join us for our regularly scheduled monthly meeting, where we discuss party business and hear from Democratic candidates. Food will be provided! Sign up.

Wednesday, October 18

October DP Oz County meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
130 Wisconsin Ave, Grafton

Join us at our Grafton Office as we gather to hear speakers and catch up on the local and state politics influencing Ozaukee County – while spending time with like-minded people. All interested people are encouraged to attend.

Friday, October 20

Redistricting, Elections, & Litigation, 9:30am
Knickerbocker Hotel, 1028 E Juneau St, Milwaukee

A meeting to discuss and update Wisconsin politics sponsored by the League of Progressive Seniors. Panel Members: Deborah Patel (Co-lead, North Shore Fair Maps); Deb Andraca (23rd Assembly District Representative); and an Attorney from Law Forward. We look forward to meeting with you to enjoy the company and refreshments as we learn about this important topic. For questions, contact Attorney Jackie Boynton at 414-378-4224. Let LPS know you plan to attend. OR let them know you're interested but cannot attend.

The Women's Convention 2023, 3:00pm - October 22 at 1:00pm
Baird Center, 400 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

We’re at an inflection point in our country. What we do in the next five years will impact the next five decades. If we are going to protect our personal rights, our communities, and democracy itself, we need to build the biggest movement possible. We need to consolidate women and allies around shared values, experience, and culture to build a nation that works for all of us. The 2023 Women’s Convention will provide a space for you to rejuvenate and find connection and support. Whether you are brand new to social change work or a veteran activist, this space is built for you. You will gain tools, make connections, and experience the feminist future we want to live in. See more information and purchase tickets. (The posting is long, but well worth the scrolling to find ticket prices for seniors.)

other important links

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