April 24, 2014

Hulsey enters race for governor

WRN photo

WRN photo

There’s another Democratic candidate in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race. State Representative Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) announced Monday that he’s making a run for governor. Fresh out of the gate he took aim at the front-runner on the Democrat side, Mary Burke.

“We need somebody who can take on Scott Walker, not some spoiled rich kid,” Hulsey said on WIBA. Like Burke and Republican incumbent Scott Walker, Hulsey said his focus will be on jobs. He said his “Get Wisconsin Working Plan” is “backed up by UW economics professors.”

“We know it will create thousands of jobs, mostly by reversing Scott Walker’s reign of error” Hulsey said. Although he threatened to jump ship from the Democratic party to turn independent last year, Hulsey is running as a Democrat. “I’ve been encouraged that my Democratic colleagues in the legislature have started to realize that they have to fight Scott Walker at every step.”

Hulsey has been in the state Assembly for 4 years and served on the Dane County Board for 14 years. “Our focus remains squarely on Scott Walker,” said Joe Zepecki, spokesman for the Burke campaign, said “the focus remains squarely on Scott Walker.”


Nickles ponders run for Petri seat

Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickles is considering a run for the Sixth District Congressional seat being vacated by Representative Tom Petri. “I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody in the city that government and politics is what I love most in life, and everyone knows that ever since I was a young boy I wanted to be president of the United States,” said Nickles, who was became on of the nation’s youngest-ever mayor when he was elected at age 22 in 2009. “It’s not surprising that when an opportunity makes itself available, that I would look at the options that I have in front of me.”

Nickles, a Democrat, said he was ” a bit shocked” when Petri announced he wouldn’t seek another term. He reiterated that running the city is his top priority but admits a door has opened to explore what he calls “an amazing opportunity.” Nickles said he’ll make a decision “very soon.”

Also on Friday, state Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) confirmed that he’ll make an announcement regarding entering the race. If he does, he’d join fellow state Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and state Representative Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville).



Appeals court rejects Act 10 challenge

A federal appeals court has upheld Governor Scott Walker’s signature collective bargaining law.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday that the law limiting collective bargaining for most public employee unions does not infringe on the constitutional rights of workers, rejecting a court challenge brought by two unions in Dane County. Those groups claimed the law, commonly known as Act 10, violated their rights to free association and equal protection under the law.

In a decision released Friday, a three judge panel sided with Federal Judge William Conley, who ruled last September that the union law still allows public employees to organize…it just does not require the government to listen to their demands.

In a statement, Attorney General J.B Van Hollen called the ruling “a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.  This ruling, once again, supports the rule of law and recognizes the diligence and hard work of our lawyers in defending Act 10.  I appreciate the court’s work.  I look forward to a successful resolution of the few remaining challenges to this important law.”

The decision is one of several rulings that have upheld Act 10, although the controversial law continues to face unresolved legal challenges. The state Supreme Court is currently reviewing another case, which deals with how the law applies to unions for local government and school employees.

Burke calls for more tuition tax deductions

The main Democrat running for governor says paying for higher education is one of the main hurdles that keep people from getting a degree.

Mary Burke says getting more technical college and university graduates is also a key factor, in filling more job openings in the state, and improving the economy.

She wants to increase the tuition tax deduction in Wisconsin, and make student loan payments tax deductible. Burke says she also supports a proposal that would let people refinance student loans. A student loan refinancing bill failed to pass in the Legislature this year.

Burke spoke with students Thursday at Fox Valley Technical College.

Rick Schuh, WHBY

DPI will not revoke license of Andrew Harris

andrewharrsA middle school teacher accused of sharing explicit emails will not have his license revoked by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Andrew Harris was a seventh-grade teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School when he was accused of sending and receiving the emails while on the job.

Arbitrators ruled the Middleton Cross Plains School District wrongly terminated Harris in 2010, and that he should be reinstated. He returned to the classroom in January, over the protests of some parents. Governor Scott Walker also asked the DPI to review the case and revoke Harris’ license, shortly after her returned to teaching.

DPI Director of Education Information Services John W. Johnson released a letter which stated that the accusations against Harris occurred prior to a 2011 change in state law which redefined immoral conduct.

While Andrew Harris’s conduct was highly inappropriate for an educator, it does not meet the legal definition of immoral conduct contained in the 2008-09 law. Specifically, the Department’s investigation confirmed the school district’s public statements that Andrew Harris’s conduct did not involve children in any manner. Similarly, the arbitrator who oversaw 18 days of hearings on this matter also determined that no students were involved and that no students could have seen the images. The arbitrator’s decision was upheld by the circuit court and Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Therefore, there is no probable cause that Andrew Harris violated the 2008-09 law, and the Department cannot pursue a revocation of Andrew Harris’s license at this time. 

The governor disagreed with DPI’s decision. “Governor Walker is disappointed by DPI’s decision. We believe the Department of Public Instruction does indeed have the legal authority to revoke his license under prior law and Governor Walker thinks they should do so,” said Laurel Patrick, the governor’s press secretary.