Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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It often seems like the politicians just don’t listen to us. They are tone-deaf to the desires of their constituents. But sometimes, our outcry can make a difference. That seems to be the case with our elected officials in both Madison and in Washington. Two recent examples both deal with how the politicians handle allegations of sexual misconduct. In Madison, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse is now willing to do an about face, and release reports of sexual harassment against members of the legislature or their staffs. For weeks, Shilling has insisted that sweeping the incidents under the rug was the best way to ensure victims privacy is protected. But as we pointed out, names of victims can be easily redacted while still informing the public about our lawmakers behaving badly. Meanwhile in D.C., House Speaker Paul Ryan insists current rules allowing members of Congress who settle sexual misconduct claims to do so with taxpayer dollars will be changed. Ryan correctly calls the current policy indefensible. It was disappointing our elected officials would seemingly prefer to keep us in the dark about the behavior of our politicians, and when they mess up, use our money to cover their tracks. But it is good they finally listened to the voters on this one.

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Thursday - December 14, 2017 9:00 am

Trump wants to punish reporters for asking questions

President Trump's disdain for the news media is well documented. He routinely attacks those working in the media and assails their reporting as “fake news.” But he may now be taking that to a new level, threatening to punish reporters for daring to ask questions. At a bill signing on Tuesday, the presidential action was being covered by, among others, CNN, one of Trump's favorite targets. CNN White House correspondent Jim Accosta was warned by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that if he asked a question at the conclusion of the bill signing, he may be barred from covering other White House events. What? It is the job of a White House correspondent to ask questions of the President. And it seems these days there are plenty of questions to ask. President Trump is under no obligation to answer questions posed to him by reporters, but he can't prevent them from asking. Trump may not like this reporter, or his employer, but it is not his role to determine who covers his events. He can label those reports he doesn't like as “fake news” but that doesn't make them any less true.

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On the surface, it sounds like a good problem to have. Unemployment in Wisconsin is near all-time lows. But that does present problems. Many employers are having a hard time finding workers to fill available positions. Just look around town at all the signs declaring “Now hiring.” Given the tight labor market, and the possibility of 13,000 new jobs at that Foxconn plant, filling all the available positions is proving difficult. That is why Governor Scott Walker wants to spend some of our tax money to recruit workers to Wisconsin. Walker is asking state lawmakers to approve nearly $7 million in new funding for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring workers to the state. Specifically, Walker wants $3.5 million allocated toward attracting veterans to the Wisconsin workforce, and another $3 million for a campaign aimed at attracting millennials. That seems like a pretty steep price tag for an effort that may not work. Will someone in sunny Arizona see the ads and suddenly want to move to the frozen tundra? Will they come for out pothole filled roads? That would take a pretty clever marketing campaign. Taxpayers have already handed over $3 billion in incentives to Foxconn. If they want to attract workers from Chicago or elsewhere, they should do that on their own dime.

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Tuesday - December 12, 2017 9:52 am

It is time for a part-time Wisconsin legislature

The work is largely over for the Wisconsin Legislature. They finally passed a new state budget, although two months late, and passed a couple of bills which became law. But although technically, the legislature is still in session, it doesn't have any more meetings planned until mid-spring. Which makes us wonder, why is serving in the Wisconsin legislature a full time job? Members of the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly draw a full-time salary, they receive lucrative benefits, and can claim money for meals and lodging each day they are in Madison. Altogether, the state representatives pull down about $75,000 a year. Then you have to add up the cost of the money for their staff, at further cost to taxpayers. There is no reason that Wisconsin lawmakers should be paid a full-time salary, but only made to work part-time. Many states have a part-time legislature. In fact, Wisconsin is the smallest state in the nation, by far, to have a full-time legislature. Think how much money we would save if we slashed our lawmakers pay in half. If they aren't working 40 hours a week, for 52 weeks a year, why should we pay them as if they are?

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It is like Winston Churchill said of American politicians. They will get it right. After they try everything else first. Such is the case with Wisconsin’s laws governing repeat drunk drivers. Drunk driving laws in the Badger state are notoriously lax, but now, finally, lawmakers have closed a legal loophole. Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 89 into law, stipulating that “any driver requiring an interlock device cannot drive a vehicle that is not equipped with the device from the time of conviction until order expires.” That means if you were caught driving drunk before, you can’t drive a car, any car, without an ignition interlock. That is important because until this bill was signed into law on Friday, those who were ordered by a judge to get an ignition interlock on their car, could simply drive someone else’s car. All perfectly legally. Not any more. Try to drive any car without first passing a breath test is now a crime. As it should be. There are too many on our roads destined to become repeat offenders. It is good to see Wisconsin lawmakers got this right, eventually.

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Wednesday - December 6, 2017 12:13 pm

Is it Armageddon or a joke?

Is it the best thing since sliced bread, or is it the end of the world? The answer, no doubt, is somewhere in the middle. Supporters and critics of the tax reform bills passed by the House and Senate are at odds over what the biggest change in tax policy in 30 years will mean for this country. Critics, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, call the legislation “Armageddon” likening it to the end of the world. That seems a bit of a stretch. Meanwhile, Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson seems to be looking at the bill through rose-colored glasses. He referred to predictions that the new tax bill would add $1 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade as a “joke.” And he claimed members of the Joint Committee on Taxation are living in a “fantasy world.” He may as well have called it fake news. But another $1 trillion in federal debt, on top of the current $20 trillion in federal debt, is hardly a joke. The prediction comes from the very non-partisan agency Congress created to help them understand tax laws. They have no skin in the game. To call this tax bill “Armageddon” is certainly hyperbole. But the suggestion, especially by supposed deficit hawks, that fears of increased debt are a joke, is also no laughing matter.

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More often than not, the truth tends to come out eventually. Despite the fact that leaders of both political parties in Madison insist on keeping secret allegations of sexual harassment by members of the state legislature or their staff, those details are starting to emerge. It has been confirmed that former Wisconsin Senator Spencer Coggs settled a harassment complaint with a staff member two years ago. And while Coggs continues to maintain his innocence, it has been confirmed that his accuser was paid $75,000, and that money came from taxpayers. We have also learned that current state Assemblyman Josh Zepnick is accused of drunkenly kissing two women in 2011 and in 2015. Zepnick has apologized, but has been stripped of his legislative committee assignments by party bosses. This is why lawmakers should resist the temptations to sweep under the rug allegations of bad behavior by our elected officials. We deserve, as taxpayers and as voters, to know when those we elect to office behave irresponsibly. Lawmakers should revist the policy to keep secret allegations of sexual assault. As we are learning, those details are almost certain to come out over time.

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Tuesday - December 5, 2017 9:41 am

Another case of "Trust us we're the government"

Politicians spend a lot of time making laws. They are, after all, called lawmakers. But while Wisconsin's elected officials are, like other politicians, good at making laws, they are also good at exempting themselves from those laws. The latest example is a decision by both democratic and republican leaders of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate to keep secret allegations of sexual harassment made against their fellow lawmakers. They are refusing to release any sexual misconduct complaints filed against our elected officials. It probably should not be a surprise that our politicians in Madison are telling us what is good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander. Consider that our legislators are not required to hold meetings in public, even though the state open meetings laws apply to every other government body. Every school district or municipal government must conduct its business in the public eye, but not the legislature which created the law. They also don't have to post meeting notices informing the public of their meeting plans. And while members of the legislature are covered by the state's open records laws, unlike other politicians, they can legally destroy their own records whenever they want. Deciding to keep secret from voters complaints of sexual misconduct from lawmakers seems to be yet another case of the politicians saying “Trust us, we're the government.”

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We are disappointed in allegations of sexual misconduct by members of the U.S. Congress, and equally disappointed to learn that in many cases the settlements reached between those in public office and their accusers have been funded by U.S. taxpayers. We have learned that the Office of Compliance, which most have never heard of, has handed out $17 million in taxpayer funds to settle lawsuits against federal employees since 1997. Equally amazing is that despite the fact that our money is being spent to settle claims against our public officials is that there is currently no record of who was accused of bad behavior, or how much of our money was spent on each case. One Wisconsin Congressman hopes to change that. Congressman Glenn Grothman has sent a letter asking that the Office of Compliance disclose the members of Congress who have settled sexual assault claims using taxpayer dollars. Further, he asks that the total amount of sexual harassment related settlements paid through the Office of Compliance be made public, and that all future sexual harassment claims be made public. Congress should go one step further, and demand that no tax money be used to settle sexual harassment claims against public officials. Congress wastes a lot of our tax money, but should not be able to use our money to cover up the bad behavior of those we elect to office.

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Lots of employers are reviewing and revising their policies against sexual harassment in the workplace, and how to respond if there are allegations. In light of the outpouring of allegations of bad behavior, that is probably a good idea. But it seems the Wisconsin legislature is going about it the wrong way. Leaders of both the Assembly and Senate say the best way to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct among its members and their staffs is to sweep it under the rug. They say any investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct should be kept secret. We disagree. If our politicians whose salaries we pay behave badly, the taxpayers should be able to know about it. Those who support burying these investigations from the public's eye claim that is because they want to protect the identity of the victims. But there are ways to do that, by blacking out names of accusers, and still releasing the investigation's findings. It seems clear that the public interest outweighs privacy concerns, especially if names are redacted. What we are seeing now with this wave of accusations, is that women gain courage to come forward when others have done so before them. Pretending harassment didn't happen won't encourage other victims to come forward. And taxpayers and voters certainly deserve to know whether the person they helped elected to office isn't respectful to women before they head to the voting booth again.

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