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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Friday - February 23, 2018 9:00 am

Universal background checks could help

It used to be, school was a place where students could feel safe. Not so much anymore. Some students are afraid they may become victims of the next school shooting, while their parents worry and hope that won't be the case. Some think the answer to stopping these tragedies is to put more guns in schools. President Trump and others have suggested arming some teachers after properly training them. While it is possible having armed teachers could have stopped these mass shootings sooner, the answer to solving this problem is not to put more guns in our schools. How does that make our children feel safer? A better answer is to keep guns out of the hands of those who intend to cause harm. That is not easy, and not foolproof. But one step that could be taken is to approve universal background checks for gun purchases. In Wisconsin, the law only requires those purchasing guns from licensed gun dealers undergo background checks. There is no requirement that those who purchase weapons at gun shows or from private parties undergo background checks. That would be a simple step that works. In states which have adopted universal background checks there has been a 50% drop in gun deaths for women in abusive relationships and for police officers. But Wisconsin lawmakers have refused to adopt this common sense legislation. It makes sense to keep guns, no matter where they are purchased, out of the hands of those who don't deserve them.

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Thursday - February 22, 2018 9:25 am

Fixing Lincoln Hills urgent, but don't rush it

It is important that Wisconsin figure out a new system for housing the state's most troubled juvenile offenders. But it is better to get it right than to get it done quickly. Governor Scott Walker had proposed shutting the Lincoln Hills school for boys by this spring. That deadline is now wisely being pushed back. Especially since the Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its session as soon as this week. While it is important to fix this problem soon, it is not an issue that should be rushed, as there are many moving parts. Walker's plan is to close Lincoln Hills, turn it into an adult prison, and send the juvenile inmates now housed there to one of five smaller, regional juvenile facilities to be located across the state. Those facilities would be run by the counties in which they are located. It was likely unrealistic all of that could be accomplished in just a matter of months. Slowing down the process gives an opportunity for more voices to be heard. What has happened at Lincoln Hills is an embarrassment, with an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of the abuse of inmates by guards. The system needs to be fixed. But the state also needs to make sure it takes the time to get this one right.

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Wednesday - February 21, 2018 9:54 am

Wisconsin lawmakers ready to call it a year

We can't continue to fool ourselves any longer. The Wisconsin Legislature is full-time in name only. Members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate remain in session in Madison, tackling a number of bills Governor Scott Walker proposed, such as forcing Welfare recipients to work more. But it is members of the Legislature who aren't working much. The Assembly hopes to wrap up its session later this week, with the Senate expected to adjourn in March. Then they are done. For the year. According to the Wisconsin legislative calendar, after they send the remaining bills to the Governor, they have nothing on their calendar for the remainder of 2018. Keep in mind, it is only February, and our lawmaker's work for the entire year is nearly done. Yet our lawmakers continue to draw a full-time salary for what is clearly a part-time job. They earn an average of about $50,000, plus what they claim in travel and lodging expenses. That can top $100 per day per lawmaker. Why are we paying them a full-time salary when they taking the rest of the year off? Lots of states have part-time legislators, and in some cases they are putting in more time than Wisconsin's lawmakers. It is time to put an end to this boondoggle and either demand more of our elected officials, or cut their pay to reflect the amount of work they actually accomplish.

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Tuesday - February 20, 2018 6:30 am

All elections are important, including today's

Today is an important day. It may not seem so to most people. They will choose to sit out this opportunity to participate in our democratic process by casting a ballot. It is election day today in Wisconsin, where voters are asked to make only a handful of choices. But the choices are important nonetheless. On the ballot statewide is just one race, a primary election for a seat on Wisconsin’s highest court. Three candidates are running in today’s primary to succeed Michael Gableman on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The top two vote getters will meet in the general election. In La Crosse county, voters are being asked to determine which of two democratic candidates should run for the position of county treasurer. You may think these races aren’t important, or that you don’t know enough about the candidates, or that your vote doesn’t matter. But the races are important. There is still time to research the positions of the candidates. And your vote does matter. More so today than in most elections, with turnout likely to be only around 10 percent. Today’s primary is important, as are all elections. Be sure to make your voice heard today.

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Sunday - February 18, 2018 1:45 pm

PRAT DOA in Madison

PRAT goes splat. An idea to allow La Crosse county to levy a special tax known as a Premier Resort Area Tax, or PRAT, looks to be DOA in the Wisconsin Legislature. And that is a good thing. La Crosse County voters said yes to the idea of creating the additional half cent sales tax, but that was just an advisory referendum. In order for the plan to advance, the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate would have had to agree. And while there are still a few days remaining in the current legislative session, it appears this bill won’t get so much as a hearing. The idea was to use the money raised by the increased sales tax to raise money to pay for repairing our roads, since the state hasn’t. But the plan was flawed. It wouldn’t just be a tax on tourists. It would have been a tax on many common items people in La Crosse buy. And while the money would go to fix county roads, most of the money raised by the tax would come from people living in the city of La Crosse. It is clear something needs to be done to fix our crumbling roads, but establishing this new tax was not the right way to do it.

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We should all try to eat healthy. It is easier for some than others. We have seen the growth in organic foods, and many makers of prepackaged foods have removed fillers and dyes in favor of whole grains and natural flavors. But those who receive food stamps in Wisconsin are being told they may have to eat healthy. The Wisconsin Assembly is again considering forcing those who receive food stamps to purchase only healthy foods. There are many problems with this idea. Just who is to determine what constitutes a healthy food? We can agree that bananas are healthy, but what about red meat? Do we want the politicians to decide what foods are healthy? And often, so-called healthy foods are more expensive than junk food, so food stamps wouldn't go as far. And what is the point of all this? It isn't to save money, because the federal government funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The state only helps with administrative costs. And if the goal is to encourage people to eat healthy, then shouldn't food stamps be able to be used to purchase organic foods? Under the current proposal, purchases of organic foods would be limited. If the goal is to ensure those receiving public benefits don't waste our money on chips and sodas, then shouldn't that apply to our state lawmakers as well? They take more of our tax dollars than those on food stamps. And most of them could stand to lose a few pounds anyway.

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Thursday - February 15, 2018 9:19 am

Even bigger bucks for Supreme Court candidates

We knew this day would come, and it has. Wisconsin state lawmakers rewrote the state's campaign finance laws in 2015, essentially removing limits on campaign donations and making it harder to learn where the money comes from. The result is more money than ever is being spent by special interests to determine who wins Wisconsin's elections. Look no further than the news that one candidate for next week's Wisconsin Supreme Court primary has been given a big check by the Republican Party of Wisconsin. They gave $111,000 to Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock's campaign, despite the fact that the race for a seat on Wisconsin's highest court is non-partisan. And they could give more. The limits on how much Supreme Court candidates can raise for an election are out the window. Also gone are limits on how much an individual can donate. It is no suprise then that we are seeing these big checks being written, even by political parties in races which are non-partisan. This creates at least the appearance of impropriety by judges beholden after cashing those checks. Supreme Court justices could diffuse that by tightening rules on judicial recusal, but current members of the high court have refused to do that. It appears that thanks to changes to campaign finance laws, justice is suddenly for sale in Wisconsin.

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Wisconsin lawmakers are doing some good. Even for others than themselves. Members of the Wisconsin Assembly have approved legislation to waive tuition and fees for foster children who want to attend University of Wisconsin schools as well as state technical colleges. It isn't often our elected representatives take action to help those who need it most. After all, it is not like foster kids have some powerful lobbyist group or political action committee. It is not like they are donating money to those in office. But this bill has bipartisan support and is expected to become law. If so, Wisconsin would join 28 other states which already offer some form of post-secondary tuition for foster children. They would be eligible for free tuition for those foster children who meet certain criteria. Even their fees would be waived. These kids deserve our help. By no fault of their own, they have been kicked to the curb, swallowed up by the system. Few have been willing to give them a helping hand. It is estimated 4600 foster children in Wisconsin could qualify for free schooling, and that won't come cheap. But think of the payback. By attending college or tech school these kids will gain employment skills and increase the likelihood they will end up with a job instead of taking a less stable path that could lead them to jail. Our lawmakers deserve praise for doing what is right and helping those who have experienced such hardships at a young age.

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Tuesday - February 13, 2018 9:00 am

A better way for the state to fund roads

The answer was swift and short. No. That is the response from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to the city of La Crosse. Mayor Tim Kabat has proposed that the city of La Crosse repave La Crosse Street, one of the city's worst roads, and then send the bill to the DOT. That won't be happening. In fact, according to the DOT, state statute forbids it. That is because La Crosse Street is also part of Highway 16, a state roadway. While the city can patch up the road, it is the state's job to reconstruct it. But the state doesn't plan to redo La Crosse Street until 2025, seven years from now. Mayor Kabat is right, we can't wait that long to fix that crumbling stretch of road. There is something wrong with the system if a road that threatens to swallow cars doesn't get on the DOT's radar until years after it has already fallen apart. Perhaps a better system would allow Wisconsin cities to decide how state road money should be spent. That would be the local control they often give lip service to. The people who drive our roads everyday should be the ones to determine when a road is no longer drivable. Just add up the miles of roads in La Crosse and every other Wisconsin city and give them each so much per mile to fix them. It wouldn't cost more than we're spending now, but would allow local governments to decide how that money would be spent. That way we, not Madison, would decide when our roads need a facelift.

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Monday - February 12, 2018 9:27 am

Budget deal hardly "real governing"

Their hands must be sore, they have been so busy patting themselves on the back in Washington. Congress is giddy after finally passing a government spending bill that allowed the federal government to reopen after yet another brief shutdown. You’d think they had won the Super Bowl. But in fact, all they did was spend our money, a lot of it, to buy votes. There was a lot of mutual back scratching in this pricey deal. A $400 billion spending bill. More money for both the military and domestic programs. Senator Chuck Schumer hailed the deal, calling it real governing. How is barely being able to keep the government open then throwing our money around real governimg? The bill contains an $80 billion increase in spending for defense. Nondefense programs will get another $60 billion, on top of existing spending. And those numbers will rise yet again the following year. Why is spending more of our money the best answer they can come up with? Why is the answer never to reduce spending? To take a critical look at what we are spending, and what we are getting in return. That would be real governing.

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