Harter Not Among Leaders Crying Foul on Budget Repair Bill
Many local leaders don't support Scott Walker. Mayors, school board members, county board supervisors, and even town clerks from all over the state have signed a letter condemning proposed changes to collective bargaining in governor Walker's budget repair bill. La Crosse mayor Matt Harter says he's more inclined to see how the whole budget repair bill turns out before passing judgment. Harter says he'd like to see some agreement on the legislation but, he says, "we gotta change something."
Fears Abound Over Health Assistance in Wisconsin
Medicaid programs in Wisconsin face huge potential changes if governor Walker's proposed budget repair bill gets signed into law. The extent of those changes are hard to gauge accurately right now, says Bob Jacobson from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, but over a million people could be affected by changes to Badger Care and similar programs. And unilateral changes made under the bill and not approved by the feds would likely result in tens of thousands adults and children losing their state health coverage altogether.
Jacobson's group believes some of the changes that Walker wants to work in the state's Medicaid system are, at the least, a blatant power grab by the governor. At the most, a violation of the state's constitution.
Snow, Yes. Tickets, No.
A hundred tickets for homeowners could have been written by now in La Crosse. It's been at least a hundred homes this winter that have had their snow-covered walks cleared by the city's contractor. And those property owners are already facing bills for the clearing: $2.50 per foot, plus a fifty dollar administration fee. But, so far, the city has yet to write a single ticket for a messy walk. The city engineer's office tells us, although it's not official policy, with sidewalk tickets they're generally adhering to the "three strikes and you're out" philosophy.
Heim: Dems Disappearance Not Completely Dumb
The week-long hiatus of the state senate democrats from Wisconsin continues. And UW La Crosse political scientist Joe Heim says absconding from their jobs wasn't a completely useless thing to do in the face of legislation they couldn't prevent from passing.
Heim says democrats wanted to get some compromises from governor Walker on his controversial budget repair bill. When those compromises weren't forthcoming, their last move to stall the bill was to just leave the state.
Are School Layoff's Coming???
Just as Lacrosse School Superintendent, Jerry Kember, tried to get a clear picture as to what the district's financial state would be in the coming weeks......another bomb was dropped.
Wisconsin's public school administrators are being advised to approve preliminary layoff notices for staff by the end of the month -- even before they find out how much the state is expected to contribute to their budgets.
The Wisconsin Association of School Boards is urging local school officials to decide on staff cuts by Monday, or risk having those layoffs challenged later in court. State law requires school districts to provide staff layoff notices by March 15 for the following school year. Teachers must also receive a preliminary notice 15 days before that.
The state's collective bargaining law has allowed school boards to delay that deadline with the union's permission. Association attorney Barry Forbes says those deadlines could be wiped out with the passage of Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill.