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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast with Haze
The Daily

NEWS

Wisconsin appeals court says Voter ID law's photo requirement constitutional (updated)

A Wisconsin appeals court ruled Thursday that the state's Voter ID law is constitutional. The ruling overturns a March 2012 decision by Dane County Judge Richard Niess that declared the law, passed by Republicans in 2011, unconstitutional and enjoined state officials from implementing it. >More
 Mike Tate faces challenge for Wisconsin Democratic Party chair

Democratic Party elections are usually internal affairs, but this year's ballot is generating an unusual amount of interest, particularly among critics who blame party leaders for the brutal electoral defeats sustained in recent years by Wisconsin Democrats. Since 2009, Democrats lost control of both houses of the state Legislature and the governor's office; failed to oust Gov. Scott Walker in an expensive and exhausting recall election; and were unable to unseat two Republican-backed incumbents on the state Supreme Court. >More
 The downtown hotel boom: Should Madison chip in to add more rooms for Monona Terrace?

The way Sanford DeWitt sees it, there are two kinds of travelers. There are the "spreadsheet guys," who "have to have everything planned out, have to have an itinerary." "They're going to stay at a Hyatt," he says. The other type of traveler is the "adventurer." This kind of person might book a hotel just a couple of hours in advance. They wouldn't be caught dead in any sort of organized tour, and they hate chain restaurants. The adventurer wants to get out and explore a city, ideally on foot or bike, to see what the homegrown culture has to offer. >More
 Where have all of Wisconsin's jury trials gone?

Daniel Moeser retired in 2011 as the longest-serving judge in Dane County history. He says that in his time on the bench, which spanned 32 years, there was a dramatic change in the types of cases that came to trial. "We've had an obvious increase in the number of juvenile, criminal and family law cases, while the personal injury and civil cases have almost dried up," he says. "Some day soon you may see no more civil cases; they will all be handled out of the courtroom. >More
 Wisconsin Legislature moves to ban local laws on food, public health

Brandon Scholz calls it "a vast, right-wing conspiracy." He's being facetious; he says it with a laugh. The president and CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, Scholz is talking about a state budget provision to prohibit local governments from restricting the sale of food or nonalcoholic beverages based on "calories, portion size, or other nutritional criteria." >More
 Mary Ellen Bell discusses Wisconsin state Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) on WORT

Isthmus contributor Mary Ellen Bell reports on Rep. Taylor's rising star in the May 23 issue and discussed her story with WORT news director Molly Stentz on the same day's installment of In Our Backyard. >More
 A different take on Wisconsin public employee 'double-dipping'

William Holahan takes issue with Republican efforts to curb the practice of so-called double-dipping by public employees, starting with the moniker. Double-dipping, says the retired UW-Milwaukee economics professor, is when you hold two jobs at once and do justice to neither. It is not when you hold "one job and then another" in succession. >More
 Local microfinance group Working Capital for Community Needs helps alleviate poverty

Coffee is a fickle crop. Production depends on the amount of rainfall, soil composition, pests, sun exposure and disease. Too much or too little of anything, and the output falls. Unpredictable rainy seasons and a new fungus have reduced yields in Central America and made income even less dependable in recent years. Farmers must usually wait until after coffee has been processed and exported to get paid, and often run out of money between harvests, forcing them to borrow or do without. >More
 Wisconsin Republicans ready slew of abortion bills

Republican lawmakers this week began circulating a number of bills aimed at regulating abortion services, restricting insurance coverage for abortions and birth control and bolstering constitutional protections for religious groups and activities. The bills would exempt faith-based groups from the 2009 state law requiring that all insurance policies with a prescription drug benefit also cover prescription contraceptives; ban coverage of abortion services in public employee health plans; and spell out requirements for the disposal of fetal remains. >More
 American Federation for Children's campaign donations grease skids for school vouchers in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has long played a pivotal role in the national movement to redirect taxpayer dollars to private, often parochial schools. And money -- much of it from out-of-state -- has played a huge part in that process. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog, recently reported that "wealthy campaign contributors and shadowy electioneering groups" spent nearly $10 million in Wisconsin over the past decade to back school voucher programs. >More
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