Milwaukee attorney Matt Flynn will remain among the field of candidates for Wisconsin's Democratic gubernatorial primary, despite calls for him to drop out because of his role defending the Milwaukee Archdiocese in sexual abuse lawsuits. Women's March Wisconsin recently called on Flynn to withdraw from the race, but Flynn's campaign manager, Bryan Kennedy, said the criticism amounts to an attempt "to take someone who is a likely frontrunner out of this race, and to attack him for priest sex abuse when he's the one who actually cleaned up the problem."
Nursing homes and assisted living centers in Wisconsin are experiencing an increasing workforce shortage, according to a recent report from a group of provider organizations.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has the biggest war chest among Wisconsin's House members going into his 2018 re-election bid, a WisPolitics.com check of the FEC site shows. The La Crosse Democrat, who's facing GOP opponent Steve Toft, ended the quarter with more than $3 million cash on hand after raising $246,573 over the first three months of the year. Kind spent $288,942 over the period, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31. He outraised Toft, who brought in $82,268 over the period to end with $103,152 cash on hand. Toft also spent $32,224.
Paul Ryan has been a member of Congress, chair of the House Budget Committee, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, GOP vice presidential nominee, and now — departing speaker. While speculation has swirled about his future in early 2018, Ryan has been out raising millions and millions of dollars for his Republican colleagues as they faced the prospect of a blue wave hitting in November.
First, an unexpected Democratic victory in western Wisconsin's 10th Senate District, a seat that had long been in Republican hands. Then, the virtual Democratic candidate in the officially nonpartisan Supreme Court race trounced the candidate with $400,000 in backing from the state Republican Party. And in June, special elections in two legislative seats could add to Democrats' momentum in this big election year. In November, GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin will stand for re-election.
GOP state Rep. John Spiros has tried in back-to-back sessions to push legislation that would crack down on sanctuary cities. After it didn't get a committee vote in his house and never made it in the Senate, he's not sure he's going to try a third time. "It's like anything else at the end of session," Spiros said. "I don't resurrect every time. I want to see what the need is."
Who needs term limits? With the two-year legislative session coming to a close, and elections looming, a host of familiar names are moving on to retirement, new jobs or bids for higher office. In the 33-member state Senate, at least five senators who started the 2017-18 session will be gone from the roll call when a new two-year session starts in January. And in the 99-member state Assembly, the count as of March 20 for state representatives who started the 2017-18 session but won't be in the chamber come January stood at 11.
Donald Trump's win in Wisconsin still lingers in the minds of national Democrats. The "firewall" for Hillary Clinton went to Trump in 2016, the first time a Republican had won the presidential race in the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984. The loss still stings for Democrats, especially for those who helped Barack Obama win here twice. So it shouldn't be surprising that Obama's former attorney general, Eric Holder, is active in a national group that is very active in Wisconsin. Holder chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Rep. John Macco, chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, suggests a comprehensive tax overhaul could include cutting $2.5 billion worth of state exemptions. "I think there's several anomalies," he said at a panel discussion Jan. 31 at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. "So if you take a look at sales tax, we collect $5 million worth of sales tax, but we have $6 million worth of sales tax exemptions."
Workers, advocates and Democratic state lawmakers met on the 25th anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to speak against GOP legislation they say would curtail protections for workers.