Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Assembly Republicans Release Legislative Agenda

The Assembly Republican Caucus held a press conference last week to unveil their 2015 Legislative Agenda.  Included in the proposed agenda are several educational initiatives. Specifically, Assembly Republicans are renewing their commitment to school choice, increased school accountability standards and replacing the Common Core with Wisconsin-specific academic standards.

The Rural Schools Task Force is mentioned and the agenda says that Assembly Republicans will “move forward with options that will make the most comprehensive and meaningful impact for rural schools, including increasing access to important classes through a state-funded digital learning portal.”

In the print version of the “Forward Agenda”, the following summary is provided of the Assembly Republicans’ plan:

Expand Public School Open Enrollment and School Choice Reform. Whether a public or
private education is preferred by a K-12 parent in Wisconsin, the most important component
of the system is making sure there is a choice. Parents and students across the state have
different goals and expectations for what a quality educational path needs to be. Choosing a
school is a personal decision and we will put the control in parents’ hands, not state bureaucracy.

Accountability for All Schools Receiving Tax Dollars. Last session, the Legislature took the
first step toward providing meaningful school accountability for our students and taxpayers.
Incentivizing excellence in growth and performance, while taking corrective measures against failing
schools is the course toward bringing all schools above the line for K-12 students in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin-based Model Academic Standards. Wisconsin schools are better with
Wisconsin-based academic standards. We will support the creation of state-based model
standards and the continued system of local control over schools.

Support for Rural Schools. The Speaker’s Task Force on Rural Schools marked an important
step forward in bringing to light challenges that are unique to smaller, rural schools.
Through the work of the Task Force, we reached out to teachers, principals and parents
to develop ideas with informed, practical and achievable solutions. We will move forward
with the options that will make the most comprehensive and meaningful impact for rural
schools, including increasing access to important classes through a state-funded
digital learning program.

The full plan is available here

Friday, October 10, 2014

Voter ID Requirement Blocked

The voter ID requirement has once again been blocked, this time by the U.S. Supreme Court on a 6-3 vote to stay a lower court’s ruling.  The vote overrides the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision that ruled the law as constitutional and had put the requirement back into effect in the past few weeks.  The state now has 90 days to appeal the appellate court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which will then either take up the case or turn down the appeal.

At this point it seems highly unlikely that the voter ID requirement will be put back in place for the upcoming general election, although Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said that he will continue to work to defend the law and hopes to have it in place by November 4th.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Voter ID Informational Resources from the GAB

Update: The voter ID requirement has been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Please see October 10th  post for more information.

As you have most likely heard, the state’s voter ID requirements will be in effect for the November 4 general election. This means that voters will need to present poll workers with an acceptable form of photo ID in order to cast a ballot on election day. If you are voting absentee, you must provide the municipal clerk with a copy of your photo ID along with your absentee ballot application if you are requesting a ballot by mail, or present your photo ID to the clerk’s office if you are voting in-person absentee (early voting).

The following photo IDs are acceptable for voting purposes, and can be unexpired or expired after the date of the most recent general election:

o A Wisconsin DOT-issued driver license, even if driving privileges are revoked or suspended
o A Wisconsin DOT-issued identification card
o Military ID card issued by a U.S. uniformed service
o A U.S. passport book or card

Other types of IDs are also acceptable but must be unexpired. To see the full list, click here.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is providing free state ID cards for voting. To learn about getting a free Wisconsin ID card, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website:http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/idcard.htm.

The Government Accountability Board has launched a new website to help voters better understand the new photo ID requirements for voting and what they’ll need to bring with them to the polls on November 4.  Take a look at Bring it to the Ballot for comprehensive information on voter ID:  http://www.bringit.wi.gov/

In-person Absentee Voting

If you are planning on voting early at your municipal clerk’s office, you may do so from October 20 to October 31. Weekend voting is no longer permitted in Wisconsin, so clerks’ offices can only provide voters with a ballot Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.

Finding your polling place and seeing who is on your ballot

To find your polling place and see what will be on your ballot, follow this link.