Coming up this week in Madison

Current law requires the Governor to deliver the biennial budget message to the Legislature on or before the last Tuesday in January this year (extensions are permitted). The Governor must also provide the Legislature with a biennial state budget report, the executive budget bill, and suggestions for the best methods for raising any additional needed revenues.

The governor requested and received a one month extension of the deadline for presenting his biennial budget. The presentation was scheduled for tomorrow at 1:30pm. Whether because he has become persona non grata at the Capitol, or because he wanted to curry even more favor with business, Governor Walker scheduled his address to the legislature for an off-site location at a local livestock feed manufacturing concern. The presentation has since been cancelled and the Republican members of the Senate were okay with his excuse (“the dog ate his homework”) so he’s been granted another delay. The speech is now scheduled for March 1.

Now many of my friends are calling the governor a manipulative SOB, but the situation is more nuanced than that. The governor is not the brightest bulb in the string, and he has a little schedule that requires him to pass the “Budget Repair Bill” before he will share his plans for the next biennium. He needs to pass that bill because it gives him carte blanche to destroy Medicaid funded services and the civil service. It is also a union busting bill and deserves to be killed for that fact alone, and the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups points out that “…passage of the bill will give Governor Walker’s administration unprecedented authority to make sweeping changes to Medicaid programs such as SeniorCare Rx, Family Care, BadgerCare, ADRC’s, the Benefit Specialists program and services provided by OCI and the Board on Aging and Long-Term Care, without public input or approval from the state legislature.” It’s these sweeping changes that he requires to shape a budget that will most benefit his supporters and incidentally slash holes in the public program safety net that supports some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

So, we have our fingers crossed that the 14 Democrats in the Senate will stay away, the Budget Repair Bill will not be passed in anything like its current form, and the governor will be faced with doing some hard work to address our state’s fiscal issues over the next few years without a blank check in his pocket drawn on the account of the middle class and the working poor.

Here in the country we’ve experienced almost 48 hours of non-stop sleet and snow and freezing rain. The ground is covered with ice and it’s the end of a three day weekend. We needed this down time, but tomorrow morning we’ll be up and scraping the ice off the wind shield and heading into town. Beth will go to work. I’ll go back to lending a body in support of the organized protest against the Koch brothers fueled hubris of Governor Walker. Here’s what I think is happening. Drop a comment in with other information if you have it. (First time commenters are moderated, but the process is easy).

  • Tuesday at 8am… Jesse Jackson addressing the students at East High School, the very kids who walked out early last week and helped spark the protests. Deke Rivers writes:

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who spoke at the Capitol on Friday, will be back in Madison to speak at 8 a.m. Tuesday outside Madison East High School, district spokesman Ken Syke said.

    Just before classes start at East High School, Jackson plans to march from First Street and East Mifflin Street to the East parking lot for a rally.

    Then Jackson will speak to East students over the loudspeaker after the school bell rings. The idea is to both inspire and welcome students back, principal Mary Kelley said.

  • The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign promises a citizen vigil resuming tomorrow and continuing through at least the middle of March.
  • The Wisconsin Wave has scheduled picketing of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce convention at Monona Terrace on Wednesday at noon followed by a rally at 4:30pm.
  • PR Watch at the Center for Media and Democracy is reporting live as the protests and demonstrations continue. Their latest update covers the Tom Morello concert ongoing now at Monona Terrace.
  • The revolution is being tweeted using hashtag #wiunion
  • Since teachers return to work on Tuesday, parents and “Friends of Wisconsin Teachers and Public Workers” will gather at the State Street entrance of the Capitol at noon to continue the vigil.