NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Assembly lawmakers passed legislation Tuesday that would require police officers be stationed in public schools experiencing high numbers of reported crimes — a proposal that comes at a time when Milwaukee city leaders are planning to boost police presence at city schools.

Under legislation proposed by Republican lawmakers, a school district would be required to hire an armed school resource officer for schools experiencing at least 100 incidents of serious crimes on school grounds within one semester and at least 25 of those result in an arrest.

The rule would apply to crimes of homicide, sexual assault, burglary, robbery, theft, battery, possession or use of illegal drugs, firearm possession and disorderly conduct.

“Students and faculty need to feel safe when they’re at schools,” Bill co-authors Rep. Nik Rettinger of Mukwonago and Cindi Duchow of the Town of Delafield said in a co-sponsorship memo to colleagues seeking support for the proposal. “Students, especially in light of the struggles experienced through virtual learning, should always have a school environment that encourages educational development and allows them to flourish.”

Rettinger said Tuesday he did not believe school districts already paying for resource officers would be eligible under the bill to receive funding to offset their costs.

Rep. LaKeshia Myers, a Democratic lawmaker who attended and previously worked as an educator in MPS, said state lawmakers should respect the district’s school board’s decision to employ security staff to avoid unnecessary arrests during behavioral incidents as opposed to contract with the police department.

The district employs 231 unarmed school safety staff members.

In 2020, the Milwaukee Public Schools board voted unanimously to stop paying Milwaukee police officers to patrol outside its buildings and events — a move school leaders made in the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

If the Assembly bill taken up Tuesday were to become law, MPS could be required to post armed officers inside its buildings for the first time in seven years. In 2016, school district officials ended the practice in response to complaints about police unnecessarily citing and arresting students for incidents that could have been handled as disciplinary matters by the district.

The bill is supported by the Milwaukee and statewide police unions and opposed by Milwaukee Public Schools, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, Disability Rights Wisconsin and groups representing school psychologists and social workers.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The toll of reckless driving in Wisconsin was made clear Tuesday at a state Senate committee hearing on bills that would increase penalties and allow the impounding of vehicles in certain situations.

One bill would raise fines and other penalties for reckless driving offenses.

It would also change the current law, which increases the penalty for a second reckless driving offense only if that offense happens within four years of the first offense. Instead, that four-year time frame would be removed, allowing for the increased penalties to be imposed regardless of the length of time between the first and second offenses, according to an analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau.

The second bill would allow local governments to enact an ordinance permitting police to impound vehicles used in reckless driving when the person cited for reckless driving owns the vehicle and has not paid the fine for a prior reckless driving conviction.

Both bills have bipartisan support, said state Rep. Bob Donovan, R-Greenfield, who served on the Milwaukee Common Council for 20 years and co-sponsored the legislation.

The legislation “seeks to curb this rising issue by strengthening penalties and providing another tool for police to deter criminals from habitually reoffending,” he told the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Tuesday.

He and others noted that while Milwaukee makes headlines for its reckless driving deaths and crashes, the issue is also affecting communities statewide.

The city (of Milwaukee) backs both pieces of legislation.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is weighing a potential 2024 Senate run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

After Clarke launched a new politically-focused podcast this week, a representative for the controversial former sheriff said Clarke “would never take anything off the table as it relates to his future.”

“As time goes on, he may make a determination of what to do with the branding he has built up over the years, but not now,” Judy Wilkinson, a Clarke spokeswoman, said in a statement that was first reported by the Daily Beast.

“He has said to me on more than one occasion that in politics, timing is everything, and he will continue to take life one day at a time.”

Republicans have yet to announce an official challenge to Baldwin. But potential GOP challengers include Madison businessman Eric Hovde, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and former U.S. Rep. and current Fox News personality Sean Duffy.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Highway fatalities are on the rise again — 46,000 in the U.S. in 2022, up 22%, according to numbers released last week. How many of those deaths involved distracted driving?

“It’s much bigger than the data show,” said Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Data collection methods are so riddled with problems, he said, that reliable estimates are difficult if not impossible.

But if those methods aren’t improved, and soon, Landsberg said, the carnage induced by unsafe use of cellphones and other forms or distracted driving will continue.

“This is an epidemic,” he said. And it’s not just deaths. “Everybody talks about fatalities, but there are hundreds of thousands or more life-altering injuries — broken limbs, brain injuries, horrible burns. This doesn’t have to happen. These crashes are not accidents. They are completely preventable.”

The most recent figures available from NHTSA show that of 38,824 highway deaths in pandemic year 2020, 3,142 were due to distracted driving — less than 10%. NHTSA tallied 324,652 distracted driving injuries.

Among experts in the field, NHTSA’s numbers are widely regarded as gross underestimates. The National Distracted Driving Coalition estimates the actual numbers lie between 25% to 30%, but no one can say for sure.

—The LA Times

Illinois has passed a law ordering businesses to give workers paid leave for any reason.

The state becomes one of three that requires employers to offer the generous leave benefits, after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the law on Mar. 14, which will take effect next year on Jan. 1, reported the Associated Press.

“Too many people can’t afford to miss even a day’s pay … together we continue to build a state that truly serves as a beacon for families, and businesses, and good-paying jobs,” said Pritzker during the signing.

Maine and Nevada are the other two states that allow earned paid time off and force employers to allow their workers how to use it.

Companies in Illinois will now offer workers paid time off based on hours worked, without explaining the reason for their absence. Workers still have to provide notice in accordance with reasonable employer standards.

The main difference between the Illinois law and the other states is that it is unencumbered by limits based on business size.

Similar regulations mandate that employers offer paid sick leave in 14 states and in Washington, D.C., but is only required for health-related reasons.

—The Epoch Times

A Republican state senator in Minnesota said Tuesday he was voting against a bill to provide free breakfast and lunch for school students in part because he’d never encountered anyone in the state who was hungry.

“I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that is hungry,” Sen. Steve Drazkowski said in remarks on the floor of the State Capitol in St. Paul before voting on the legislation. “I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that says they don’t have access to enough food to eat.”

“Now, I should say that hunger is a relative term,” added Drazkowski, 58. “I had a cereal bar for breakfast. I guess I’m hungry now.”

The bill’s author, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Sen. Heather Gustafson, said it’s estimated that almost 275,000 students in the state get free and reduced-price school meals. She said another 18% of students who would be likely to qualify haven’t submitted the necessary paperwork.

“Roughly 1 in 6 children are food insecure — that means they don’t know when and where their next meal will be available, if they get one at all,” Gustafson said.

She said passing the measure, which would cost $420 million over the next two years, is “the right thing to do.”

The measure passed by a vote of 38-26 and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz.

Drazkowski called the bill “pure socialism,” adding, “This is about the government dictating to kids what they’re going to eat and how much they’re going to eat.”

—NBC News

Andrew Bogut, a former NBA star who won a championship with the Golden State Warriors (and played for the Milwaukee Bucks at one time), slammed an Australian women’s basketball league for allowing a transgender female to play in the league.

Bogut addressed the issue in a tweet and called on “Girl Dads” to speak up about the issue.

“Word is @NBL1 South Women will have a biological Male playing this upcoming season,” he wrote. “Are you ok with sacrificing the sanctity of Female Sport in the name of ‘inclusion’?

#GirlDads where are you? The hashtag is trendy until action is needed.”

The former No. 1 overall NBA draft pick further explained in a video posted to his Instagram.

“The [NBL1 South] clubs were asked for their opinion on it, comically. None of them did in fear of losing their jobs,’ he said, though no coaches have commented on the matter,” he said.

Bogut added, “I’ve got nothing against people who want to transition as adults…. I do have an issue however that you feel that you can infiltrate women’s sport.”

—FOX News


In the middle of a banking crisis, a border crisis, a crime crisis, the opioid crisis, an inflation crisis, an environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, and a war spiraling out of control in Europe, President Biden chose to sit down for an interview with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

And the “big issue” making headlines from that interview is that the president of the United States, the leader of the free world, is really, really, really, very, very opposed to state laws protecting young children from mutilating, life-changing surgeries.

Referring to recent actions by officials in Florida to prevent transgender surgeries and powerful chemical treatments on children, Biden said, “What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, ‘close to sinful.’ I mean, it’s just terrible what they’re doing.”

Protecting children is “sinful” and “terrible”? Once again, Biden has it exactly backwards.

Most of the world is rejecting this insanity for obvious reasons. Sterilizing children, who cannot comprehend the serious consequences involved, is sinful. Profiteering off of confused children is sinful.

We do not need lectures from Joe Biden about “sin.”

This is a guy who gets up every morning trying to figure out how he can guarantee more dead innocent babies through abortion on demand.

This is a guy who routinely commits the sin of fomenting racial discord.

This is a guy who lies over and over again, even after he’s corrected.

By the way, Biden lied yet again during “The Daily Show” interview, claiming that he supported gay marriage as a high school senior in 1961. But he spoke out against it and voted against it for the next 50 years!

America deserves better than this dishonest demagogue.

—Gary Bauer

Joe Biden is infringing on Americans’ Second Amendment rights yet again as he plans to sign another executive order targeting firearms. According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Biden’s order will target gun dealers who break the law in an effort to move “the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible.” Biden’s EO directs Garland to clarify who is “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. As an administration official explained:

“Number one, to make it clear that those who are willfully violating the law need to come into compliance with the law and, number two, to make it clear to people who may not realize that, under that statutory definition they are indeed in the business of selling firearms, they must become federally licensed firearm dealers and they must run background checks before gun sales.” The order is also reported to include a “safe storage” directive. One thing’s for certain: This is not about keeping Americans safe but about expanding the government’s control over law-abiding Americans and shrinking their freedom.

—The Patriot Post


The Godfather, an epic drama about organized crime, premiered to universal acclaim; the Academy Award-winning film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starred Al Pacino and Marlon Brando.

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One thought on “NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Wednesday, March 15, 2023

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (03/20/2023) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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