WisconsinWeekly: Democracy declining, FoodShare work requirements, VA woes

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Many residents discontented with state of democracy in Wisconsin, U.S.

Of note: This week we highlight the latest installment of our series, Undemocratic: Secrecy and Power vs. The People. This story focuses on the growing feeling among residents in Wisconsin and the United States that elected leaders are not listening to us. The story features Sheila Plotkin of McFarland, Wisconsin, who founded a grassroots group, We, the Irrelevant, to highlight the disconnect between popular sentiment and political actions in Wisconsin.

For your consideration, we also offer a story on President Donald Trump’s push to follow Wisconsin’s lead in broadening work requirements for people receiving food assistance. Other stories: A Milwaukee reporter is arrested while doing his job, Madison’s veterans’ hospital is found deficient after a mentally ill patient takes his own life; and employers fret over Trump’s visa crackdown.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Dee and Andy Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Dee is the managing editor and Andy is the executive director.

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Wisconsin residents see democracy decline, reflecting national discontent with government

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism — August 5, 2018

A recent poll commissioned by the bipartisan Democracy Project found that over two-thirds of Democrats, Republicans and independents feel very or somewhat concerned about the current state of American democracy. “Most people believe government no longer represents the people. It represents campaign donors, special interests, the wealthy,” said Sheila Plotkin, founder of We, the Irrelevant, a grassroots group dedicated to documenting the decreasing power of citizens on state government. Read more in the Undemocratic: Secrecy and Power vs. The People series.

Trump calls on Congress to attach work requirements to food stamps

The Washington Post — August 2, 2018

President Donald Trump expressed support last week for House Republicans’ plan to tighten food-stamp work requirements, pressing Senate Republicans to adopt the provision. Republicans say the work requirements provide a needed incentive for participants to move away from government assistance, while Democrats and other critics say it could lead to as many as 1 million people going hungry. Previously from WCIJ: Wisconsin to force parents to work for FoodShare, despite doubts about effectiveness

Milwaukee journalist arrested after photographing squad cars and police lot

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — August 8, 2018

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service reporter Edgar Mendez, while working on a story about police response times, was arrested after taking photographs of squad cars in a Milwaukee Police Department parking lot. An MPD spokesperson said no-trespassing signs were clearly marked, and Mendez had no press credentials on him. Mendez was issued a $181 ticket for trespassing after being handcuffed, fingerprinted and questioned at the police station.  

Madison VA hospital’s care deficient before veteran’s death by suicide, report says

Wisconsin State Journal — August 8, 2018

A new federal report shows Madison’s Veterans Hospital provided deficient care for a mentally ill patient who killed himself a day after being discharged last year. Staff didn’t hold the man for an additional 72 hours, as they could have, and there were problems with discharge planning, follow-up and outpatient pharmacy care.

Changing visa policies concern Wisconsin attorneys, universities

Wisconsin Public Radio — August 8, 2018

Immigration attorneys and other experts say changes to the way U.S. Customs and Immigration Services processes visa applications are creating uncertainty for employers and universities in Wisconsin and across the country. And they say policy changes — part of an effort to implement President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order — going into effect this summer may make things worse.

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