Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to replace problem-ridden teen prison with five smaller centers lauded — and criticized
Of note: Gov. Scott Walker announced plans to close the Lincoln Hills teen prison while opening five regional teen prisons. Lincoln Hills would be turned into an adult facility to ease crowding in adult prisons. The proposal was embraced by some Democrats who also labeled it an election-year attempt to defuse an issue that could be used against him. Thanks for reading WisconsinWeekly, a selective roundup of news for people in, or interested in, Wisconsin. WisconsinWeekly is produced by us — Andy and Dee J. Hall, founders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
A week after Republicans in the state Legislature voted to gut the public records law in 2015, members of the Assembly sought to quell backlash over the plan. A resolution that passed 96-1 affirms that the Assembly “remains committed to our state’s open record and open government laws and policies, and will take all necessary steps to ensure that these laws and policies are preserved without modification or degradation.”
Fast-forward two-and-a-half years: Has the Assembly kept its promise? Here are some recent events to consider. In November, Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller and Senate Chief Clerk Jeffrey Renk denied public records requests from multiple news organizations for records of personnel and sexual harassment investigations. Among other reasons for withholding the documents, the clerks claimed disclosure would have a chilling effect on employees’ use of the Legislature’s internal complaint process.
We took a deep dive into our archives to rank the top 10 stories we’ve ever published — a fitting way, we believe, to celebrate the dawn of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s 10th year of operations, which begins this month! These investigative reports provided insights into issues shaping Wisconsin, as residents’ lives were roiled, and sometimes uplifted, by political, social and economic forces. Read the countdown below and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to have the Center’s new reports sent straight to your inbox. 10. State passes up federal disabilities aid for jobless, despite backlogs
By Tegan Wendland, July 14, 2013
In this story, WCIJ found that Wisconsin was forfeiting $14.2 million in federal funds for job training for the disabled, which meant that thousands of people with disabilities faced long waiting lists to access state employment resources. After we reported the story, Gov. Scott Walker reversed his stance and accepted the money, wiping out a waiting list and allowing thousands of people to get to work. 9. Lost signals, disconnected lives
By Mario Koran, March 24, 2013
This investigation explored GPS monitoring of offenders in Wisconsin.
Ghost of John Does past haunts Wisconsin officials
Of note: This week we highlight the fallout triggered by Attorney General Brad Schimel’s release of a Dec. 6 investigative report calling for a prosecutor and eight other officials to be held in contempt of court over leaked documents from a closed John Doe probe into campaign activities of Gov. Scott Walker. Among the revelations in Schimel’s report was a previously undisclosed investigation by the now-shuttered Government Accountability Board into potential illegal campaigning by GOP lawmakers. We present the stories in chronological order so you can see how the controversy over the records leaked to The Guardian played out earlier this month. For background on John Doe I, which led to the other two investigations, read our 2015 story.
Worker’s compensation woes exposed
Of note: This week, we highlight one of our stories, which reports that some injured workers in Wisconsin are having a harder time qualifying for worker’s compensation after appointees of Gov. Scott Walker took full control of the Labor and Industry Review Commission, which hears such disputes. In another story, featuring photos by the Center’s own Coburn Dukehart, NPR reports that Wisconsin is among the states that do not ban evictions during cold weather months. WisconsinWeekly is produced by us, Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor. P.S. There are less than two weeks left to see your donation to the Center doubled by #NewsMatch.
Accusations of unwanted kissing, taxpayers fund a $75,000 settlement, but Capitol leaders try to keep the public outside
Of note: The national avalanche of sexual harassment allegations arrives at the Capitol as The Cap Times and the Wisconsin State Journal reveal previously secret sexual harassment accusations lodged against two state lawmakers. State Rep. Josh Zepnick, D-Milwaukee, accused of unwanted kissing by two women in 2011 and 2015, has refused to resign. Former state Sen. Spencer Coggs, a Democrat from Milwaukee, has denied allegations that he harassed his former aide, who received a $75,000 taxpayer-funded settlement in 2015. Legislative leaders told media outlets there are three other such complaints but declined to release them. WisconsinWeekly is produced by us, Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
A deep look at the Proud Boys, hate and bias in Wisconsin, and more
Welcome to our selective roundup of news stories we think Wisconsin residents, or people who care about the state, need to know about. Of note: We offer a series of stories that are particularly resonant today. Our latest Documenting Hate story, reported for the Center and Wisconsin Public Radio by Alexandra Hall, traces the rise of a new, anti-feminism, pro-’Western values’ group, the Proud Boys. And the Center’s former reporting fellow, Mukhtar Ibrahim, discusses his story on the rise in hate and bias incidents in Wisconsin on WPR’s Central Time. WisconsinWeekly is produced by us, Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
Whistleblowing traditionally has been seen as a public-private effort to expose wrongdoing, said Patrick Burns, associate director of Taxpayers Against Fraud, whose group works to protect and advance the cause of whistleblowers.