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Donald Trump rips GOP plan on drop boxes
Monday's big political news?
That would be former President Donald Trump, resident of Florida, blowing up an emerging plan for Republicans in Wisconsin drawing up election laws.
The key issue: drop boxes for ballots.
Journal Sentinel reporter Molly Beck has all the details of this tangled tale.
Beck writes one of the package of GOP election bills "would set rules for ballot drop boxes, limiting their number and location. A draft of the legislation was posted by the conservative website Gateway Pundit on Sunday morning, a day before Trump issued a news release on the measure saying the 'fools are playing right into the Democrats’ hand.' "
Within hours of Trump's statement, Assembly speaker Robin Vos distanced himself from the election plan, and Republicans eyeing the governor's office signaled they would not sign the measure if they were elected.
Meanwhile, an appeals court reinstated absentee ballot drop boxes for the Feb. 15 Wisconsin primary election.
The decision by the District 4 Court of Appeals affects only the Feb. 15 primary. The appeals court will decide later what rules will be in place for elections after that.
And then there's another story about Vos' view on drop boxes. Turns out, he didn't want to talk about election matters when he met the press on Tuesday.
Drop boxes: A Democratic view
When Vice President Kamala Harris came to Milwaukee Monday to tout the $1 trillion infrastructure law and the Biden administration's plan to get rid of lead pipes, we had a chance to talk with her about several issues, including drop boxes.
She told us: "Drop boxes, well, you know if you're talking about a single mom or dad, those three kids in the back seat acting up, you don't have the ability to stand in line for maybe hours to vote. You want to vote, you've got three reasons in your back seat why you need to vote. So what does that mean for a drop box? It means you can fill (a ballot) out at home when they're sleeping and then put the kids in the back seat drive by and just drop it off.
"It's about making it easier for people to vote," Harris added.
Harris said that as vice president she meets with presidents and prime ministers and "they're watching what we're doing. Because you see we hold ourselves out as a model of a democracy. We go to other nations, say, 'you know corruption issues, you know, human rights issues.' We have the authority to speak to these things and say people should do better. Well, if we're in the midst of in our own country of eroding one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy, which is free and fair elections, we're going to compromise our standing around the globe.
"So this is not only about a fundamental right that the American people have to vote and to determine who will be their elected leaders. It's also a real statement about what might be a real erosion of our democracy and one of the most important pillars of that democracy, which is voting."
More cash rolls into Madison
Patrick Marley reports that Wisconsin will take in $2.9 billion more through mid-2023 than originally projected.
Gee, wonder how politicians might handle that during an election year?
As expected, Republicans signaled they'd like to hold off on using the cash — after all, they could be working with a newly-elected GOP governor during the next budget season.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who faces the voters in the fall, would like to see the money put to use now.
"We will not be foolish with these tax dollars by spending them into the future," Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, a Republican from Oostburg, said in a statement. "Rather, we will focus on further tax relief in the next budget to continue our state on a positive trajectory and ensure the long-term health of the state budget and, more importantly, family budgets."
Countered Evers: "At the end of the day, I know folks and families are facing rising costs at the checkout line and businesses are facing challenges getting resources and supplies. Wisconsinites need help making ends meet and can’t wait until the next biennial budget — they need relief now."
Craig Gilbert: farewell, but see you soon
Across the decades, readers of the Journal Sentinel could always rely on Craig Gilbert to provide illuminating political coverage, interviewing the main players, dissecting the numbers, talking with voters.
Craig really could do it all.
Late last week, he publicly announced he was retiring. But he'll still be sticking around through the heated mid-term election cycle. Craig will write columns and political analysis in a partnership between the Journal Sentinel and Marquette University Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education, where he'll be a fellow.
It'll be reassuring to have Craig's steady presence providing context to what's playing out on the political field.
In the meantime, give Craig's "farewell" column a read. There's a lot of political treasure in there, plus plenty of wisdom.
Around the horn
State Treasurer and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski rolls out a policy paper on rural Wisconsin.
Robin Vos' attorney did not monitor Michael Gableman's compliance with open records law in his election review.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson criticizes Gov. Tony Evers, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, over Kenosha unrest.
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil gets roasted on Twitter for making fun of China-manufactured masks.
GOP governor candidate Rebecca Kleefisch used "indefinitely confined" voting method she now wants abolished, says it was a mistake.
Wisconsin Assembly seeks to overhaul Milwaukee police commission and provide protections to those unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Here's how Milwaukee's mayoral candidates would approach public safety, including reckless driving and record homicides.
Tweet of the week
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke with tough words for fellow Republican lawmaker Timothy Ramthun: "Rep. Ramthun just attempted to pass an Assembly resolution to recall WI’s presidential electors. Not only is it illegal, it’s just plain unconstitutional. As chair of the Rules Committee, there is ZERO chance I will advance this illegal resolution. #EndofStory."
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Donald Trump rips GOP drop box plan; more cash rolls into Madison