Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Scott Walker signs right-to-work: workers not forced to join a union in order to work

Scott Walker signs right-to-work law

Gov. Scott Walker signs right-to-work bill

He has a diary up at Red State, the grassroots conservative web site, where he explains why he did it.

He writes:

When I took office as governor of Wisconsin in 2011, I called together our new Republican majority in the legislature and told them it was time to “put up or shut up.” As the elected leaders of our state, we owed it to our fellow Wisconsinites to follow through with our promises and to tackle the big issues head on.

Our first order of business was reclaiming power for the people of our state. For too long, the big government union bosses had called the shots in our state capital.

At the time, Wisconsin faced a $3.6 billion budget shortfall. We needed to reduce spending, yet collective bargaining by public employees had limited the ability of taxpayers and local governments to control that spending. Taxpayers picked up the tab for all pension contributions and most health insurance contribution. The unions even had a virtual monopoly on schools’ health insurance business by having negotiated requirements to use a union-owned insurance company. Unions didn’t even have to collect their own dues—taxpayers footed the bill for that too.

To change all this, we enacted legislation that became known as Act 10.This is the bill that prompted all the protests in our capitol building and even in front of my personal home. But for all the attention, it was really pretty commonsense legislation.

With Act 10, we reformed the collective bargaining laws so that public employees now make modest contributions to their healthcare and pensions—much like private sector employees. Public employees can now decide for themselves whether to join a union. And while unions can still collectively bargain for wages, they can’t bargain over things like the size of bulletin boards or getting paid time off for union business.

Act 10 also allowed local governments and districts to pay employees based on merit and not just seniority. Teachers can get raises and promotions for a doing a good job—not just being there the longest. Taxpayers get a better deal because local governments can shop around for the most affordable employee insurance plans.

Because Act 10 freed up funds for school districts, fewer have had to lay off teachers. In fact, the three districts with the most teacher layoffs following Act 10 were ones that did not adopt the reforms.

In short, Act 10 ensured that the state government treated taxpayers fairly and spent tax dollars more effectively. While the D.C.-based special interests have attacked us for it, the people of Wisconsin like what they see. We have been re-elected three times in four years.

Now we are once again presented with another chance at big and bold reform—taking on the special interests a second time. Yesterday, the Wisconsin state Senate passed Freedom to Work legislation, which will mean no Wisconsin worker can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. I will sign the bill into law.

I’ve supported Freedom to Work for years, dating back to my time in the state legislature when I co-sponsored it. And now the people of Wisconsin have voiced their support through their state Senators and representatives. According to polling, 69 percent of Wisconsinites support the policy, and a majority of union households—51 percent—also support the law.

Here’s why I’m signing Freedom to Work in Wisconsin: it is good for economic growth. In the last decade, forced unionization states have had about half the rate of wage growth, job growth and manufacturing growth as Right to Work states. Adjusted for cost of living, employees in forced unionization states have almost $2,000 less disposable income. Bottom line, this reform is pro-freedom and pro-work for Wisconsin.

Here’s the right-to-work map now:

Right to Work Map 2015

Right to Work Map 2015

Please see below to learn more about Scott Walker. If you look over the stories below, you can see how he took an incremental approach to getting the support for this law. First, reformed collective bargaining, to prevent unions signing deals with health care providers they own, etc. Second, cut off automatic deduction of union dues, to force unions to spend their own money to collect the dues, further limiting their ability to interfere in politics. Third, pass this right-to-work law, to allow conservative blue-collar mid-Westerners to work a job without having to shell out money to the unions. The law passed with a majority of union households supporting it. They want their take-home pay! Walker is sitting in a blue state that has gone for Democrats in every presidential election since 1984. He knows how to get conservative reforms passed – by chipping away at his opponents and building consensus.

Get caught up!

The Weekly Standard has an excellent re-cap on Walker’s accomplishments as governor. If you don’t know Walker’s history in Wisconsin, please read it!

One snippet:

Which is that Scott Walker is a very bad man. And not merely because he opposes the progressive agenda and would like to roll back its successes. Hell, all kinds of right wing pols want to do that.  Or say they do, anyway. You shake a Republican tree and half-a-dozen of them fall to the ground, talking about repealing this and defunding that. But Scott Walker is unusual, maybe even unique, and recalls the old joke about the graduate student out doing sociological research on religion in the rural South.  He comes upon an old son of the soil and after a bit of conversation to soften him up, says delicately, “I’m wondering, sir, since you are a religious man, if you believe in Baptism by immersion.”

The old fellow squints and spits and says. “Believe in it?  Hell, sonny, I seen it done.”

When it comes to rolling back the progressive agenda, you see, Walker has actually done it. That’s what the recall election was about. His enemies, many of whom still bear the tread marks of his tires on their backs, know that he is not another hapless Republican who makes it his business to raise taxes to pay for the excesses of the other party and calls that good government. Instead of enabling bloated government, he takes it on.

Walker’s appeal, one suspects, is based on a sense among the demoralized citizenry that government at all levels lives high, doesn’t deliver, and fears no man.

There is a reason that people like this guy. He talks moderate, and then mauls his opponents in horrible ways. I almost feel sorry for them, except not really. We have an $18.5 trillion dollar debt, and we need to have a grown-up at the helm in 2016.

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Scott Walker: if sent a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks, “I will sign that bill”

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision

I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision

Life News reports on some good news:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a likely pro-life candidate for the Republican nomination for president and he burnished those pro-life credentials today by issuing a letter saying he would sign a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

“As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level. I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.”

The letter adds:

Life is a value I learned from my parents, and it’s a value I have cherished every day, predating my time in politics. My policies throughout my career have earned a 100% rating with pro-life groups in Wisconsin. Just in my first term I signed numerous pieces of pro-life legislation and I will continue working for every life.

In my past four years as governor, we have made substantial progress in the fight for our pro-life values in Wisconsin. We defunded Planned Parenthood. We prohibited abortion from being covered by health plans in a health exchange. We passed legislation assuring the women and their unborn child are better protected under law – through placing stringent requirements on medical professionals and requiring the provision of thorough and vital information to the mother.

I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.

Pro-life groups were delighted by Walker’s letter.

“Wisconsin Right to Life is very happy to hear that Governor Walker intends to sign a bill that would protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain,” stated Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “In light of this excellent news, we urge the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass a bill to protect pain-capable unborn children as soon as possible.”

In 2013, Gov. Walker signed an ultrasound bill (Senate Bill 206, also known as Sonya’s Law) that ensures that women seeking abortions are given the opportunity to see their unborn children through ultrasound. The legislation also requires abortionists to have admitting privileges within thirty miles of their facility. This is the kind of pro-woman, pro-life bill that not only has proven to save the lives of unborn babies, but it has closed down abortion clinics that can’t comply with basic health and safety requirements. Sure enough, abortion centers in Wisconsin closed down after Walker signed the bill into law.

[…]Since Governor Walker took office in January 2011, the pro-life movement in Wisconsin has made monumental gains. Walker signed into law a state budget that included a provision to prohibit the UW Hospital Authority from being involved in performing abortions and from using taxpayer dollars to pay medical students to learn how to perform abortions. Walker steered Wisconsin Well Woman funds to local counties instead of Planned Parenthood.

Governor Walker also signed bills that allow Wisconsin to opt out of abortion funding under Obamacare, to protect pregnant women from coerced abortions and to prohibit RU486 chemical web cam abortions.

Life News reminded us in 2014 that what Scott Walker did got results for unborn babies:

Last year, abortions in Wisconsin dropped 4.4 percent and they declined 7.4 percent the year before. Now, Wisconsin Right to Life informs LifeNews abortions in the Badger State are down another 16 percent.

“Last week, Wisconsin abortion providers stated under oath that abortions have decreased from 6,927 in 2012 to roughly 5,800 in 2013,”  stated Barbara L. Lyons, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.  “This is another sharp decline of approximately 16%, continuing Wisconsin’s record as having some of the lowest abortion numbers in the country.”

[…]The abortion drop comes after pro-life Governor Scott Walker signed multiple pro-life bills into law.

I like to see results. A lot of people talk pro-life, and even vote pro-life – but very few sign pro-life bills into law and take the heat for doing so. I like what I’ve seen so far from Scott Walker. But I am very demanding, and very hard to please. I want to know what Scott Walker has done for unborn babies lately!

Yes, I realize that Wisconsin is a blue state, and that Wisconsin has voted for the Democrat candidate in every presidential election since 1988! So getting this pro-life bill signed there would be a tall order. But this is what people expect from Scott Walker. He is in first place in the GOP primary polls because Republican voters know that he regularly does the impossible. He takes on tough problems and he finds conservative solutions to them.

I am sick and tired of seeing Democrats get elected and then aggressively enacting their agenda. When we elect Republicans, I expect them to enact Republican priorities. Look at what is happening in the House with the executive amnesty capitulation. Before that we had the failure to vote on the  Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. And before that the Cromnibus debacle. I’m sick of it. Scott Walker has a history of taking on big challenges and winning. He can do it! And it would give pro-lifers even more reasons to vote for him than they already have.

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Scott Walker’s new budget: tax cuts, spending cuts, school choice, smaller government

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Scott Walker announces some of the items in his new Wisconsin budget.

The Daily Signal reports:

Gov. Scott Walker unveiled his proposal for Wisconsin’s state budget on Tuesday night, and he did not shy away from offering bold ideas.

The second-term Republican governor has proposed a budget for 2015-17 that would cut property taxes again, eliminate the cap on the state’s school choice program, and reform government by merging agencies.

Walker’s budget would also spin off the public University of Wisconsin System as a separate state entity and require those receiving government benefits to take a drug test.

Tax cuts, expanding school choice, smaller government.

Here are the details on the school choice expansion:

The governor also talked about expanding the state’s school choice program.

“I am excited to announce our plans to lift the cap on vouchers so more families … can have the choice to find the best school for their children,” Walker said. “Every child deserves the chance to succeed.”

If passed by the GOP-led legislature, all students living under 185 percent of the federal poverty level and currently attending a public school would have access to a voucher to attend a private school.

This expansion is on top of school choice programs already in place in the cities of Milwaukee and Racine.

Walker’s budget also expands public school choice in the form of independent charter schools. Wisconsin currently authorizes these schools in the city of Milwaukee, but nowhere else in the state. Independent charter schools are public schools, but do not operate under the auspice of the local school board or teachers’ union.

The governor has proposed a statewide board, which would authorize new charter schools statewide. In Milwaukee, the independent charter schools have repeatedly outperformed their traditional public school peers.

Oh no! What will the leftist public schools do when parents can choose not to give them money? WHO CARES!

And welfare reform:

Walker also introduced a plan recently that would build on his previous entitlement reforms.

“Our budget expands the requirement for able-bodied adults to be enrolled in an employment and training program in order to receive food stamps,” Walker announced. “Now, some might claim that we’re making it harder to get government assistance. We’re not. We’re making it easier to get a job.”

He is mean. Mean to lazy people!

The leftist New York Times reports that the streamlining of government will result in 400 public sector positions (some of which are vacant) being eliminated.

The article also reminds us why conservatives love Scott Walker:

Mr. Walker came to national prominence in 2011 largely because of his first statewide budget proposal, which relied on cuts to collective bargaining rights and increased health and pension costs for most public workers to help solve an expected budget gap.

That got rid of the massive $3.6 billion deficit he inherited from his Democrat predecessor.

But there is more. What do you think the deepest, darkest place is in the United States? I think it’s the university.

The NYT article continues:

Mr. Walker’s proposal calls for cutting about $300 million, or 13 percent, in state funds from the University of Wisconsin System, which includes 13 four-year universities and enrolls some 180,000 students. Mr. Walker’s plan would also take the unusual step of removing the university system from direct state control to a “quasi-governmental” authority that could act autonomously on issues of personnel, procurement, capital projects and tuition.

As word spread in recent days that proposed cuts were coming, some in the university system expressed deep concern, likening the focus on the universities to Mr. Walker’s earlier clashes with public-sector labor unions. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Faculty Senate this week condemned the proposal. Students said they intended to organize opposition.

He went after the leftist public sector unions, and now the bloated leftist public universities. He is so mean to them! Oh well. (Fake cry)

Just ask yourself – what if the guy we chose as the Republican candidate for president actually knew what he was doing? Wouldn’t that be interesting? What if our candidate for President could do more than just play golf and read a teleprompter? What if our candidate for President could actually tell the truth instead of saying “let me be clear”, then lying, then saying “period” after the lie?

When the Green Bay Packers play NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the Green Bay fans understand that he actually knows how to play football – and he is actually good at it, based on past experiences playing football. What if we chose a candidate who could actually do the job? And talk about past experiences doing the job? Wouldn’t that be something? Picking Scott Walker to be president would be like picking William Lane Craig to debate in favor of Christianity.

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Wisconsin governor Scott Walker draws standing ovations at Freedom Summit in Iowa

This story is from The Hill.

Excerpt:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) delivered a fiery speech in Iowa on Saturday, wowing the conservative crowd with a passionate argument for small government and his own lengthy resume.

The Wisconsin governor, in rolled-up shirtsleeves, paced the stage as he blasted big government and touted a long list of conservative reforms he’s pushed through in blue Wisconsin.

The governor also showed a rhetorical flourish that’s largely been absent from his previous campaigns, drawing the crowd to its feet multiple times.

“There’s a reason we take a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not the 15th of April,” he said, almost yelling as his voice grew hoarse. “Because in America we value our independence from the government, not our dependence on it.”

Walker’s speech had something for every element of the activist crowd. The governor touted his three victories over Democrats and recall win as well as his state-level education reforms. Each new policy he helped pass drew cheers: Voter ID laws, education reforms, tax cuts and defunding Planned Parenthood.

The biggest question for Walker as he ramps up for a race is whether he has the fire in the belly and political skills to stand onstage against the other candidates. And in his first major Iowa address, he may have done a lot to dispel notions that he lacks charisma.

When he said he won reelection as Milwaukee County Executive in an area where President Obama won by a two-to-one margin, some in the audience gasped.

“If you get the job done the voters will actually stand up with you,” he said before contrasting his record with Washington’s deadlock.

The preacher’s son also showed a personal side — and spoke in religious terms to thank Iowans who prayed for him as he faced death threats during his fight against the public sector unions, including one that promised to gut his wife “like a deer.”

Walker made sure to establish his Iowa roots — saying he’d lived there until third grade until his father got a job as a minister in Wisconsin — before promising to return “many more times in the future.”

More from a different article from The Hill:

Scott Walker’s stock is soaring after a triumphant return to Iowa.

The Wisconsin Republican governor delivered a pitch-perfect speech to a room packed with influential Hawkeye State conservatives on Saturday, walking them through his robust resume and ideology with a passion that surprised many.

Activists say Walker came out on top after 10 hours of candidate speeches.

“It was a clear Walker victory. He had expectations coming in here, he was on everyone’s shortlist and he had to meet those expectations and I thought he far exceeded them,” said former Iowa Republican Party political director Craig Robinson. “I thought his speech was just perfect, and I thought his delivery was perfect. The delivery really surprised me.”

Walker held his own against Ted Cruz, the event’s other star. While the Texas senator always turns in commanding performances with conservative crowds, the governor next door helped himself the most by making a strong first impression with many Iowa activists who simply knew him from his showdown with the unions.

He offered something for almost every type of conservative, rolling through his record of both social and fiscal accomplishments, drawing big applause by knocking “radical Islamic terrorists” and touting legislation he backed to relax gun control laws and cut taxes.

He spoke about his faith in a natural way, and in one sentence managed to mention that he was both the son of a pastor and had Iowa roots (Walker spent his early years in the state before his dad moved to a church in Wisconsin).

Most importantly, he did it all with a folksy yet fiery delivery that had observers gushing and brought the crowd to their feet.

The biggest question surrounding Walker heading into the weekend is whether his charisma could stack up against the other White House contenders. It was a worry Walker shared — one Republican who talked to him backstage said the governor expressed concern that people would view him as “bland.” But as the strode onstage with his shirt sleeves rolled up and paced about the floor, those worries vanished.

“Walker found a way to talk about himself, talk about the country and talk about Iowa in perfect proportionality, and he did so with a style that was very easy and engaging,” said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. “He connected to these people — you could see it.”

[…]But Walker made a big splash in his first Iowa appearance of 2015, stealing the spotlight from his likely foes.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard him live and he was tremendous. It was a great speech,” said Sam Clovis, a conservative kingmaker and the GOP’s 2014 nominee for state treasurer. “That was something special.”

Since we are ramping up to the 2016 election, I took some time to list out my 6 favorite candidates for the GOP nomination.

Here they are:

  1. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker
  2. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal
  3. Texas governor Rick Perry
  4. New Mexico governor Susana Martinez
  5. Indiana governor Mike Pence
  6. Texas senator Ted Cruz

Five out of six candidates are governors, because I really think we need to prefer people who have executive branch experience – experience at building consensus with Democrats in order to get sensible bills passed that will help middle class Americans. I would like to see Ben Carson run, but I think he would make a better HHS secretary than President. Ohio governor John Kasich is a good choice, but he doesn’t have the same accomplishments that the governors in my list have. Walker is my first choice because he took on the public sector unions and won.

There are also some people I don’t think should be President. I like Marco Rubio, but his support for amnesty disqualifies him as a candidate. Jeb Bush is disqualified because he is too supportive of amnesty and Common Core. Mitt Romney’s record is too supportive of abortion and gay rights. Romney also supports global warming alarmism. I think Romney is a better Democrat than he is a Republican. Rand Paul is only good on fiscal issues. On social issues Paul is a moderate. And foreign policy, Paul is a Democrat. Chris Christie is really a conservative Democrat.

If you want to learn more about Scott Walker, I recommend Walker’s new book. I actually got the audio version, and it’s read by governor Walker himself.

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Wisconsin Health Board declares that wind power is a public health risk

From the Green Bay Gazette.

Excerpt:

Brown County health officials have declared wind turbines a public health risk, but they haven’t determined how to put their declaration into action.

The county’s Health Board this month declared the Shirley Wind Farm operated by Duke Energy Renewables poses a health risk to its neighbors in the town of Glenmore. Three families have moved out of their homes rather than endure physical illness they blame on the low-frequency noise the wind turbines generate, according to Audrey Murphy, president of the board that oversees the Brown County Health Department.

[…]Whatever happens, residents “are grateful to the Board of Health for reviewing the research and listening to the people of Brown County,” said Susan Ashley, who also lives in the Shirley area and who has helped rally opposition to the wind farm through the years.

Twenty families in the town have documented health issues since the wind farm started operated in 2010, Ashley said.

Duke Energy Renewables was not invited to the health board’s discussion and would have cited tests that determined sound levels from the wind generators were low and could not be linked to adverse health impacts, company spokeswoman Tammie McGee said. The company has not received any formal word about the board’s declaration, McGee said.

Dr. Jay Tibbetts, vice president of the Brown County health board and its medical adviser, said he knows of no science that proves there isn’t a link between health problems and the low-frequency noise the giant fans produce.

“There’s been nothing that’s debunked anything,” he said. “As far as what’s happening to these people, it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re in Shirley or Denmark, or Ontario, Canada. Forty people have moved out of their homes, and it’s not just for jollies. In Shirley, three people have moved out of their homes. I know all three. They’re not nuts. They’re severely suffering.”

People might not be able to hear the sounds the Shirley turbines produce, but Tibbetts said he knows of a teenager living in the area who can tell when the turbines are off or on without being able to see them. Area residents or former residents report headaches, nausea and other symptoms they say are brought on by the turbines, and those symptoms clear up when the residents move elsewhere for a time, Tibbetts said.

Previously, I blogged about how wind power is a threat to birds – even rare, protected birds.

Excerpt:

Wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the figure could be much higher, according to a new scientific study by government biologists.

The research represents one of the first tallies of eagle deaths attributed to the nation’s growing wind energy industry, which has been a pillar of President Obama’s plans to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming. Wind power releases no air pollution.

But at a minimum, the scientists wrote, wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles that struck wind turbines. One of the eagles counted in the study was electrocuted by a power line.

The vice president of the American Bird Conservancy, Mike Parr, said the tally was “an alarming and concerning finding.”

And this is not only something that Democrats know about – they are actually protecting these bird killers.

Look at this article from ultra-liberal PBS:

The Obama administration said Friday it will allow some companies to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty, an effort to spur development and investment in green energy while balancing its environmental consequences.

The change, requested by the wind energy industry, will provide legal protection for the lifespan of wind farms and other projects for which companies obtain a permit and make efforts to avoid killing the birds. An investigation by The Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. The White House has championed wind power, a pollution-free energy intended to ease global warming, as a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s energy plan.

In other areas, too, such as the government’s support for corn-based ethanol to reduce U.S. dependence on gasoline, the White House has allowed the green industry to do not-so-green things. Another AP investigation recently showed that ethanol has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

Under the change announced Friday, companies would have to commit to take additional measures if they kill or injure more eagles than they have estimated they would, or if new information suggests that eagle populations are being affected. The permits would be reviewed every five years, and companies would have to submit reports of how many eagles they kill. Now such reporting is voluntarily, and the Interior Department refuses to release the information.

Just because something is called green, it doesn’t make it good for nature.

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