Primary moved from February to April; 13 charged as a result of August Capitol demonstrations; more briefsWisconsin Legislature
Wisconsin voters will go back to choosing their party’s White House nominees in April instead of mid-February. Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Friday that moves the state’s presidential primaries back to the first Tuesday in April, the same day as the local general elections.
Wisconsin voters will go back to choosing their party’s White House nominees in April instead of mid-February.
Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Friday that moves the state’s presidential primaries back to the first Tuesday in April, the same day as the local general elections.
Both national parties asked Wisconsin to make the change because too many states were bunching up their primaries and caucuses earlier in the year.
But Florida decided last week to move its primary up to Jan. 31, and that’s expected to cause other states to move up their White House votes as well. Walker’s office did not comment on the Florida move.
Wisconsin moved its primaries to mid-February in 2004 in an effort to make them more important nationally and get more White House candidates to show up here. It did not work as well as planned.
The 2004 Wisconsin primaries were most notable for convincing Democrat Howard Dean to drop out of the race. In 2008, both parties’ contests were pretty well decided by the time the Wisconsin vote rolled around.
The new primary date will put Wisconsin in about the middle of the national selection process.
13 charged as a result of August Capitol demonstrations
Formal charges were filed in Madison Friday against 13 people who were arrested during an August demonstration at the Capitol.
Those people were demonstrating against Wisconsin’s new collective bargaining law. They refused to leave the Capitol rotunda at about 7 p.m., an hour after the building had officially closed.
Hundreds of demonstrators had rallied Aug. 25, the first day the state began making payroll deductions for pensions and health insurance under the new law.
Six people in the group were charged with obstruction of police. They were accused of asking Capitol police if they could walk through the building from State Street to King Street. The group stopped in the rotunda instead and refused to leave. Some had to be carried out.
Six of the people were charged with misdemeanors. The rest got citations.
Walker’s top aide resigns to help fight possible recall campaign
Gov. Scott Walker’s chief of staff is leaving, in part to join the governor’s campaign in time for a possible recall election next year.
Keith Gilkes has been Walker’s top aide ever since the Republican governor was sworn-in in January. Gilkes ran Walker’s campaign last year, and he led the new governor’s transition team soon after Walker was elected.
Gilkes told a cabinet meeting he would go back to his political consulting firm Oct. 8. He said he would be the lead adviser to Walker’s campaign, but he’ll also do campaign work for other clients.
Walker later announced that Deputy Chief of Staff Eric Schutt would move up to the top spot, effective Oct. 8. Ryan Murray, the governor’s current policy director, will become the deputy chief of staff. Kimberly Liedl, Walker’s health care and education adviser, will become the new policy director.
Gilkes said his resignation had nothing to do with an ongoing John Doe probe into Walker’s former top aides in Milwaukee County. The investigation reports centers on alleged illegal campaigning for Walker by those aides, while they worked for him in the county executive’s office.
Gilkes said he planned for a long time to build up his political consulting business after working as Walker’s chief of staff.
Bill extends legal protection to homeowners fending off intruders
It would be easier for Wisconsin homeowners to protect themselves from intruders under a bill endorsed by the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. The measure now goes to the full Assembly.
Homeowners would no longer have to prove their lives were threatened if they kill intruders in self-defense. The protection would also apply to a victim’s vehicle or business.
The National Rifle Association and state law enforcement agencies have strongly supported the bill after Senator Van Wangaard, R-Racine, introduced it earlier this year. But before the measure was endorsed this week, lawmakers debated the legal definition of a dwelling that would be covered.
Rep. Tony Staskunas, D-West Allis, wanted to know if the boundaries would include the municipal sidewalk in front of a house. Others said it’s a question the Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, said there would be few such cases. He called the bill a solution in search of a problem.
But an example of a case that might apply happened Aug. 27 in Waukesha County when Mike Fitzsimmons shot and killed a 39-year-old intruder at his house in Okauchee. At last word, prosecutors were still considering possible charges.
The State Bar opposes the bill, saying it would create a legal presumption in favor of a murderer.
When Wangaard introduced the measure, he said homeowners are often reluctant to act against intruders for fear of legal punishment.