For those watching labor fights, the two very close, hard-fought games for the AFC and NFC championships yesterday (I'm talking football here, people), might have echoed what's happening in Indianapolis, host city to this year's Super Bowl. The battle over collective bargaining in one of the country's original manufacturing havens has already spawned teams, rules, and some hard-hitting tackles. And soon, one side may be trying for a Hail Mary.
Each Friday—well at least most Fridays—I'm going to sum up the big news happening in states around the country. To make it more interesting I'm naming a State of the Week where the biggest news came from. See something that's missing? Tell me: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RaRapoport.
And this week's State of the Week is ... Wisconsin!
You might think that since the Supreme Court made a decision today regarding the ongoing Texas redistricting saga, that, well, something had been decided. But let's just be clear on what is still up in the air:
1. Whether the maps are discriminatory based on the Voting Rights Act
2. The date of the primary, currently scheduled for April 3 with almost no one believing that's a realistic date
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is launching a new program that allows vehicle owners to voluntarily pay a $10 fee when they register their cars that gives them access to 30 state parks in an effort to raise money for the embattled agency.
Director Nancy Merrill hopes the idea, modeled after a successful program in Michigan, will alleviate financial pressure on her agency that has been mounting since Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter moved to wean it from taxpayer support two years ago.
Apparently California Gov. Jerry Brown missed the memo. Across the country, governors outlining educational priorities for their states have focused largely on more testing and doing away with teacher tenure. The approach is so in-vogue, it reaches across party lines. A few examples: Last week, South Dakota's Gov. Dennis Daugaard outlined his education reform package, including merit pay for high performing teachers and the right to fire those whose students fail to perform on tests two years in a row. On the east coast, New Jersey Gov.
You remember that moment when the seventh-grade bully arrived in high school and was, in turn, bullied by the big kids? It's hard to know what you feel—some satisfaction, sure, but somewhere in there, there's bound to be some pity. And of course the big question of whether the experience will leave him humbler and more kind or just more eager to maintain power.
Governor Lynn Frazier of North Dakota was recalled in 1921 after accusations that he was a socialist. AP Photo
Yesterday, Wisconsin activists turned in more than one million petitions supporting the recall of Scott Walker. It was almost double the number they needed to turn in. The Republican governor prompted mass protests last year when he slashed public-employee benefits and then began dismantling collective-bargaining rights in the state. Unions, Democrats, and others affected by the policies were all eager for political payback. "This is the most participated major recall in American history," Meagan Mahaffey, executive director of the coordinating group United Wisconsin, told me with evident pride.
While Democrats celebrate the million petitions turned in today supporting a recall of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Badger state Republicans are hoping that the best offense is a good defense.
"Of course the Democrats got a million signatures," said Ben Sparks, spokesperson for the Wisconsin GOP. "They're allowing individuals to sign up 80 times and they're allowing Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny to go on the rolls."
I'm the Prospect's new "states" reporter, based in Austin, Texas. On this blog, I'll be reporting not only on the big news coming out of state capitals across the country but on the stories from small towns that connect to national debates. Given the fights over collective bargaining in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana and the looming same-sex marriage showdown in Maryland, it's easy to see how state-level news warrants attention.