U.S. and World Headlines
Conservative SCOTUS Majority Under Scrutiny In Major ‘Independent Legislature’ Elections Case
Conservative attorneys hope to advance a legal idea in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday that would give state legislatures more control over elections — which could have a dramatic impact on everything from who gets elected to Congress to what rules voters must follow to cast their ballots in 2024.
But it is unclear if the court will embrace the “independent state legislature” theory underpinning the case — and it will likely come down to divisions within the court’s conservative majority when they hear arguments in Moore v. Harper.
Most of the justices have already signaled where they are likely to fall on the theory, leaving a critical bloc of three of the court’s conservatives as the potential majority makers.Read More
Five Things To Watch In The Georgia Senate Runoff
The last act of the 2022 midterms plays out on Tuesday, when voters in Georgia go to the polls in the Senate runoff election.
More than 1.8 million Georgians have cast their ballots prior to Election Day as Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and former football star Herschel Walker (R) duke it out.
The runoff was required because, under Georgia law, a candidate needs to win more than 50 percent of all votes cast in order to be elected.
Warnock topped the poll on Nov. 8 but fell just short of 50 percent in a field that included a Libertarian candidate.
What are the things to watch on Tuesday?Read More
On Social Media, A Theory Persists About North Carolina Power Outage
While police have not identified suspects nor provided a motive for the “targeted attacks” on two energy substations in North Carolina over the weekend, one theory has quickly taken hold on social media: The outages were intended to shut down a drag performance.
The theory, which sprouted up almost immediately after the power went out in Moore County around 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, came after weeks of threats and hours of protests from far-right activists against the “Downtown Divas” drag show set to take place at Sunrise Theater that night. And it was seemingly buoyed by a cryptic post from a vehement opponent of drag performances.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields has said a motive for the attack — which initially plunged 45,000 people into darkness — is still undetermined as local authorities and the FBI investigate. But he has not ruled out a possible connection.Read More
Meta Says It Will Remove All News Content On Facebook If Congress Approves Journalism Competition And Preservation Act
Meta has threatened to remove all news content from its sites if Congress passes a law allowing news organizations to negotiate the terms of its content distribution with big tech.
Communications Director Andy Stone tweeted on Monday that if Congress passes the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, Meta would be 'forced' to remove all news content from Facebook and Instagram.
The bipartisan bill would allow publications with fewer than 15,000 full-time employees to negotiate 'pricing, terms and conditions' whereby major tech platforms may distribute its content.
Advocates of the legislation say it is necessary to counter the market dominance of Facebook and Google, though Meta executives suggest it may actually impede outlets' revenue as their sites provide traffic to news outlets' websites.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill with a 15 to 7 vote in September, but it has yet to be introduced on the Senate floor.Read More
Kirstie Alley, ‘Cheers’ And ‘Veronica’s Closet’ Star, Dead At 71
Actress Kirstie Alley, star of the big and small screens known for her Emmy-winning role on “Cheers” and films like “Look Who’s Talking,” has died after a brief battle with cancer, her children True and Lillie Parker announced on her social media.
She was 71.
“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” the statement read.
“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead,” the family’s statement continued. “As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”Read More
Wisconsin Schools Chief Touts Silver Lining, But Scores Did Not Buck National Trend
The “Nation’s Report Card,” the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is conducted every two years, tests a broad sampling of fourth and eighth graders across the nation.
Wisconsin saw drops (some with marginal differences) in test scores for fourth and eighth graders in both reading and mathematics, following a concerning trend in recent years.
The state also saw major disparities in assessment results between Black and white students, making it among the widest in the nation.
Ultimately, Wisconsin did not buck national trends nor did it see any increase compared with the 2019 test scores.Read More
New High In Spending By Outside Groups In Wisconsin's 2022 Election
Outside special interest groups spent at least 50% more than the previous record high in the midterm election in Wisconsin this year, pouring more than $93 million into races for governor and other state offices, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported on Dec. 5.
The largest majority of money, nearly $79 million, was spent on the governor's race won by Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers over Republican challenger Tim Michels.
The previous record of nearly $62 million was set in the 2018 midterm election. Spending by outside groups that operate under different rules that candidates has been increasing exponentially in recent years. In 2010, for example, just $19 million was spent by the groups, according to the Democracy Campaign, an independent group that tracks campaign spending.Read More
Wisconsin Officials Warn Of Scam Call Demanding Money From Seniors
Wisconsin officials are warning seniors Monday of a phone scam where the caller pretends to be a person of authority to demand an in-person payment.
A coalition of law enforcement led by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Attorney General Josh Kaul explained that the scam starts when a senior receives a phone call from someone pretending to be a law enforcement official or an attorney.
The caller will claim falsely that the person’s relative has been involved in a car crash or was arrested, then will demand large sums of money for bond payment. The DOJ said the caller could ask between $10,000 and $20,000. The scammer would then show up at the person’s home to pick up the payment.Read More
State Rep. Brandtjen — Who Called For Decertifying 2020 Presidential Election — Is Joining Race For State Senate
A Republican lawmaker who called for decertifying the 2020 presidential election and was expelled from private GOP Assembly meetings this year has announced a run for state Senate.
State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, launched a campaign website Monday seeking nomination signatures for the 8th State Senate district located in suburban Milwaukee. The seat has been held for 30 years by State. Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, who announced her retirement Nov. 24.
Brandtjen's website describes her as a "principled and consistent social and fiscal conservative" and small business owner. It lists legislation she authored aimed at ending backlogs of sexual assault evidence kids, combating human trafficking and truth-in-sentencing.
Since 2021, Brandtjen has used her position as chair of the Assembly Elections Committee to elevate 2020 election conspiracies. She called for overturning the 2020 election in which President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump, issuing a statement in July saying the election should be decertified and saying, "Tyranny is at Wisconsin's door."Read More
'Doesn't Really Reflect Their Political Party': Democrats Seek To Bump Wisconsin's Neighbor Back On The Primary Calendar
When it comes to picking presidential nominees, national Democrats have moved to remove the 'first in the nation' status from Wisconsin's neighbor to the southwest.
The Democratic National Committee's (DNC) rules panel voted Friday to bump back Iowa on the 2024 primary lineup. Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been Americans' first say in nominating the major parties' candidates for president.
The DNC committee approved a new schedule, one supported by President Joe Biden. It makes South Carolina the party's first presidential primary in February 2024. After that, Nevada and New Hampshire would both hold the second contests on the same day.
Swing states, Georgia and Michigan, would then round out the first five states.
Wisconsin's 2020 presidential primary was held in April. It received national attention when the GOP-controlled legislature declined to move back the election during the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, something several other states had done.Read More