Category Archives: Politics

Palmyra-Eagle School District to Remain Open

What the heck?

The Palmyra-Eagle Area School District will live on.

That’s after a state panel rejected an order from the Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board to dissolve the district.

The School District Boundary Appeal Board, a panel made up of school board members from around the state and the state superintendent’s designee, voted 6-1 to deny the dissolution at its meeting Thursday afternoon at the Palmyra-Eagle Middle School gymnasium.

[…]

The dissolution process officially started April 8, 2019, when the Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board approved a resolution to consider dissolution of the school district.

But the wheels started turning six days earlier when 61% of district voters rejected a four-year, $11.5 million operational referendum that district officials said was needed to keep the cash-strapped district running.

On July 1, the school board took the next step, ordering the district’s dissolution.

A non-binding advisory referendum on the dissolution, triggered by a community-led petition drive, was held Nov. 5, with 53% of voters saying they wanted to see the district dissolve.

This is another example of the arrogance of those in government. The people of the district voted down a referendum with the clear understanding that doing so meant that they would have to dissolve the district. Then the people voted in an advisory referendum to dissolve the district. The school board – elected by the people in the district – voted to dissolve the school district. In a brazen act of self-governance, the people could not have been more clear.

And yet, after all that, an unelected state board comprised of people who do not live in the district vote to keep the school district open.

Insane.

We are going to see this again and again. Enrollment across the state is declining and it is sensible to consolidate school districts to adapt to those trends. But the push against it is coming from entrenched government bureaucracy that is more interested in maintaining the status quo than in managing taxpayer resources to provide the best education for the most kids.

Evers Welcomes McIver

Hmmmm… curious. This appears to be yet another case of Evers and his staff being on different pages – with the staff’s view being reality. Who’s really running the show over there?

MADISON, Wis. (Jan. 10, 2020) – The MacIver News Service sued Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers in August 2019 for barring its reporters from a press briefing and purposefully withholding press notifications from the journalists. Since then, Evers’ attorneys have defended their restrictions on the MacIver reporters in court.

But in an interview that aired on FOX 11 this past Sunday, January 5, Gov. Evers made statements about the lawsuit that run contrary to the arguments being made by his own attorneys in the case. In the interview, Evers suggests that the MacIver journalists have as much access as other statehouse journalists and that the governor desires no restrictions on them or any other journalists.

In response to the interview, Liberty Justice Center attorney Daniel Suhr sent a letter to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul highlighting the inconsistencies between the governor’s public statements and his legal defense, and encouraged the governor’s team to adopt into practice the openness to press that Evers conveyed in the FOX 11 interview.

Epstein Video “Lost”

Uh huh.

NEW YORK (AP) — Video footage of the area around Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell on a day he survived an apparent suicide attempt “no longer exists,” federal prosecutors told a judge Thursday.

Officials at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York believed they had preserved footage of guards finding Epstein after he appeared to have attempted suicide, but actually saved a video from a different part of the jail, prosecutors said.

The FBI also has determined that the footage does not exist on the jail’s backup video system “as a result of technical errors,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maurene Comey and Jason Swergold wrote in a court filing.

Trolley in Memphis

I was in Memphis for a couple of days this week and noticed a couple of things. I stayed downtown near the convention center on main street. My hotel was about a mile from Beale Street and the entertainment district. I enjoy getting out of the hotel to explore, so I headed down the Beale Street a couple nights for dinner.

Memphis has a trolley that runs down a good length of Main Street from the transit center north of the convention center to a block north of Beale Street. It’s one of those trolleys on rails that is powered by overhead wires. The trolley is just a dollar to ride, but I chose to walk from my hotel to Beale Street twice because I enjoy walking. It also gave me the chance to observe the trolley in action and make a few observations.

  1. It was weeknights without much going on. Downtown was sparsely populated in the evenings, so I don’t think ridership was reflective of a busy time with a convention or something in town. Still, I only saw one family ride it. It was empty the rest of the time.
  2. Each trolley was driven by a driver. Plus, there was a guy who say in a Gator. Every time the trolley passed him, he got out and used a tool to shift the tracks. All told, they were paying at least 5 guys to run the system at any given time.
  3. The trolley did move faster than walking, but with the stops and waiting to board, it was still faster to walk.
  4. As it happens, the convention center was empty because it is currently undergoing a massive renovation (perhaps something to watch to see if it was worth it before Milwaukee spends money redoing theirs). This caused them to close a block of Main Street and block the tracks.

What that means is that to ride the rail trolley to the end of the route, you had to ride the rail trolley to the end of the block, get off, board a wheeled trolley, and then that trolley would take you around the detour to the other side.

In other words, while the railed trolley might be interesting, the infrastructure and personnel to run it are far more expensive than the wheeled version AND the wheeled version (A.K.A. decorated bus) is far more practical because it can adjust to circumstances on the road.

I wonder how much this system is costing the good taxpayers of Memphis per rider. Someone else can try to look that up.

Evers Assigns “Homework” to Legislature

What a condescending prick.

WAUSAU – Gov. Tony Evers today sent a letter to Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature assigning legislative homework and asking the Legislature to pass several key pieces of legislation before adjourning this year.

The legislature is a coequal branch of government. The Governor is treating them like children. He truly has proven to be a terrible governor with no ability to build consensus or advance his agenda. There are plenty of issues on which the governor and some Republicans could find common ground, but Evers is intent on crapping on them every chance he gets.

Governor Evers Wants to Let Crooks Out on the Street to Commit More Crimes

No.

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers and fellow Democratic lawmakers have introduced a series of proposals designed to reduce overcrowded prisons, but without support from Republican leaders they are unlikely to gain traction in the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Evers told the Wisconsin State Journal in an interview published Thursday that he hoped the bills would spur a bipartisan discussion on the need to address the state’s rising prison population, which is expected to reach 25,000 inmates by 2021. Evers campaigned on the pledge to cut the state’s prison population in half.

[…]

The bills would set incarceration limits for non-criminal supervision violations, extend earned release eligibility to include vocational or educational programs and expand on a compliance credit to allow for shortened community supervision options. The measures, introduced by Rep. Evan Goyke and Sen. Lena Taylor, both of Milwaukee, applies only to nonviolent offenders.

Setting a target prison population is not a rational or moral goal. The population of our prisons is a function of how much crime is being committed and how we choose to punish people. If we can reduce the number of crimes being committed so that the prison population declines, then great! If the prison population increases because more people are committing crimes, then so be it. But to just let criminals out on the street to commit more crimes in order to reach an arbitrary number of people in prison so that Evers can feel good is dangerous and immoral.

In my experience, the vast majority of people are decent, law-abiding folks. They might speed or double park every now and then, but they are good people. A tiny slice of the population are wretched human beings who commit the vast majority of the serious crimes. Those people are just bad, and they will continue to commit crimes for as long as they are able to because they are criminals. That’s just what criminals do. Bakers bake. Farmers farm. Drivers drive. Criminals commit crime. The only way to reduce crime is to remove the criminals from society as often as possible and for as long as possible.

Changes coming in 2020

Here is my full column that I wrote for the Washington County Daily News this week.

2020 will prove to be an eventful year. Much of the year will be consumed with Americans choosing a president. The United Kingdom will finally leave the European Union after the people were compelled to return to the voting booth to reassert their will. The Middle East will continue to roil with unpredictable consequences. While world and national events are important, the changes happening in our state and local communities also have a big impact on our lives. Here are a few changes that will happen in my local jurisdictions and some results that I would like to see.

The city of West Bend will get a new mayor. Late last year, Mayor Sadownikow stepped down to avoid a conflict of interest with his business, but he had already signaled that he would not run for re-election. Under Sadownikow’s leadership, West Bend enjoyed years of solid conservative fiscal management. Taxes were kept flat. The city greatly reduced its debt. The mayor helped negotiate labor contracts to protect the city’s taxpayers from future unfunded liabilities. Economic development thrived and city services improved. It was a good run.

The new mayor of West Bend should learn from Sadownikow’s example and continue that trajectory. This will be no small task. Immediately after Sadownikow stepped aside, the Common Council voted to raise property taxes and the city Water Utility passed a substantial rate increase. Sadownikow’s absence was immediately felt and the liberal tax increasers got their way. The new mayor will need to use all of his or her wiles to thwart the efforts of the newly insurgent liberals on the council.

Washington County will also get its first county executive after voting to restructure county government. As the first county executive of Washington County, he or she will have the opportunity to set precedents and a tone for the future. The new executive should collaborate with the county’s municipalities to tell the world that our county is “Open for Business,” to steal a phrase from former Gov. Scott Walker. There is an economic boom happening in our state and nation and Washington County has a lot to offer businesses that move and grow here.

The West Bend School District is also facing a year of change. The steady decline in enrollment that has been happening for years has accelerated and shows no sign of slowing. Meanwhile, the school district is saddled with heavy infrastructure and labor costs that are increasingly unaffordable. With big challenges come big opportunities to make bold changes. Act 10 gives the School Board vast discretion to rebuild the school district on conservative principles of educational excellence, fiscal restraint, and forward- looking innovation. As the Private Task Force demonstrated, this can be done while reducing spending and taxes. The citizens of the West Bend School District deserve nothing less.

For the first time in a couple of generations, the good folks in the 5th Congressional District will have a new representative in Washington. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner is serving his final year in office. He has been a conservative lion in the House of Representatives and helped cultivate and lead a generation of conservative leaders throughout the state. While Sensenbrenner’s successor will undoubtedly assume office with a different style and priority, the people of the 5th have earned the right to be represented by someone who will continue to champion conservatism in the House.

Finally, the board is set for 2020 in the state of Wisconsin. The Republicans will almost certainly retain control of the state legislature and Gov. Tony Evers will remain a devoted liberal Democrat. For conservative Wisconsinites, it is unrealistic to expect the continuation of the conservative renaissance that we have enjoyed for the previous decade, but they can expect that Republicans in the Legislature hold on to the gains. Wisconsin is enjoying the fruits of conservative leadership with a booming economy, stable budgets, rising wages, high employment, protections for our rights to freely associate and bear arms, and so much more. Hopefully 2020 will end without Wisconsin regressing.

By the time 2021 dawns, the landscape will look very different around here. We have work to do to make sure we will like what we see.

 

Changes coming in 2020

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I take a look ahead at 2020 and some of the changes coming at my local and state level. Here’s a taste:

For the first time in a couple of generations, the good folks in the 5th Congressional District will have a new representative in Washington. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner is serving his final year in office. He has been a conservative lion in the House of Representatives and helped cultivate and lead a generation of conservative leaders throughout the state. While Sensenbrenner’s successor will undoubtedly assume office with a different style and priority, the people of the 5th have earned the right to be represented by someone who will continue to champion conservatism in the House.

Finally, the board is set for 2020 in the state of Wisconsin. The Republicans will almost certainly retain control of the state legislature and Gov. Tony Evers will remain a devoted liberal Democrat. For conservative Wisconsinites, it is unrealistic to expect the continuation of the conservative renaissance that we have enjoyed for the previous decade, but they can expect that Republicans in the Legislature hold on to the gains. Wisconsin is enjoying the fruits of conservative leadership with a booming economy, stable budgets, rising wages, high employment, protections for our rights to freely associate and bear arms, and so much more. Hopefully 2020 will end without Wisconsin regressing.

By the time 2021 dawns, the landscape will look very different around here. We have work to do to make sure we will like what we see.

Yes… yes… feeeeel the hate flow through you… push those nasty traditional liberals and moderates out of the party… leave only the communists…

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview published Monday that Democrats nationwide can cultivate “too big of a tent,” asserting that she and her party’s 2020 frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, would be in different political parties in any other nation.

Asked for a profile by New York Magazine about what role she might play as a member of Congress should Biden capture the White House, the freshman House Democrat from New York responded with a groan.

“Oh God,” she said. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.”

[…]

“I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need to find a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives. That is too much for me,” Ocasio-Cortez said, after Reuters had reported that Biden was crafting a “middle ground approach” to combating the global threat.

Bill Moves Ahead to Require Teaching Cursive in Wisconsin

Hmmm

Introduced by state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, the bill would require schools receiving state money — public and private — to teach cursive so students can write legibly in it by fifth grade.

“Surprisingly to many, cursive writing can lend a hand in the process of improving reading,” Thiesfeldt told the Assembly Committee on State Affairs during a public hearing Nov. 6. “This bill isn’t just about nostalgia of being able to read grandma’s letters and primary source historical documents.”

The state Senate Committee on Education recommended on a 5-4 vote Dec. 20 to send the bill to the full Senate for passage. The Assembly committee has not yet acted on their version of the bill.

The linked story does a good job of laying out the arguments. The issue isn’t whether or not we should teach cursive. Personally, I think we should, but I can understand the opposite view. The issue is whether or not the state should mandate it. The state mandates all sorts of things to local school districts – both big and small – but should this be left to local school boards to decide? Or is there a valid state interest in including cursive teaching as one of the list of things that are required as part of a standard Wisconsin education? I’m on the fence.

 

Biden’s Changing Story

The real concern here is that Biden doesn’t seem to have any real conviction about what to do in that scenario. This guy wants to be Commander in Chief.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has appeared to contradict his own story regarding his role in overseeing the U.S. mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Biden was on the campaign trail in Iowa when he changed his story about the 2011 Navy SEAL mission that resulted in bin Laden’s death in a conversation with a Fox News reporter.

‘As commander in chief, if you were ever handed a piece of intelligence that said you could stop an imminent attack on Americans — but you have to use an airstrike to take out a terrorist leader — would you pull the trigger?’ the reporter asked Biden.

‘Well we did – the guy’s name was Osama bin Laden,’ replied Biden, who was vice president when bin Laden was killed.

Didn’t you tell President Obama not to go after bin Laden that day?’ the reporter asked.

‘No, I didn’t,’ Biden said.

That is in an apparent contradiction to a story Biden told almost eight years ago during a retreat in Maryland for congressional Democrats, where he described a tense 2011 strategy session ahead of the raid.

‘Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go – we have to do two more things to see if he’s there,’ Biden of the strategy session at the 2012 retreat.

Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com when asked about the apparent contradiction.

Senator Stroebel: “The judicial order was clear”

Yep

Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Election Commission continues to ignore state law, and a judicial order, by refusing to update our voter rolls. The fact that Democratic members of the Elections Commission are disobeying a judicial order is troubling for anyone concerned with elections in our state.

Senator Stroebel made the following statement in reaction to the Election Commission’s refusal to follow Judge Malloy’s Order:

“The judicial order was clear, the Wisconsin Elections Commission must maintain voter lists as per state law. This law is clear and the judicial order leaves no room for the Democratic members of the Election Commission to find excuses.

“My constituents expect fair and transparent elections and disregarding state law and a judicial order undermine those expectations.”

Wisconsin continues to have same day voter registration. This means that any citizen who is eligible to vote and can register to vote almost any day between now until Election Day, whether they have moved or are voting for the first time.

Sweeping Vaping Bans

While there may be some merit in more stringent regulation of vaping products, it is unacceptable that the Trump administration is doing this via executive action instead of it being something that is debated and voted upon by the legislature.

The US has announced a countrywide ban on some e-cigarette flavours amid concerns about vaping among teens.

The ban applies to mint and fruit flavours that are offered in cartridge-based e-cigarettes, like the popular pods sold by Juul.

The US will continue to allow menthol and tobacco flavours, as well as fruit flavours delivered in other ways.

The action has been under consideration for more than a year, with several states passing similar rules.

South Korea, India, Brazil are among the dozens of countries that have announced sweeping vaping bans. Others, like China, have announced restrictions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Trump administration wanted to continue to offer adults an alternative to traditional cigarettes, while responding to concerns about growing addiction to a new product among teens.

“By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance,” he said.

2020 Predictions

A bunch of jackasses made predictions over on RightWisconsin. Check it out.

Governor Evers Issues Record Number of Executive Orders

To be fair, I doubt he actually knew what half of these orders were for.

Gov. Tony Evers issued more executive orders in his first year than any other guv in Wisconsin history.

He signed 61 executive orders through mid-December. Not only is that a record for a first-year guv, but it’s more than any single calendar year going back to 1965, according to a WisPolitics.com review.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the number of executive orders was a sign that Evers has been “ineffective” in working with GOP lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation. As an example, Fitzgerald cited an executive order the guv issued that replaced all references to “mental retardation” in state language with “intellectual disability” and “intellectually disabled.” Evers issued the order shortly before lawmakers released legislation to largely accomplish the same thing.

“He has completely failed to develop a relationship with the Legislature, even when he had numerous opportunities to do so,” Fitzgerald said, “He used one of those executive orders to purposely copy a piece of legislation that should have been an easy bipartisan win. I’m hopeful that we’ll start off better next year, but I’m not holding my breath.”

A spokesman for Evers didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

[…]

More than a third of Evers’ executive orders were directives that flags at state buildings fly at half-staff. Beyond those 21 orders, 13 created committees, councils or advisory boards, and eight were for emergency declarations.

2020 is nigh

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. Of course, 2020 is no longer nigh. It is here. Happy New Year!

Whenever the end of something is upon us, whether it be a day, year, or a decade, it is a natural time to reflect. As a child, I could swear that someone promised me a flying car by 2020. We have not quite made it to that utopian transportation option, but we have come a long way since this decade began.

The state of Wisconsin was a completely different place in 2010. Democrats had controlled both houses of the Legislature for two years and the governor’s office for eight years. The state was facing yet another multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Taxes had been increasing for years. The state economy was stagnant. The crushing regulatory burden was driving businesses out of the state, public employee unions pulled the strings in Madison, and citizens were denied their Second Amendment rights. It was a dark time for the state.

The people of Wisconsin had had enough and swept Republicans into legislative majorities and elected Gov. Scott Walker. Republicans would remain in power for the next eight years and ushered in a bevy of conservative reforms. They cut taxes, reduced the spending increases (unfortunately, they did not cut spending), reduced regulations, empowered people over unions, and expanded the exercise of civil rights. The results speak for themselves. Compared to 2010, Wisconsin has lower unemployment, higher labor participation, higher wages, more businesses investing in the state (including a rejuvenated tech sector), lower taxes, more protections of civil rights, and has knocked off its “Rust Belt” national reputation. The teen years were very good to Wisconsin.

At the national level, the decade began with a political upheaval. After ramming through Obamacare in late 2009, the public responded by sweeping Republicans into control of the House of Representatives, thus mitigating the damage of President Obama’s administration. By the second half of the decade, the improbable election of President Donald Trump ushered in a new era of populist antiestablishment governance that has upended the old political order. As we closed the decade with the unjust impeachment of the president, we are beginning the new decade in as much upheaval as we began the previous decade.

In the lives of everyday Americans, the decade was pretty good to most people. The Dow Industrial Average was hovering around 10,500 when the decade began, but will finish this decade at

around 28,500. Home values are up, inflation has been virtually nonexistent, wages are finally rising after years of stagnation, and jobs are plentiful. Technological advances have made life more convenient than ever. It is safe to say that as 2020 begins, Americans enjoy the most affluent, safest, comfortable, highest quality of life in the history of our species.

On a personal level, much has changed over the decade. I began the decade with four kids in the house, a busy bleacher schedule, and a full head of hair. I begin the next decade on the cusp of an empty nest, a grandchild, and the fading memory of owning a comb. It seems that nothing can resist the withering assault of time.

Looking back gives on the benefit of perspective. The further one looks into the past, the fewer things rise to the level of importance. One might consider several events in a previous decade to be important, but only one in a long-ago century. Some centuries seem to elude any level of importance altogether except that they are wedged as a bridge between more important centuries. Perhaps it is only when the lens is pulled back that the important things can come into focus.

I keep a quote by Goethe on my desktop that says, “life is the childhood of our immortality.” It is a reminder that this instant; this time; this life; is merely the foreword of a much longer, much more important story. We should laugh for no reason (or any reason), eat the candy, love without reserve, get dirty, play with the bubble wrap, make the stupid joke, and enjoy each moment. Yesterday does not hold dominion over us and tomorrow is not promised. Today is a gift to be opened with childlike joy.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Breaks Law

Lawless. Our Republic falls apart when arrogant bureaucrats refuse to implement the laws that the people pass. If they don’t have to follow the laws they don’t like, why should I?

With a 3-3 party line vote, a Republican motion that would have ordered the commission to remove some voters from the rolls failed to advance. Voters removed from the rolls would need to register at their new address if they moved or at their same address if they didn’t. Wisconsin offers same-day registration, so voters can register at the polls the day of an election with proper ID and proof of address.

Monday’s inaction by the commission is the second time this month commissioners deadlocked on a path forward on the state’s voter roll issue, which has garnered national attention.

The commission’s meeting comes after Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy earlier this month ordered the state to purge voters flagged as having moved. Earlier in December, commissioners deadlocked 3-3 along party lines, failing to advance a motion that would have removed voters from the rolls within seven business days of Malloy’s order.
For the record, these are the commissioners who are voting to violate the law and a very clear court order. These are the people who are unfit and should never be trusted with the public’s business. Frankly, I wouldn’t trust any of them with private business either.
Julie M Glancey – Sheboygan Falls
Ann S. Jacobs – Milwaukee
Mark L. Thomsen – Milwaukee

2020 is nigh

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. It is difficult to let a decade end (don’t start with me about the decade not actually ending until next year) without a bit of retrospective and reflection. Here’s a bit of navel gazing.

Looking back gives on the benefit of perspective. The further one looks into the past, the fewer things rise to the level of importance. One might consider several events in a previous decade to be important, but only one in a long-ago century. Some centuries seem to elude any level of importance altogether except that they are wedged as a bridge between more important centuries. Perhaps it is only when the lens is pulled back that the important things can come into focus.

I keep a quote by Goethe on my desktop that says, “life is the childhood of our immortality.” It is a reminder that this instant; this time; this life; is merely the foreword of a much longer, much more important story. We should laugh for no reason (or any reason), eat the candy, love without reserve, get dirty, play with the bubble wrap, make the stupid joke, and enjoy each moment. Yesterday does not hold dominion over us and tomorrow is not promised. Today is a gift to be opened with childlike joy.

Foxconn Pays the Tax Man

Good to see.

Mount Pleasant, Wis. – The Village of Mount Pleasant has received 2019 property tax payment from Foxconn Technology Group in the amount of $1,071,899.55, making Foxconn the largest taxpayer in the Village.

In addition, Foxconn also paid its first Special Assessment payment in the amount of $7,325,050. Foxconn is responsible to pay Special Assessments to cover the cost of all land acquisitions in the project area, in addition to the $60 million it paid the Village in 2017. To-date, 850 acres of land in Area I have been conveyed to Foxconn, and a total of $110 million in Special Assessments are in place on the approximately 2,600 acres of land in Areas I, II, and III.

“Ahead of schedule, Foxconn Technology Group has paid its 2019 property tax and special assessment payments to the Village of Mount Pleasant. These payments, totaling more than $8.4 million, establish the company as the largest taxpayer in the Village,” said David DeGroot, Mount Pleasant Village President. “We continue to see tremendous progress at Foxconn’s campus in the Village. These advance payments are one more example of Foxconn’s commitment to our area and to its obligations under the local development agreement.”

Criminalizing Jerk Parents

This is bad law.

State Rep. Don Vruwink, D-Milton, has experienced that firsthand. He’s been officiating since the 1970s. Referees and umpires face more hostility today than they did when he was starting out behind the plate, he said. Vruwink is co-sponsor of a new bill in the state Assembly that aims to address the problem.

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, could make it a criminal misdemeanor to harass or intimidate a sports official in Wisconsin.

Vruwink said the bill’s purpose is to help address the national shortage of youth and amateur sports referees, which hasn’t spared the state.

[…]

Reports of confrontations and assaults on officials are increasing, said Dave Anderson, executive director of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA).

WIAA pushed for the legislation to be drafted, while NASO, the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has also expressed support for it, according to a WIAA news release.

Anderson emphasized that the purpose of the bill isn’t to have parents arrested.

“The last thing anyone really wants to see is somebody to go to jail or going to prison because of their inability to control emotions in a kids’ basketball game,” he said.

Rather, it will serve as a tool to make the environment more comfortable for referees and umpires at a time when it’s critical to retain them, he said. Anderson said the legislation will not only benefit WIAA’s member high schools, but also younger kids who play sports and adults who participate in recreational leagues.

There is no question that there has been a general decline in decorum at youth sports events. However, criminalizing the behavior is not the answer. There are already laws against assault or disorderly conduct. If a parent goes that far, then those laws can be used. This bill is an effort to criminalize behavior that falls somewhere below the threshold of those laws. The bill is attempting to criminalize being a jerk. While nobody likes jerks at games, it is a bad idea to begin hauling those parents off to jail.