KATHLEEN VINEHOUT
PEOPLE FIRST

Voting? No Photo ID Required, Yet

“I haven’t voted in three years,” a Galesville fairgoer told me this summer. He leaned up against the pole barn at the Trempealeau County Fair and shoved his fingers in his pockets. “I don’t want to show up and be told I can’t vote.”

Changes in voting rules are confusing. A requirement to have a certain type of photo ID to vote has been an ‘on again, off again’ law leading up to this election.

On November 4, voters will not be required to show a photo ID.
Read more

A Constitutional Amendment Will Not Solve Transportation Problems

“Tell us about the Transportation Constitutional Amendment,” the Eau Claire man asked.

On November 4th people have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution. The question, paraphrased, is: should money collected in gas tax and motor vehicle registration fees be kept in the Transportation Fund and used only for transportation purposes?

Proponents argue ‘Yes’. Money set aside for roads should be kept in the Transportation Fund. But nothing in state government is simple. And even if the amendment passes, problems funding roads are not solved.
Read more

Is Drug Testing Applicants for Public Programs a Wise Idea?

“If you require drug testing for unemployment insurance claims are you going to drug test farmers for crop insurance next?” the Colfax farmer asked the candidate.

In several recent legislative forums, local candidates advocated for a proposal to drug test people making Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and unemployment insurance claims.

Is this a good idea?
Read more

New Studies: Sand Mines Place “Communities at Risk”

“What new information do we have about the mines?” the Eau Claire reporter asked me.

The reporter was referring to two sand mine studies recently released; one by a committee under the charge of the Trempealeau County Board and the other by the Boston Action Research group of the Civil Society Institute.

Communities at Riskthe Boston study, details sand mining activities across the Midwest. Western Wisconsin is the epicenter of the explosion of mines. The study mentions familiar concerns about frac mining including water and air quality and financial issues and adds new details on data and possible legislative remedies.
Read more