News roundup: Grothman not a fan of sex ed, medical marijuana in Berlin (WI), spying on abortion activists and more…

19 Feb

Here is some news you might have missed..

We got coverage on Milwaukee’s TMJ4 on the ACLU’s opposition to an effort by lawmakers to bar public disclosure of 911 calls. “The public deserves to get all the information with very limited exceptions,” said Christopher Ahmuty of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. “Those exceptions should be done on the basis of a balancing test that’s in the current law now.”

Senator Glenn Grothman was a bit hit in the blogosphere when he said in a Cap Times interview that he didn’t approve of the comprehensive sex ed bill that’s headed to the Governor’s desk on Wednesday. It might have been his comments about how teasing feminine boys was normal at his high school that even got the attention of Perez Hilton. Note to all Wisconsin state legislators: bullying or discriminating against gay youth is NOT okay. (But it is okay to give the ACLU a shout out in Glee!)

Did you see the coverage of the medical marijuana advocacy event in Berlin, WI? Central Wisconsin folks asked if their medicine was legal yet. Another lobby day is scheduled at the Capitol on Wednesday. Contact IMMLY for details.

Madison city council alders are considering a parental responsibility law. The proposal is being pushed by the same folks who tried to keep kids inside earlier at last year’s curfew ordinance that the ACLU of Wisconsin helped to defeat. If you are a single mom who works three jobs to scrape by and your youngster gets a ticket for disorderly conduct at the bus transfer point, will you have time to go to court to deal with the fine in your name?

Speaking of Madisonians with limited income, we’ve been observing the housing issue around Shorewood Hills and the proposal to replace the nearly vacant Pyare Square building. Some residents of the affluent neighborhood complained about a large apartment complex that housed limited-income families, but developers tried to quell their fears by making the complex for seniors. Finally the whole project was scrapped due to the height of the building design. Whenever there are concerns about building affordable housing, our ears prick up mostly because of fights like what happened in South Milwaukee with the Lake Point Apartments.

Remember the dust up over anti-Hmong comments by a UW law professor? The dust hasn’t completely settled. Madison Hmong community leader is still asking questions about the Hmong studies program that was promised to be added to the university offerings.

The news broke that Homeland Security was working with Middleton police last year to spy on anti-abortion activists who were planning a big rally that would no doubt overwhelm the police resources. The news said that DHS investigated both prochoice and anti-abortion activists, but we haven’t heard from prochoicers about alleged probes. We’re a prochoice organization, but DHS can’t spy on activists. Period. Only when there is probable cause (i.e. evidence that’s more than a hunch that a crime will be committed) can an investigation legally be started. The feds admitted wrongly investigating the activists, but Middleton police aren’t turning over records and feds say they deleted copies of the assessment. Sorry Michele Malkin, we do care when government spies on First Amendment protected activity.

The ACLU’s Bill of Rights Celebration is tomorrow! Twitter fan? @ACLUofWisconsin and @ACLUMadison will be live tweeting at the #BORC event! Follow us to hear more from blogger journalist @anamariecox!

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