Reps in the News: Kitchens Passes Bill to Benefit ‘Washington Island Observer’

Representative Joel Kitchens

Last week the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens that will benefit the Washington Island Observer and other newspapers across the state. Kitchens released the following press release after the Assembly passed the bill:

“Under current state law, a newspaper is defined – with certain exceptions – as a publication that is printed at regular intervals and at least once per week, containing, on average, 25 percent news content per issue. A newspaper must meet that definition and the printing requirement to be considered eligible to receive payments for publishing legal notices.

“Because Washington Island is accessible only by ferry and has a large number of seasonal residents and visitors who leave during the winter, the Observer publishes only about once per month during that time. However, it meets all the other criteria for being defined as an official state newspaper.

“AB 112 recognizes the Washington Island Observer’s hardships and incorporates the print news outlet into the state definition of a newspaper, thereby helping [it] promote government transparency by ensuring the community has easier and more regular access to legal notices.

“AB 112 also embraces newer technological advancements by allowing all newspapers in Wisconsin to send out affidavits related to legal notices in either hard-copy or electronic form. Under current state law, these affidavits must include a printed copy of the legal notice clipped from the newspaper and must specify the date of each insertion and the paper in which it was published.”

Source: Kitchens press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin Reintroduces Pension Legislation

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), has reintroduced her Pension Stability Act to generate new revenue to protect the pensions of more than 36 million workers and retirees, including 25,000 in Wisconsin who participate in the Central States Pension Fund.

Current law requires banks convicted of financial crimes to seek a waiver from the Department of Labor in order to manage retirement-plan funds. Baldwin’s reform would impose fees on banks seeking the waiver. The new revenue generated from the fees would be directed to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which insures multi-employer and single-employer pension plans. The PBGC’s multi-employer pension program, which covers more than 10 million participants, is projected to run out of money by the end of fiscal year 2025.

“We must keep our promise to workers and retirees by making sure they receive the pensions they have earned,” Baldwin said. “I am reintroducing this reform to address the financial challenges of the pension insurance program and to generate new revenue to fund worker pensions. Financial institutions convicted of a crime should have to pay a penalty that will provide funding to support workers and retirees who saw massive cuts to their pensions through no fault of their own. This reform helps us keep our promise to workers.”

Source: Baldwin press release

President Trump Navigates Party Discord over Syria

The growing divide between President Trump and many of his fellow Republicans over his decision to move U.S. troops in Syria out of the way of a Turkish incursion threatens his delicate alliance with congressional GOP members at a time when he needs their support more than ever, party strategists say.

“No president likes to have his own party argue with him,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who’s also an informal Trump adviser. He said Republicans have legitimate concerns with Trump about the decision, including the lack of advance notice.

By disagreeing with Trump over Syria, “They’re proving they are independent” of him, said Gingrich, who led the 1998 investigation to impeach former President Bill Clinton. “They’re proving that they’re not automatically going to do what Trump wants.”

Source: National Public Radio