GOP Lawmakers Asked to Keep Quiet while Writing New District Maps

According to documents released Monday, leaders asked Republican legislators to sign agreements promising they would not discuss new maps.

State Republican lawmakers were told to ignore public comments and instead concentrate on information from secret sessions as new legislative and congressional district maps were being drawn last summer.

Nearly all Republican legislators signed legal agreements promising not to talk about the new maps while they were being written, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Documents detailing the legal agreements as well as a set of talking points given to GOP legislators were released Monday, after three federal judges called motions filed by Republicans who fought to keep the documents secret frivolous, according to the paper.

Under the agreements, lawmakers agreed to "not to disclose the fact and/or contents of such discussions or any draft documents within your possession."

Legislators are constitutionally required to redistrict every 10 years based on new census population figures and demographic changes. With legal challenges aside, the maps go into effect in 2012.

In the scheme of things statewide, the new maps may affect Shorewood more than others. It dramatically transforms the political landscape of the village, shifting the village from the 8th Senate district under Sen. Albert Darling (R-River Hills) to the 4th Senate District controlled by Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee).

Without liberal-leaning Shorewood, the 8th Senate District would see a more suburban, more conservative constituency, stretching north into Grafton and as far west as the town of Erin in Washington County.

The bill would also move Shorewood out of the 22nd Assembly District under Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay and into the 10th district under Democratic freshman Rep. Elizabeth Coggs from Milwaukee. Shorewood resident and Darling recall effort leader .

In addition, Shorewood would no longer fall under Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's 5th but rather into the 4th Congressional District under Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore.

The Republican-controlled legislature created new district lines this summer. Democrats immediately called the new boundaries unfair and have accused Republicans of gerrymandering.

because 300,000 people wouldn't be able to vote in state Senate races next year as they now live in a different district.

Additionally, an immigrant rights group says Republicans violated the state's open meetings law while writing the maps and filed a complaint Monday with the Dane County District Attorney, according the the newspaper.

Bob McBride February 07, 2012 at 09:58 PM
How'd that work out for them, Randy? Nor has the redistricting of Shorewood been much of a secret since it first came up months ago. And since you can't "recall" a redistricting, it'll all end up in court anyways, as Steve noted.
Randy1949 February 07, 2012 at 10:10 PM
It worked out just fine for them, except for the way it looks. Mike Ellis is quoted as saying that this was the first time in his forty years in the legislature he'd been asked to sign a confidentiality statement. I don't think any laws were broken, but these guys are our representatives not our kings. You're right -- it will go to court, and given the makeup of the court, it will stand.
Bob McBride February 07, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Then I'd say it didn't work fine for them, wouldn't you? It didn't change anything. It was going to court whether we had yet another made-for-TV spectacle featuring people in matching T-shirts, holding hand drawn signs and screaming "SHAME, SHAME, SHAME" somewhere at the Capitol, or not. So in essence all this did was save us yet another go-round of that nonsense. Maybe if the "constituents" from the left didn't turn every open forum into a circus as they have since January of '11, you'd see more of a willingness to let them speak their piece (to no avail - nothing new there, regardless of who is in charge, btw).
Randy1949 February 07, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Ah yes, if only we would just shut up and trust that our legislators are doing what they think is best for us, then they wouldn't be forced to doing it in a hole-in-corner fashion. Never mind that it cunningly consolidated GOP power in the state. It's making Wisconsin look as bad as Texas, and even less honest.
Bob McBride February 07, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Cunningly? No offense, Randy, but if they did it "cunningly" and you were surprised by it, you must have come to political observation just recently - and I'm guessing that's not the case. Unlike you, as someone who does actually live in one of the districts effected by it, I see the net effect of it being almost unnoticeable, aside from the chances that we'll have another idiotic, expensive and pointless recall as we did with the Darling recall anytime in the near future being practically eliminated. You may not find that to be of much consequence but, then again, you don't live here. You may view that as making us look "as bad as Texas". I view the actions your side has taken to since last January akin to something one might expect to see several countries south of that particular border state.
Randy1949 February 07, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Oh, Bob, I was just trying to be nice and use the word 'cunningly' rather than the more negative 'nefariously'. Gerrymandering districts doesn't surprise me in the least. Doing it secretively in a lawyers office -- now that does surprise me a little, although it shouldn't. My state legislators changed too, but since they're both still Republicans it's of no matter to me.
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2012 at 03:29 AM
This latest revelation is not much of a revelation. I find it curious that they felt it was necessary to sign a confidential agreement. They only possible purpose is to invoke lawyer client privilege, which I don't think will hold. Anyway we have seen how the legislature can make their own rules and they don't have to abide by the open meetings laws. Where Shorewood winds up doesn't matter since we are the People's Republic of Shorewood. The only satisfaction was that we were the proverbial burr under the GOP saddle in the 8th and 10th districts. Now the North Shore and northern counties can live in peace and not have to worry about the pesky liberals. As everyone knows, elections have consequences. Given enough time it will change again.
Keith Schmitz February 08, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Gee Bob, that was not snarky or snotty at all. Thanks for being a sterling example for all of us peons pal.
Keith Schmitz February 08, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Look at that. All the bigots in one convenient package.
Keith Schmitz February 08, 2012 at 12:37 PM
True dat Lyle.
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2012 at 12:55 PM
As this story spreads to the general population, I wonder what the reaction will be. I think that the Republicans could have shot themselves in the foot. There was a number of reports early last year that a good many citizens didn't appreciate the manipulation of the open meetings law. The Republicans may have given the Democrats a critical issue that will pull support away from the current legislative makeup. Just thinking!
Bob McBride February 08, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Was there something in there that wasn't right on the money, Keith?
Jay Sykes February 08, 2012 at 01:58 PM
For those of us not dedicated to an ideology, shell shock has begun to set in. I rue the day that mustard gas deployment begins;oh the horrors of trench warfare.
Bob McBride February 08, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Fortunately, there are enough hours of footage of unruly, disruptive behavior by the left at "open meetings" to at least make a desire to keep that from repeating itself ad infinitum understandable to the rational observer.
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2012 at 02:34 PM
@Bob McBride...I think that in the last 12 months we have set a whole new political precedence in this state. Too many have forgotten all the strife the state went through during the late 60s and early 70s. Even if the Republicans hold onto power, trench warfare will continue; especially when the Republicans introduce legislation to change Wisconsin to a right to work state. Right now the Republicans have the "bit in their teeth" and are making a run for everything they can get. The Democrats in their weakened state can't even put up credible candidates for the open US Senate seat or a credible candidate to oppose Walker. It's up to the Republicans to lose their power based on misreading the electorate and continuing to overreach.
Bob McBride February 08, 2012 at 03:30 PM
The ineffectiveness of Democrats generally is exhibited once they gain office. No one for a moment underestimates their ability to do so. If they were as diminished as you say, we wouldn't even be having this series of recalls, based primarily on effective usage of scare tactics. It's the same old argument. When Republicans get in office and actually do what everyone expects them to do, your side goes ballistic. When you guys get into office and control things in the same fashion, as you did at the national level through from 2009 through most of 2010, your leaders acted as if they had no idea what to do. The President continued to do what he does best - pontificate - by calling in all sorts of folks for "stern talkings to" and your House Speaker went on an extended victory tour around the country and overseas. You guys are all about preserving the status quo, regardless of what message you run with during campaign season. If you want the kinds of things done that YOU want, get the vote out during the regular election season and hold YOUR side to their promises. Don't get your undies in a bundle and demand a redo when you and yours drop the ball. We can't change this recall law your side is exploiting because you didn't do what you should have when you had the chance fast enough. It and you folks are wreaking havoc on this state.
Bob McBride February 08, 2012 at 07:09 PM
This is how "secret" this whole issue is/was: http://shorewood.patch.com/articles/gop-redistricting-plan-would-reshape-north-shore
Randy1949 February 08, 2012 at 08:01 PM
@Bob Mcbride -- From the Journal-Sentinel article: "Electronic records say the talking points were created by "afoltz," an apparent reference to Adam Foltz, a legislative aide to Jeff Fitzgerald who helped draft the maps. It was created June 20 and last saved July 7 - the weeks just before the new maps were introduced as legislation." June 20 - July 7 comes before July 16, when that article appeared in the Patch.
Bob McBride February 08, 2012 at 08:05 PM
And your point is.....
Elizabeth Hennigan February 08, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Elizabeth Hennigan February 08, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Hi Bob! I guess you're a staunch Republican. I used to admire many of them back in the day when the likes of the Republican mogul of the sharp, pointed, witted & silver-tongue King of Debate would grace our late 60's thru 80's TV screens. I was quite young, then. Oldest of seven growing up in Whitefish Bay. Oh and yes, dear, I dare say, NORTH of Silver Spring & EAST of Lake Drive. (Shorewood Translation = NORTH of Capitol & EAST of Oakland). I'm sure you understand what I mean. So where did you grow up & where 'bouts do you live now? Presently, we're NORTH of Green Tree & RIGHT ON Lake Drive. I don't mean to be caddy, Bob, but ... then again, caddiness always helped to separate the wheat from the shuck. Right Bob? Tah for now!
Bob McBride February 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
It's best to stick to the recommended dosage noted on the label the pharmacist stuck on bottle, Elizabeth.
CowDung February 08, 2012 at 09:49 PM
At least she seems to be coherent enough to at least find her way home...
Craig February 08, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Caddie as in golf? Wheat from shuck? Someone be making shine I think...and that batch done gone bad.
Elizabeth Hennigan February 08, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Again, dear Bobby, Liz here. Poor Keith had not replied, so I will. Please find each line of your original comment posted. I adore a thorough read & respond. Why it resembles conversation. Imagine me conversing with you without the slightest formal introduction! Absolutely fascinating, my dear. YOU: "I would think this would please the folks in Shorewood." ME: Due to over-development of trait & anatomical factors in brain structure & psyche in certain lobes & under-development of same in others, many of us are prone to assign all individuals in a group with the same characteristics of one or a few individual(s) in the group, thus perceiving entire group as "all good" or "all bad" rendering useless any crucial & otherwise inherent abilities for differentiation, individuation, sensory integration, empathy, reality, understanding and human compassion. Many shared & valued strengths, ideals, freedoms & OBVIOUS life sustaining sense of priorities may become blurred due to current epidemic of cotton-candy speeches, "store-front" promises made of empty cracker jack boxes (with no prize), finger-pointing twinkies, ding-dongs & ho-hos & REALLY scary campaign tactics. OK, I'm riled. I'm ready to be an Independant Activist. How 'bout you? Any takers?
Elizabeth Hennigan February 08, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Really? REALLY? They don't care about what Shorewood thinks?? Zack... do you know names of ACTUAL INDIVIDUALS ? Let me know, and maybe suddenly what Shorewood thinks will be THE ONLY thing they care about !!
Craig February 08, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Elizabeth Hennigan February 08, 2012 at 11:13 PM
I don't get it.
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2012 at 11:32 PM
@Elisabeth Hennigan...Where have you been hiding lass? Welcome to the exchange. Today's been a little quiet, not much emotive ramblings. Maybe with you adding to the fray, that will change.
Elizabeth Hennigan February 08, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I'm APPALLED at the GOP antics, lies, bait & switches etc.. By the way... what ever did in fact happen to Scott Walker? I'm truly worried about his mental health. I think he is having a breakdown and is continueing to suffer from dilusions. What does a state do when an impaired governor begins is . I am NOT ok with the secrecy. Without Shorewood, the North Shore will be politically imbalanced, and who knows what ELSE will happen because of this. PUT IT BACK. With the Village of Shorewood leaning dem & the North Shore (MOMENTARILY) leaning rep, Shorewood can experience the best of BOTH platforms with the independance of a Villiage to keep the worst of both at bay.


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