The Bus Stops Here: Voter ID requirement hurts transit-dependent voters

Next week, perhaps for the last time, the City of Madison will elect 20 City Council members for a 2- year period. Among their duties, Council members pass annual budgets that set taxes and determine how those taxes get spent. Those budgetary decisions in turn impact everything, from housing and police, to parks and yes, transportation.

Various politically-minded groups gear up for this event, help with political campaigns and/or endorse particular candidates. Their activity is based on the probably incorrect premise that potential or actual transit riders are as able to vote as others. It should be correct, and the Dane County Voter ID Coalition has assigned itself the task of identifying voters who may not have an acceptable voter photo ID, then arranging for them to receive assistance in obtaining one.

Madison Commons Media Digest, March 28, 2021

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Madison's public libraries could reopen next month, Logan Wroge, Wisconsin State Journal, March 28. COVID-19

First case of Brazilian COVID-19 variant found in Wisconsin, Riley Vetterkind, WSJ, March 27. Thousands now vaccinated, including the mayor, Dylan Brogan, Isthmus, March 26. Tony Evers signs bill into law allowing dentists to administer vaccines, Riley Vetterkind, WSJ, March 25; Wisconsin GOP leaders praise state's vaccination efforts, Scott Bauer, Associated Press, March 25. COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin nursing homes drop 47% after vaccinations, David Wahlberg, WSJ, March 24.

Madison Commons Media Digest, March 21, 2021


Dane County health officials: Fully vaccinated can get close, ditch the masks, Chris Rickert, Wisconsin State Journal, March 19. Wisconsin 'woefully behind' on COVID-19 verification, data cleanup, Scott Bauer, Associated Press, March 18. Few COVID-19 vaccine doses have been wasted in Wisconsin, Scott Bauer, AP, March 16. Politics and Voting

Kerr, Underly increasingly drawing contrasts in State Superintendent race, Scott Girard, Capital Times, March 20. State Superintendent candidate Kerr used district email during work hours to set up private business, Elizabeth Beyer, WSJ, March 20.

Dozens march for trans rights

On Friday, March 12, more than 50 people marched through the streets of Madison, ending at the State Capitol building, to protest new legislation that would curb the rights of transgender people. The protest was attended by people of all ages, sporting LGBTQ+ flags and signs denouncing the bill, and supporting the rights of Trans-gender individuals. 

The organizers of the Trans Liberation March described that it was to “be a celebration of gender diversity and a way to tell the legislature that we will not let this pass.” In the description of the event on Facebook, they explained that while it is likely that Governor Evers will veto the new bill, “the fact that our existence is up for debate demands a movement for trans liberation.” 

Dane County officials ‘cautiously hopeful’ as restrictions loosen considerably

Earlier this month, Public Health Madison & Dane County issued a new emergency order significantly loosening COVID restrictions, pointing to a decrease in cases and hospitalizations, as well as significant progress in vaccination efforts. Emergency Order #14 went into effect on Wednesday, replacing Emergency Order #13 from last month. One of the biggest changes between the orders is the relaxing of restrictions on gatherings. The number of people allowed at indoor gatherings where food or drink is offered rose from 25 to 150, and the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings with no food or drink offered jumped from 50 to 350, with all restrictions not including employees. 

The number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings increased by nearly 500 percent. Emergency Order #13 allowed 100 individuals at outdoor gatherings with food or drink provided, and 150 individuals for outdoor gatherings without food or drink.

Madison Commons Media Digest, March 14, 2021


23.3% of Dane County residents vaccinated as 69 new case are reported, Robert Chappell, Madison365, March 12. How to get a COVID-19 shot in Wisconsin: Vaccine hunters share tips, Bram Sable-Smith, Wisconsin Watch, March 12. Wisconsin residents with chronic diseases to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine March 29, David Wahlberg, Wisconsin State Journal, March 12. Alliant Center could become one of three federal COVID-19 vaccination sites in Wisconsin, David Wahlberg, WSJ, March 9. Madison and Dane County

Cap Times Election Q&A: Madison City Council District 18, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, March 13.

MMSD return to in-person learning draws mixed reactions

Amid vaccine delays and the spread of new COVID-19 variants, parents and teachers have mixed reactions to the announcement that Madison Metropolitan School District will resume in-person instruction for grades 4k-2 starting this week. Our Courtney Degen spoke with several parents and teachers for their reactions, and heard many concerns on the complex issue.

Madison Commons Media Digest, March 7, 2021


A year after COVID-19 transformed life in Wisconsin, pandemic toll widespread, David Wahlberg, Wisconsin State Journal, March 7. Dane County reports 80 new cases; daily case rates rise slightly, Stephanie Díaz de Léon, Madison365, March 6; New Wisconsin cases, reported deaths down sharply; positive test rate steady at 2.3%, Robert Chappell, Madison365, March 5. Dane County COVID-19 vaccination clinic will prioritize educators starting March 9, Elizabeth Beyer, WSJ, March 5. One million Wisconsin residents have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, state builds network of vaccinators, Mitchell Schmidt, WSJ, March 5; More COVID-19 variant cases reported in Wisconsin as vaccine supply grows, David Wahlberg, WSJ, March 5. Wisconsin's Deputy Health Secretary warns against COVID fatigue, Erik Gunn, Wisconsin Examiner, March 5.