New political coalition focuses on equity and inclusion

After a frustrating Summer 2020, Larissa Joanna noticed that while many Madison residents realized the need for change and wanted to contribute, they had no idea of where to start. As protests turned violent and attendance decreased, Joanna decided that change was needed. That's when Reshaping Madison Together (RMT), the newest coalition in the Madison political scene, formed. What started as a survey and a group of 40 people has emerged as a progressive group of activists and volunteers who Joanna says are “fighting the good fight.”  

Madison Commons Media Digest, April 11, 2021

Our Coverage

Experts urge caution as Dane County lifts restrictions, Courtney Degen, Madison Commons, April 9. COVID-19

Wisconsin reports most daily COVID-19 cases in nearly 2 months; deaths, hospitalizations also up, David Wahlberg, Wisconsin State Journal, April 9. Efforts ramp up to vaccinate people of color against COVID-19 in Wisconsin, David Wahlberg, WSJ, April 8. 10 charts that show how Dane County is copying with COVID-19, Lee Digital Content, April 7. Alliant Energy Center to expand COVID-19 vaccination with federal site, David Wahlberg, WSJ, April 7.

Experts urge caution as Dane County lifts restrictions

A new Dane County health order went into effect Wednesday that removes an outdoor mask mandate and lifts all capacity restrictions for outdoor gatherings.

Public Health Madison & Dane County announced Emergency Order #15 on April 2, citing a continued decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. While the order removes the requirement for face coverings outdoors, PHMDC still strongly recommends wearing masks outdoors when it is not possible to maintain a six feet distance from others. 

Similarly, though there are no longer specific capacity restrictions for outdoor gatherings, Emergency Order #15 indicates that “Numbers must be limited to ensure individuals who are not members of the same household or living unit maintain six (6) feet physical distancing at all times.”

Madison Commons Media Digest, April 4, 2021

Top Stories

Happy Easter! Don't forget to vote on Tuesday. COVID-19

Dane County removes capacity limit, mask requirement for outdoor gatherings, Logan Wroge, Wisconsin State Journal, April 3. Positive test rate rises to 3% as state reports 875 new cases, most in months, Robert Chappell, Madison365, April 2. All Wisconsinites 16 and older to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting next week, Mitchell Schmidt, WSJ, April 2; More than 1 million Wisconsinites fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Mitchell Schmidt, WSJ, March 30; Battling a 'sneaky, tricky virus': Deputy DHS Secretary speaks on latest pandemic news, good and bad, Erik Gunn, Wisconsin Examiner, March 30.

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

Top Stories

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.