Redistricting federal ruling, Cyber Hall of Shame

A panel of federal judges ruled this morning that Wisconsin lawmakers failed in their duties to properly draw State Assembly districts for Milwaukee’s  Latino community, but left the rest of districts drawn by the Republican majority intact.

The judges gave lawmakers the opportunity to fix the boundaries for Assembly Districts 8 and 9, but to do so “within the combined outer boundaries of those two districts.”

More broadly,  it rejected Democratic efforts to throw out the maps, which are more favorable to Republican officeholders and candidates.

In its decision, the judges wrote:

“We find that although the drafting of Act 43 was needlessly secret, regrettably excluding input from the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin citizens, and although the final product needlessly moved more than a million Wisconsinites and disrupted their long-standing political relationships, the resulting population deviations are not large enough to permit judicial intervention under the Supreme Court’s precedents.”

This decision just came in, so we’ll likely have  more on it later today or tomorrow on Here and Now.

CYBER HALL OF SHAME

Our friends at Wisconsin Public Radio have an interesting story as we approach Tax Day next month.

According to their report, there are more than 20,000 delinquent taxpayers in the state of Wisconsin and the Department of Revenue has posted their names on line. The so-called Cyber Hall of Shame was established by the Legislature in 2006 for individuals and businesses which owe more than $5,000. It led to the collection of $202 million in delinquent taxes collected last year.

“Department of Revenue spokesperson Stephanie Marquis says that’s helped the state collect more delinquent taxes, because some people are embarrassed to have their name publicly listed. She says the state takes other actions to collect the taxes, like setting up payment plans, but sometimes they have to become more firm, “We start looking at what type of assets they may have that we could put a lien against, looking at financial record matching, looking at wage garnishments, all those types of things.”

You can search the website by letters of the alphabet, by city of residence or by the top 100. According to the Department of Revenue, Malini Ganeshapillai, who has a last-known mailing address in Fond du Lac currently owes the most to the state of Wisconsin in back taxes. The department reports he owes $2,629,468.94.

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