The WonkLine: February 22, 2011

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 a.m. roundup of the latest public policy news. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below. You can also follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.


Climate Change

Environmental groups are standing with the workers in Wisconsin because these attacks “are all coming from the same place: corporations and their political allies.”

Buried in the Koch-supported Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) bill to strip public unions of collective bargaining rights is a provision to fire-sale the state’s energy assets, ” with or without solicitation of bids.”

Infant dolphin deaths have gone up by 10 times the normal rate along the Gulf coast after the BP oil spill.


The Washington Post completely misses the point on Scalia and Thomas attending Koch-fueled fundraisers. There’s nothing wrong with justices speaking to diverse audiences — or even getting their expenses reimbursed for doing so — the problem is that it is unethical for a judge to engage in political fundraising.

Montana Republicans really love them some unconstitutional nullification bills.

A bit of legal advice: if you plan to murder your husband’s lover, don’t use a rare and deadly poison that’s covered by a chemical weapons treaty.


Public employees in Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan are fighting back against conservative legislation to remove their collective bargaining rights or allow the state to unilaterally break union contracts.

According to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll, “only 46 percent of blacks and 32 percent of Hispanics [say] they had an individual retirement account or any similar retirement arrangement.”

“Oil production in Libya is set to drop dramatically as major international companies and sub-contractors evacuate their staff from the north African country” following the Qaddafi regime’s violent crackdown on protesters.


Detroit’s public school system has received state approval for a plan that will “increase some class sizes to 60 students and result in the closure of about 70 schools.”

“Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus,” which would make it just the second state to adopt such a stance.

Education Week notes that “states that failed to receive a Race to the Top award are scrounging for state funds to implement education overhaul promises they made in their grant applications.”

Health Care

“A handful of Senate Democrats are presenting a united front against new reproductive-rights restrictions being pushed by House Republicans.”

“Despite mixed reviews by the general public, nine of 10 leaders in U.S. health policy say healthcare reform sets the right course, a survey indicates.”

“The Obama administration is gearing up for an influx of state requests to modify the federal-state Medicaid partnership when the nation’s governors descend on the capital for their winter meeting next weekend.”


Seventy-one percent of Utahans support creating a state-issued work permit for undocumented immigrants to allow them to stay here if they have a job and agree to a criminal background check.

House Republicans voted mostly along party lines over the weekend to slash spending by an estimated $600 million for border security and immigration enforcement for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg argued that the country’s immigration policies jeopardize New York’s status as “the fashion capital of the world,” saying they limit visas for designers, manufacturers and models.