Posts Tagged ‘Kelda Helen Roys’

Rep. Kelda Roys explains court records bill

February 2, 2010

In an interview with The Sconz, Rep. Kelda Roys explained the reasoning behind a bill she co-authored with Reps. Marlin Schneider and Fred Kessler to restrict public access to certain court records. The bill, which recently passed the Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Homeland Security, would prohibit the Consolidated Court Automations Programs website from displaying pending cases and dismissed cases. The website would only be allowed to put up information relating to convictions.

Roys, a freshman representative and UW-Law alum, used to work for the Innocence Project, a non-profit org which uses DNA evidence to exonerate convicts, and says that the cause of the wrongly accused has remained close to her heart. “Working there, I learned how innocent people can have their lives gone in an instant. But even people who are just accused of a crime can also have their lives ruined.”

Roys worries that CCAP allows employers and landlords, who are prohibited by law to discriminate against tenants or employees based on arrest record, to do so anyways. “The landlords who run background checks say it ‘provides us with context,'” Roys said.

Nevertheless, anybody will still be allowed to access the records that will be taken off of CCAP by contacting the police department and requesting them. Roys quipped that it will “make the cost of breaking the law a little bit higher.”

The most puzzling aspect of the law, which has been criticized by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, is the exception it grants “journalists,” who will continue to have unrestricted access to all court records. What is a journalist? Am I a journalist? Unsurprisingly, this law comes courtesy of the same legislator –– Marlin Schneider –– who wanted to grant certain tax exemptions to newspapers. Again, what is a newspaper in this day and age? Roys did not have a clear answer. She admitted that many mainstream reporters have an agenda, and are more interested in dirt than real news.

In response to similar questions, Rep. Marlin Schneider sent me an enormous testimonial from a constituent who has had his record compromised by a misunderstanding relating to unemployment benefits.

Democrats unite behind Sheridan, blame lobbyists

January 29, 2010

Had Madison seen its last coup when Badger Herald partisans took over the Daily Cardinal board of directors back in the 80’s? That’s the question political observers were asking themselves as rumors circulate that Assembly Democrats were seeking to oust Speaker Mike Sheridan from the lower chamber’s throne.

According to Wispolitics (whose almanac I just received in the mail!), Sheridan denied the rumors, blaming them on payday loan lobbyists. It was a surprising accusation at first because most of the controversy surrounding payday loans took place last summer, when Democrats in the legislature first attempted to craft a bill that would impose stricter regulations  on interest rates for payday lenders.

In a phone interview, Rep. Kelda Roys (D-Madison) reiterated Sheridan’s message. Roys said lobbyists likely assumed they had defeated the legislation and were taken by surprise when it turned out that legislators had hammered out a bill. “They’re saying, wait, we just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill this and it won’t go away.”

When I asked her how a lobbyist might go about spreading such a rumor, she suggested that he/she would probably talk to other lobbyists at the bar. Where’s the best bar to find lobbyists? Madisons. the Local Tavern, Genna’s.

Could we have “smart furloughs”?

December 23, 2009

Should state employees who are paid by private or federal funds be required to take a furlough like everybody else in state government? Many UW employees, especially scientific researchers who are paid largely by federal grant money, feel the furlough is unjust. What does happen to those federal dollars they don’t collect on those days? Does the state siphon it off?

Sifting and Winnowing discusses “Smart Furloughs,” proposed by State Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, which would exempt state employees who are paid with state AND federal funds from the mandatory vacations.

Roys’ proposal seems to big. Would it require any employee who receives ANY federal money from taking the furlough? There’s so much federal money in all aspects of state government (especially education) that thousands of employees could find ways to avoid the furloughs.