In the News

Texas Is Now Taking a Full Set of Fingerprints for Driver’s Licenses, but Is This Legal? (Plus, the Other States That Do It)

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Privacy advocates last month jumped on a story out of Texas when they learned that the state’s Department of Public Safety was taking full sets of fingerprints as citizens renewed their driver’s licenses.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“Really. Quietly, earlier this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety began requiring full sets of fingerprints from everyone who obtains a new driver’s license or photo identification card. This applies to those who come in as required for periodic renewals, but it doesn’t apply to mail-in renewals,” Dave Lieber wrote for the Dallas Morning News.

“Until now, if a person never got arrested, most likely his or her fingerprints would never get recorded and placed in a government database,” Lieber continued in his “Watchdog” column.

Read the full story on The Blaze

Who’s Watching Your Statehouse? No One

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The number of full-time journalists on the Capitol beat is down 40 percent since 2003. Why even politicians are saying weak newspaper economics is a disaster for democracy.

For generations of journalists, covering the statehouse has been a prestigious beat. It typically came with a desk in the building, and ample access to lawmakers. It was not an assignment for a novice. You worked your way up to it, and you had to be good. Bringing down a governor, exposing corruption—all in a day’s work. The statehouse is where reputations were made and politicians ran scared, knowing multiple news organizations could be on their case.

But that era is ending, a casualty of newspaper economics and a changing society. On a good day, state news is under-covered, especially compared to its importance. While multitudes of reporters in Washington chronicle the gridlocked Congress, the number of full-time reporters covering 50 statehouses has fallen to roughly 300, down from 500 in 2003, according to the Pew Research Center.

Read the full article at The Daily Beast

Steve Wilson Discusses the Mississippi Primary Runoff on National Radio Show

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Steve Wilson appeared last week on the Conservative Commandos Radio Show to discuss his recent article on the Mississippi primary runoff.

You can hear the entire interview here.

Steve Wilson Speaks with the “Gary Nolan Show” on the Mississippi Primary Race

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Steve Wilson appeared on the Gary Nolan Show to discuss his recent article about the recent runoff primary in Mississippi.

You can hear it all below.

VA Bureaucracy Stonewalls Florida Health Agency

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Ailing veterans apparently aren’t the only ones waiting to receive services from Veterans Affairs hospitals.

So is the state of Florida.

Inspectors from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration tried to conduct an onsite review at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville this week, but were denied access to requested documents.

It’s the second time in five weeks state health officials visited the Gainesville VA. The recent attempt was prompted by the “discovery of a secret waiting list.”

Read the entire article here.

Virginia city official defends boosting worker’s pension by $400,000

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Richmond’s top city official defended a decision to transfer one employee’s 800 hours of unused sick leave from her previous city job so she could receive $400,0000 more in pension compensation.

It’s “not a unique transaction,” Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall said, according to a recent city audit.

That only raises more unanswered questions about what other transactions happen in Richmond’s senior-level offices as the state drowns in nearly $2 billion of debt, according to the city’s most recent comprehensive annual financial report.

Read the entire article here.

NPR: How do newspapers affect voting and community participation

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity spoke with NPR about the impact of local newspapers on community participation.

Listen to the entire interview here.

Be sure to read the entire story from NPR here.

Visas for Detroit? Unprecedented plan to repopulate ailing city

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Michigan officials want to repopulate Detroit with an aggressive immigration program — a move critics call misguided and unworkable.

“This ranks right up there with Ford’s expectation that the Edsel was going to be a big seller,” said Bob Dane, communications director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has opened an Office for New Americans, with the goal of luring foreign workers and overseas capital to pump up the Motor City. The once-bustling metropolis of 1.85 million people has shriveled to 701,000, and falling.

Read the entire article here.

Teen pregnancies cost FL taxpayers $443 million

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Anyone who’s seen even a glimpse of the MTV reality show 16 and Pregnant knows that teen pregnancy is often traumatic and fraught with pain and uncertainty.

Typical episode titles include, “Party girl with troubled past gets pregnant while her mom is in jail,” “All American girl gets pregnant from a one night stand,” and “Ex-party girl tries to get her stoner boyfriend to straighten up before their bundle of joy arrives.”

But in human and economic costs, there’s little entertainment value when it comes to Florida’s more than 496,000 teen child births over the past two decades.

Read the entire article here.

Federal judge orders probe of Wisconsin conservatives shut down again

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

In the latest round of this week’s dizzying federal court filings, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa on Thursday morning quickly fired back at the prosecutors of a politically charged John Doe investigation, declaring their appeal frivolous and ordering a preliminary injunction halting the secret investigation reinstated.

Randa’s ruling came swiftly, less than a day after the  7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stayed the judge’s preliminary injunction, issued Tuesday, that stopped the nearly three-year investigation and ordered all documents obtained in the probe destroyed.

The appeals court said Randa jumped the gun in issuing his decision before he determined the status of the prosecutors’ appeal. In its ruling on the prosecutors’ emergency appeal, the 7th Circuit said Randa erred in failing to certify that an appeal filed last month by the prosecutors with the 7th Circuit was frivolous.

Read the entire article here.