Top Ten MacIver News Stories Of 2023

Dec. 20, 2023

There are no slow news days in Wisconsin, which is why so many important stories get lost in the shuffle. The MacIver News Service often finds itself alone covering issues and events that are critical for conservatives to push back against the left’s radical agenda in Wisconsin. If it wasn’t for the MacIver News Service, you probably would never have heard about these stories. Here are the top ten stories we are most proud of from 2023.

10. Naked Bike Ride Organizers Defend Their Event and the Right of Children to Participate

This past summer, a 10-year-old girl rode naked on her bicycle through downtown Madison with hundreds of naked adults, and law enforcement refused to do anything about it. Assembly Republicans want to make sure that never happens again. Pictures of the girl even circulated online. Local police and prosecutors refused to do anything about it, because they claimed there was nothing illegal about it. During a public hearing in October, organizers and participants came out in force to defend the event and the right of children to get naked in public with naked adults and participate. Even the girl’s mother provided a statement stating she sees nothing wrong with this. Fortunately, there are still some adults in Madison (at least in the Capitol) who disagree.

Story Link: Naked Bike Ride Organizers Defend Their Event and the Right of Children to Participate | MacIver Institute

9. Most UW Students Fearful of Expressing Unpopular Views

The results of a survey on free speech at University of Wisconsin campuses released on Feb. 1, 2023 found most students are afraid to share their views on controversial issues, but they believe that their fellow students are not. 5,902 out of the 10,445 survey respondents (57%) said they had wanted to share an opinion about a controversial issue in class but decided against it. Most of them (61%) said it was because they feared their fellow students disagreed with them. Another 46% said they were afraid their teachers would label their opinions as offensive. Over 41% said they were afraid the teacher would lower their grade if they didn’t agree with them.

Story Link: Most UW Students Fearful of Expressing Unpopular Views | MacIver Institute

8. A Week of Constitutional Showdowns at the Wisconsin Capitol

One of Gov. Evers’ favorite tactics is to accuse Republicans of violating the constitution, while actively attacking it himself. MacIver has documented several occasions since 2020 where Evers has openly attempted to violate the constitution. Evers’ attacks involved: shutting down churches, emergency powers authorization, extending term lengths for elected officials, redistricting authority, line-item veto restrictions, and the senate’s confirmation authority. Those last three items all came to a head in September during a particularly contentious week. Since then, the governor has also attempted to wrestle away the legislature’s power of the purse over the UW’s refusal to eliminate DEI positions. MacIver is the only news source that continues to track and report on the Gov. Evers’ repeated attacks on our constitutional form of government.

Story Link: A Week of Constitutional Showdowns at the Wisconsin Capitol | MacIver Institute

7. Wauwatosa Schools Hired Notorious Activist to Teach Juvenile Delinquents with Predictable Results

Rather than sending juvenile delinquents to state-run juvenile delinquent detention centers, Milwaukee County prefers to rehabilitate then locally through a program run by the Wauwatosa School District. Unfortunately, the school’s approach involves exposing the delinquents to radical ideologies and activists. Not surprising, many of the graduates of the program are back in police custody before long. In fact, two of Milwaukee County’s most horrific recent murders were allegedly committed by recent MCAP graduates. Omarion Danielson, charged with murdering a mother on Christmas Eve in front of her son, and Lawrence Griffin, charged with murdering a 12-year-old after first stealing his eyeglasses, are both said to have attended MCAP in 2020.

Story Link: Wauwatosa Schools Hired Notorious Activist to Teach Juvenile Delinquents with Predictable Results | MacIver Institute

6. Your Property Tax Bill Is Higher Because Of TIF Districts, Legislative Council Confirms

The MacIver Institute has been front and center warning taxpayers about the impact of TIF districts for years. In a nutshell, every time somethings gets built in a TIF district, everyone’s property taxes in that county go up. (Check out this comprehensive report for the specifics). The non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Council confirmed MacIver’s conclusions are correct in a memo released only to lawmakers. MacIver News acquired that memo through an open records request in April and took a victory lap. Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s public officials do not seem to be deterred in the slightest from continuing to push TIF.

Story Link: Your Property Tax Bill Is Higher Because Of TIF Districts, Legislative Council Confirms | MacIver Institute

5. Violence in Madison Schools Largely Ignored by Safety Committee

A district wide survey revealed a terrifying situation throughout Madison’s school district brought on by an overly permissive environment. Students complained of “too many fights,” and feeling “unsafe in hallways, common areas, bathrooms and buses.” Bullying has become a major problem, and students recognize it’s because there are “no consequences.” The district formed an ad hoc committee whose first order of business was to figure out how to become a permanent committee. Another top priority was getting the radical activist organization, Freedom Inc., another taxpayer-funded contract.

Story Link: Violence in Madison Schools Largely Ignored by Safety Committee | MacIver Institute

4. Fact Check: Would Milwaukee Bankruptcy Hurt Wisconsin?

On January 1, 2024, the sales tax in Milwaukee will jump from 5.5% to 7.9% thanks to a bailout plan passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Evers in June. Local officials claimed that without it, the city and county were facing imminent bankruptcy. Lawmakers claimed that Milwaukee going bankrupt would send shockwaves throughout the state’s economy and impact the entire state’s credit rating. They said the same thing happened in Michigan when Detroit went bankrupt in 2013. The MacIver Institute, naturally, looked into that easily verified claim and discovered it was completely false. Unfortunately, that did not sway state or local officials, and Milwaukee’s residents will soon be paying the price literally.

Story Link: Fact Check: Would Milwaukee Bankruptcy Hurt Wisconsin? | MacIver Institute

3. Milwaukee Plans to Dump Parks System onto MMSD Customers?

It has not escaped the attention of Milwaukee County and City officials that the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is not restrained by property tax caps. That’s why it’s become common for the county to force recreational projects onto MMSD whenever it needs to work on actual sewerage infrastructure in a county park. In May, Milwaukee City Alderman Bob Baumann let it slip that the county is working to unload its entire park system onto MMSD. MacIver News, with its unenviable task of monitoring local government livestreams, exposed the plot. That directly led to lawmakers introducing AB 587, which would prevent the county from dumping its projects on MMSD in the future.

Story Link: Milwaukee Plans To Dump Parks System Onto MMSD Customers? | MacIver Institute

2. Gender Transition Survivor Speaks Out

Chloe Cole’s visit to Waukesha in January set the stage for the right’s pushback on the extreme transgender movement in Wisconsin for the rest of the year. Cole began transitioning from biological female to transgender male when she was 12 years old. Eventually she realized her mistake, but not before permanent damage was done to her body. She now travels the country speaking out against the transgender movement and industry, while describing the challenges she faces as she detransitions back to her natural self. Parents on Patrol hosted the event, and MacIver was there to capture the story.

Story Link: Gender Transition Survivor Speaks Out | MacIver Institute

1. Act 10 Savings Total $16.8 Billion Since 2012

Every year the MacIver Institute updates its analysis on how much money Wisconsin taxpayers have saved on account of Act 10. That law broke the public sector unions’ stranglehold on state and local government budgets. Using the same methodology for the past ten years, MacIver calculates retirement and health care savings at all levels of government. This year the total savins reached $16.8 billion. That became an important figure when the unions filed a new lawsuit to overturn the law. As much as liberals would like to dispute those savings, even the Journal Sentinel’s highly politicized PolitiFact concedes that the numbers check out.

Story Link: Act 10 Savings Total $16.8 Billion Since 2012 | MacIver Institute