Civics: Democracy dies in emergencies

Joshua Sharf:

The United States begins 2021 under a continuing state of emergency.  Rather, it begins the new year under fifty-one different states of emergency, one for each state plus the District of Columbia.

In Colorado this has resulted in conflicting, inconsistent, and arbitrary rules.  Businesses are punished not for bad outcomes but for daring to defy the rules.   Having suspended the liquor licenses of a number of restaurants for daring to remain open, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Liquor Enforcement Division sent a letter to those restaurants’ suppliers, “strongly encouraging” them not to do business with the miscreants.  Never mind that restaurants as a whole have been the scene of few outbreaks.  A national chain that has been associated with some outbreaks remains open for business.

State constitutions grant their chief executives the power to declare states of emergency, and to assume special powers to meet that emergency.  Many of those state constitutions limit the scope or duration of those powers; Colorado’s constitution does not.  If the governor chooses not to end the state of emergency, the legislature must pass a joint resolution ending it.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration