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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

State Senator Lazich's Weekly Insight

Voter ID Gets Day in Court
After much anticipation, the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments about Wisconsin’s Voter ID law Tuesday, February 25, 2014.  

After approval of the law during 2011, four lawsuits were filed to prevent Voter ID implementation.  Two were filed at state courts and two at federal courts.  There are two cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  One was filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the other was filed by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.  

The NAACP is contending the law is unconstitutional because individuals must get a photo ID.  People are able to get a free ID, and must provide a birth certificate or other form to obtain the photo ID.  The court could rule a birth certificate fee is unconstitutional, and rule voter ID is constitutional.  

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin argues the state constitution has three requirements; voters must be age 18 or older, voters must be U.S. citizens, and voters must be Wisconsin residents.  They argue voter ID creates an additional requirement.  However, during May 2013, an appeals court ruled photo identification determines whether the person offering to vote possesses the qualifications already required by the Wisconsin Constitution and does not impose an additional qualification.

Upholding Voter ID is incredibly important to securing Wisconsin’s election process tainted during recent years.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to rule on the two voter ID cases during June 2014.  U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman is expected to rule on two federal voter ID cases. Those cases are brought by the ACLU and other groups on behalf of 25 voters in Wisconsin alleging violations of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.  The voter ID requirements must be upheld in all four court cases before voter ID may be implemented.

Ensuring the integrity of elections is crucial to a healthy democracy. Requiring voters provide identification at the polls is reasonable and deters fraudulent votes. Voter ID guarantees everyone the right to vote, and ensures Wisconsin voters’ that their vote has the same value as all other votes.

Click here for Wisconsin Supreme Court oral arguments, Milwaukee NAACP v. Scott Walker

Click here for Wisconsin State Supreme Court arguments, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc. v. Scott Walker 

The State Senate this Week
The State Senate is scheduled to be on the floor of the State Senate March 4, 2014, for special session to take action on Governor Walker’s tax cut proposal.  The 2013-14 legislative session ends April 3, 2014.

Click here to view the Schedule of Committee Hearings.  

 

A Citizen's Guide to Participation in the Wisconsin State Legislature
Legislative Council staff published A Citizen’s Guide to the Wisconsin Legislature.  If you would like to request a copy of the Guide, please email sen.lazich@legisg.wisconsin.gov.

 

IRS Info About Filing Income Tax Returns
Seven Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines for claiming dependents and exemptions on federal 2013 income tax returns:

1. Exemptions cut income.  There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. You can usually deduct $3,900 for each exemption you claim on your 2013 tax return.

2. Personal exemptions.  You can usually claim an exemption for yourself. If you’re married and file a joint return you can also claim one for your spouse. If you file a separate return, you can claim an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no gross income, is not filing a return, and was not the dependent of another taxpayer.

3. Exemptions for dependents.  You can usually claim an exemption for each of your dependents. A dependent is either your child or a relative that meets certain tests. You can’t claim your spouse as a dependent. You must list the Social Security number of each dependent you claim. See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, for rules that apply to people who don’t have an SSN.

4. Some people don’t qualify.  You generally may not claim married persons as dependents if they file a joint return with their spouse. There are some exceptions to this rule.

5. Dependents may have to file.  People that you can claim as your dependent may have to file their own federal tax return. This depends on many things, including the amount of their income, their marital status and if they owe certain taxes.

6. No exemption on dependent’s return.  If you can claim a person as a dependent, that person can’t claim a personal exemption on his or her own tax return. This is true even if you don’t actually claim that person as a dependent on your tax return. The rule applies because you have to right to claim that person.

7. Exemption phase-out.  The $3,900 per exemption is subject to income limits. This rule may reduce or eliminate the amount depending on your income. Here is a link to Publication 501.

You may use the Interactive Tax Assistant to determine whether a person qualifies as your dependent.

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