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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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As fallout continues from Wisconsin Republicans' failed attempt to gut the state's government transparency laws, a GOP leader finally admitted Tuesday Gov. Scott Walker's (R) office was involved in the proposal, which was dropped after passing a legislative committee.

"Sure. Yeah," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said when reporters asked him whether the governor's office was part of conversations about the proposal, as reported by The Capitol Times.

"Along the way we had talked to them about open records issues and the amount of requests the governor gets," Fitzgerald said, according to WISC-TV. "The assembly obviously was involved as well."

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A provision in a Wisconsin budget package that would have gutted the state’s open records laws were scrapped after the Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the GOP legislative leadership came under intense scrutiny. However, a number of other consequential policy initiatives tucked into the larger budget bill remain intact. Some provisions appear to double down on Walker’s longstanding war on labor. Others roll back efforts to hold law enforcement accountable through transparency measures.

The governor’s office did not return TPM’s request for comment as to whether Walker, who will make his run for the White House official next week, intended to support or veto the measures. However, in the fallout over the open records law changes, legislators of both parties signaled his office was aware -- if not approving -- of all the provisions in the budget package, known as Motion 999, that passed the Joint Finance Committee on Thursday.

Here is what else is the package:

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A group of New Jersey Democratic lawmakers have vowed to introduce a bill that would force Gov. Christie Christie (R) to step down in order to run for president. The proposal, expected to be introduced in the days to come, is being sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) as well as Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D), NJ.com reports. They say Christie has been missing in action during his third gubernatorial term — often traveling to early primary states like New Hampshire — due to his presidential campaign, which he made official last week.

"He's not doing the state any good by spending the bulk of his time out of state," Lesniak told NJ.com. "And even when he's in-state, he's focusing on what he has to do to get elected president — which often runs contrary to what he ought to do for the state."

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Wisconsin Republicans may have swiftly backtracked on a proposal that would have gutted the state’s open records law, but the big question remains as to who inserted the language into the budget bill in the first place and whether Gov. Scott Walker (R) -- who was already facing a lawsuit challenging him to release certain legislative documents -- was involved in pushing the changes.

The changes to the public records law were initially approved by the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee by a party-line vote Thursday evening, before the long Independence Day weekend. But a fierce backlash prompted Republican leaders, led by Walker, to announce during the holiday weekend they were dropping the provisions. The proposal, part of a budget package known as Motion #999, would have removed a number of legislative documents from under the scope of government transparency laws, and would have permitted lawmakers to opt out of submitting to other types of public records requests. The proposal appeared to target communications tracking how legislation is developed, which often reveals the influence of special interests.

So far, Republicans have stayed mum on who initially pushed for the changes, though it has emerged in the last 72 hours that most of leadership chain was at the very least aware of them before they were put in front of the Joint Finance Committee on Thursday. As for Walker's role, the specifics of his involvement, if any, remain unknown. But the consensus in Madison is nothing would have gotten that far in the legislative process without at least Walker's tacit approval.

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Wisconsin Republicans led by Gov. Scott Walker (R) swiftly reversed course over the holiday weekend and dropped a proposal that would have gutted Wisconsin's open records law.

Tucked into a larger budget motion, the proposal, as reported by The Capital Times on Friday, would have removed a number of legislative materials and communications from the law's auspices and would have allowed lawmakers to refuse to disclose certain documents.

As the backlash began to mount, Walker announced over the weekend that he and state lawmakers had agreed to remove the provisions changing state open record laws.

"We are steadfastly committed to open and accountable government," Walker said in a statement Saturday that was cosigned by state GOP legislative leaders. "The intended policy goal of these changes was to provide a reasonable solution to protect constituents' privacy and to encourage a deliberative process between elected officials and their staff in developing policy. It was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way."

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Former Massachusetts Gov. and GOP 2012 nominee Mitt Romney will host New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is running for president, and Christie's wife Mary Pat, for a sleepover Friday.

The Washington Post reported that the Christies will stay at Romney's Wolfeboro, N.H. compound on Lake Winnipesaukee Friday night after they share a casual dinner. Christie aides confirmed the plans to the New York Times.

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A Kentucky clerk who stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples – gay or straight – after the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage now faces a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU-Kentucky Thursday.

The challengers in the suit – two gay couples and two straight couples – say Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Davis violated their due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and ask that Davis be compelled to begin issuing the licenses again, in addition to seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

They also brought the complaint on behalf of the individuals who are otherwise qualified to be married in Rowan county, but can no longer do so because of Davis' refusal to grant licenses.

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Authorities are exploring pressing charges against associates of suspected Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, a report by The State suggests.

Unnamed sources tell The State that the investigation has been widened to include Roof's possible associates, who may have known the alleged shooter was planning the June 17 attack, which left nine African Americans dead at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

From the report:

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A Wisconsin man threatened to kill President Barack Obama while the president was traveling in the state, according to a warrant obtained by CNN.

A criminal complaint and arrest warrant were issued Thursday suggesting that the man, 55-year-old Brian D. Dutcher from Tomah, Wisconsin, told a security guard a La Crosse library that if he had the chance he would "take him out," referring to Obama, and "take the shot."

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Another day, another presidential candidate who hasn't done his domain name homework. Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), who triumphantly announced his White House run via Twitter Thursday, didn't register JimWebb.com ahead of his candidacy.

Those heading to JimWebb.com to find out more about his platform saw advertisements for web design lessons, or "webb" design lessons, instead.
The domain appears to be operated by a D.C.-based web developer named Jim who offers tutorials on Internet programming.

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