Member Op-Ed: Legislators Undermining Citizens of Wisconsin

December 12, 2018

Last week, a number of bills that threaten to undercut our democratic process were passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature in a lame duck Extraordinary Session. The bills now await the signature of Governor Scott Walker, who has indicated that he supports these measures. 

 

Regardless of political affiliation, the further concentration of power in the state legislature as proposed in these bills is bad governance.

 

By “eliminating the power of the [elected] attorney general to appoint a solicitor general and up to three deputy solicitors general” and to “eliminate the Office of the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice, which represents the state in certain cases on appeal in the state and federal courts” as proposed in AB-1073, our legislators are undermining the citizens of Wisconsin, who democratically elected Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul in the statewide November election under the promise to remove Wisconsin from the federal lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. They are also effectively removing the checks and balances of having three separate branches of government as outlined in the Wisconsin Constitution. 

 

Yes, change to our healthcare system is needed. Exit poll data shows that the healthcare plan proposed by Governor-elect Evers was the number one reason voters selected Governor-elect Evers over Governor Walker. The changes sought in AB-1073 undercut these plans and policies and intentionally ignore the expressed wishes of voters.

 

It is wrong for the legislature to limit the duties and power of the executive branch to maintain hyper-partisan political agendas while restricting the voting rights of Wisconsin citizens as outlined in AB-1071 and to ignore the outcome of a statewide election.

It is wrong to rush this legislation through at the 11th hour of Governor Walker’s administration because the Republican Party sees it as an opportunity to limit the abilities of incoming Governor-elect Evers’ administration. The Republican Party already had eight years to address these issues and has four coming years to address these issues in a bipartisan manner which allows for the proper public input and proper agency oversight. Rather than look at this as an opportunity to further protect themselves, they should have used this as an opportunity to put partisanship aside and begin to heal the political divide in Wisconsin.

 

If elected officials of both parties actually served their constituents as they are elected and publicly paid to do, rather than already concern themselves with their reelection bids in 2022 and the desires of big money special interest groups from outside of the state, then we would not need bad bills to further strip the little remaining power of the public and this letter would not be necessary. 

 

We see this Extraordinary Session for what it is, a power grab and a failure to respect the will of the people in a state that is already among the most gerrymandered in the country. 

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