Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wisconsin Legislature Should Pass Redistricting Reform and Disclosure Legislation When it Comes Back to Ratify Labor Contracts This Week

Press Release
December 14, 2010

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686


The Wisconsin Legislature will apparently call itself into Extraordinary Session this week to consider pending public employee contracts due to expire soon. While they are in session, the State Senate ought to do two other very important things for the citizens of Wisconsin before the end of 2010.

The completion and compilation of the 2010 Census - which counts the number and location of Wisconsin citizens - means that the process of legislative (and Congressional) redistricting will begin in 2011. The current method of redistricting in Wisconsin is among the most partisan and secretive of any such process in the nation and ought to be reformed. The Wisconsin Legislature ought to expand the call of the session for the labor contracts to include passing legislation to establish a non-partisan redistricting process such as the one they have had in Iowa since 1980. It ought to be done now, this year, before Wisconsin's current redistricting process kicks into gear -- behind closed doors and costing Wisconsin taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The Wisconsin Legislature should also pass legislation requiring outside special interest groups who run campaign communications disguised as issue advocacy to disclose their donors. This is something they neglected to pass last April and Common Cause in Wisconsin was the first organization in the state to call for the Legislature to come back in December and get this done.

For more on the disclosure measure, read this recent editorial. You can also listen to CC/WI explain the need for disclosure in a recent Wisconsin Public Radio segment.

Passing redistricting reform and disclosure now will clear the way for the new Wisconsin Legislature and Governor to work on improving the economy and creating jobs -- their stated priority during the campaign that ended on November 2nd. It will also provide the citizens of Wisconsin with a much needed boost in confidence that their state government is doing something positive for their interests rather than for narrow partisan and deep-pocketed special interests.


Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703

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