Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Demand Public Hearings in the State Senate and Assembly on Redistricting Reform Legislation Now!



For Release: Tuesday - November 21, 2017

Legislative Leaders Continue to Ignore Public Outcry for Public Hearings
on Fair Voter Maps Legislation


Wisconsin Assemby Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald have said recently that the Republican-controlled Legislature is by and large finished with its legislative agenda for the 2017-2018 session. They are expected to adjourn in early to mid-Spring for the year to "concentrate" on stockpiling special interest campaign cash for their re-election campaigns, while continuing to draw full-time salary and benefits. Great gig, if you can get it.

Keep in mind, Wisconsin is by far the smallest state in the nation, population-wise, that has a "full-time" Legislature. For what?

Now, it's possible the Legislature may move to do a few more things during the first three months of 2018. Perhaps they will decide to exempt toddlers who have concealed carry permits from the 21-year-old legal drinking age in Wisconsin. Or, perhaps they will act to outlaw gatherings of two or more Wisconsinites who talk about the rotten state of political discourse as potentially "riotous" behavior. Or, officially change the name of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to "Do Not Resuscitate," thus saving taxpayers nearly $43 because the agency can continue to use its DNR stationery. But we don't need environmental regulations in this state any more!

Having too much time on their hands is a problem for this Legislature.

But there is at least one more thing they really ought to do before they close up shop to beg for campaign cash in 2018.

Fitzgerald and Vos must allow public hearings to be scheduled and conducted on redistricting reform legislation before the Legislature adjourns sine dine in 2018.

That legislation is Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 – the exact same legislation that has been introduced for the past four legislative sessions. GOP legislative leaders didn't allow public hearings during 2011-12 or 2013-14. Vos finally did do it in 2015-16, on April 1, 2016 – after the legislative session officially adjourned and only because Common Cause in Wisconsin and The Wisconsin State Journal teamed up to embarrass Assembly Campaign and Elections Committee Chair, State Rep. Kathleen Bernier (R-Lake Halle), into holding one.

But during 2017, when the unconstitutional Wisconsin 2011 gerrymandering lawsuit is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, and public interest in this critical issue is extremely high, there has been nothing but "crickets" from Fitzgerald and Vos. In fact, Vos recently went out of his way to criticize Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio for having the audacity to support fair election maps and oppose hyper-partisan gerrymandering. How dare that Kasich side with citizens over political bosses!

Clearly, Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald and your state legislators need to hear from you, the citizens of Wisconsin about your support for Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 again, and your demand that they schedule a public hearing on the legislation immediately. Public hearing(s) before Christmas would be good...

And, if you haven't done this yet, please sign our online petition in support of the redistricting reform legislation. If you have already signed it, please urge family and friends to do so at your upcoming Thanksgiving gathering! Ending hyper-partisan gerrymandering is a subject everyone can agree on around the holiday table! :-) We have nearly 4,000 individual signees so far and would like to boost that total up to 5,000 by year's end.

Thanks so much for your active support for democracy in Wisconsin, and Happy Thanksgiving to you from all of us at CC/WI!





CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



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Monday, November 6, 2017

State Senate to Vote Tuesday on Dangerous, Misguided Legislation That Will Undermine The U.S. Constitution



For Release: Monday - November 6, 2017


Completely Unnecessary and Unwanted Measure to Amend the U.S. Constitution
in a Dangerous Way Will Come Up for a Vote

Despite many other pressing state issues of great concern to Wisconsin citizens, Republicans in the State Senate have carved out time on Tuesday, November 7th, to vote on a measure no one is calling for except for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and some other wealthy special interest groups that bankroll the state GOP – such as Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

A measure to make Wisconsin the 28th state (of 34 needed) to call for an Article V Constitutional Convention – AJR 21 – a misguided measure written for the stated purpose of adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but which would take us well beyond even that draconian, disastrous outcome was added to the State Senate calendar late on Friday, without advance warning. And no wonder. No real Wisconsin citizens are clamoring for this.

A convention like this has never been called and assembled before in our nation's history (since the first and only Constitutional Convention establishing the nation in 1787) and it could be a very destructive and dangerous event. A convention of this type could go well beyond a balanced budget measure and go on to alter or eliminate citizen rights currently protected by the Constitution. Voting rights, civil rights, women's rights, an end to democracy and freedom itself. The possibilities are endless.

The measure passed in the Assembly in June. Seven Assembly Republicans joined all the Assembly Democrats in voting against the call for a "ConCon," which is a good nickname for this abomination. Public opposition played a big role in their votes against it. Prospects for passage in the Republican-controlled State Senate had appeared much less certain at that time. GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) had expressed grave reservations about the matter, as had other State Senate Republicans. But Fitzgerald, without explanation, appears to have "changed his mind" and caved into special interest pressure.

It is vitally important that you contact your State Senator today, Monday, and demand that he or she vote against AJR 21. It is our understanding that all Democratic State Senators currently oppose AJR 21. But your call to them is still important, so please do not hesitate to contact them if they represent you. If you are not sure who your State Senator is, check here.

The following Republican State Senators are particularly important to contact as they are not co-sponsors of the ConCon resolution and/or some, including Fitzgerald, have expressed doubts about it in the past:

Robert Cowles
- State Senate District 2
Dan Feyen - State Senate District 18
Scott Fitzgerald - State Senate District 13
Devin LeMahieu - State Senate District 9
Terry Moulton - State Senate District 23
Luther Olsen - State Senate District 14
Jerry Petrowski - State Senate District 29
Roger Roth - State Senate District 19
Van Wangaard - State Senate District 21

If the measure passes in the State Senate, we lose. It does not need Gov. Scott Walker's approval, although not surprisingly, he strongly supports it.

Here is some background information about the measure: Jay Heck appeared on statewide Wisconsin Public Television's Here and Now program in June, in opposition to the Article V Constitutional Convention measures. He was also a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio's Joy Cardin program on the same subject, which you can listen to here. For more on this, go here, here, and here.

Please act today! A few calls and messages to some of these "reluctant" Republican State Senators could help persuade them to do the right thing and vote against AJR 21!




CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



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