Friday, December 7, 2018

Urge Governor Scott Walker to Veto Lame Duck Session Legislation



For Release: Friday - December 7, 2018


The Entire Package of Measures Serves Partisan Self Interest, Not Wisconsinites

Conceived in secrecy and dedicated to the proposition that Republican state legislative leaders should rule Wisconsin, the recently passed "extraordinary session" package of legislation should be vetoed by Governor Scott Walker for the benefit of the citizens of this state.

While Walker has spoken favorably about many of the highly-partisan measures that were unveiled, unleashed and rammed through the Wisconsin Legislature in less than 100 hours – before most of the public could even find out what they were all about – he needs to hear from as many Wisconsin citizens as possible to tell him that the fate of this disastrous package of ill-conceived legislation rests solely in his hands and he should veto all of it.

Walker's decision to either do the right and fair thing and veto the entire package of bills, or, to side with the narrow, partisan special interests such as Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce – and virtually no one else – and sign these misguided measures into law as his last official act as Governor, will profoundly determine how history and the people of Wisconsin remember him and his legacy. That's up to Walker.

But what is up to us, and what we must do, is make our voices heard and tell Governor Scott Walker that the citizens of Wisconsin categorically urge that he veto the entire Lame Duck Session legislation that is now on his desk.

Here are the ways to contact him:

Write to him at:

Office of the Governor
Room 115 East State Capitol
Madison, WI 53702

Email him at:

govgeneral@wisconsin.gov

Call him at
:

(608) 266-1212




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, December 3, 2018

The Entire Lame Duck Session Agenda Should Be Rejected This Week



For Release: Monday - December 3, 2018


"This is no way to run a state government."
- Wisconsin State Journal, 12-2-2018

Exercising raw, hyper-partisan political power in secrecy, without regard to the views or even the basic expectations of the citizens of Wisconsin, is nothing new for State Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). That has been their go-to modus operandi for the last eight years.

But to attempt to ram through a whole host of measures specifically designed to enhance their own power right after the voters sent a resounding message that they want more balance of power and an end to one-party control of state government, demonstrates just plain contempt and a total lack of respect and regard for the citizenry of Wisconsin.

Fitzgerald and Vos know they retain their partisan majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature by "virtue" of the fact that they supervised and engaged in one of the most partisan gerrymanders of any state legislature in the nation in the last 50 years. They just don't tell the truth when asked about that indisputable fact.

With regard to the listing of "Extraordinary Session" agenda items Fitzgerald and Vos deigned to make public this past Friday afternoon, and plan to ram through the Joint Committee on Finance today and then, after a single public hearing, vote on and send to the floor of both the Assembly and State Senate as early as tomorrow for votes, Common Cause in Wisconsin is taking the unusual step of urging rejection of all of the measures under consideration. This is unusual for CC/WI because we normally do not weigh in on matters such as health care or transportation funding or the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

But we wholeheartedly agree with this excellent Sunday Wisconsin State Journal editorial, that "this is no way to run a state government." And so, because of the way all of these measures are being rushed through the legislative process with no time for the public to understand or digest their wide-ranging impact and ramifications for their lives, CC/WI urges that you contact your state legislators and demand they vote against all of them.

As we warned before Thanksgiving, we are particularly concerned about the hyper-partisan measure to move the date of the 2020 Presidential Primary in Wisconsin from the scheduled April date to March – just so it doesn't coincide with the Wisconsin Supreme Court election in which conservative Daniel Kelly will be up for election. Republicans have readily admitted that they fear a large turnout of voters in the Democratic presidential primary on that date will endanger Kelly's election prospects.

So, at a cost of more than $7 million to you, the taxpayers – and against the strong opposition of Republican and Democratic election clerks from all over Wisconsin who have said this change will be impossible to administer and accomplish – they are going ahead anyway.

We are also gravely concerned about a measure in this package that would further curtail early voting in Wisconsin by stipulating that it can only occur for up to two weeks before an election. The sole reason the Republicans want to make this change is because they were enraged by the many voters in Dane and Milwaukee Counties who engaged in early voting up to a month before the November 6th election. Dane and Milwaukee Counties voted more heavily Democratic than Republican. Republicans want less voter turnout and fewer Wisconsin citizens making their voices heard at the ballot box.

With the State Assembly so overwhelmingly Republican because of gerrymandering, the Extraordinary Session package will be won or lost in the State Senate – also gerrymandered, but where the margin is closer. Two Republican State Senators are needed to sink the package in the State Senate and therefore end it all. Here are the Republican State Senators who have been identified as those who might be persuaded to do the right thing, instead of just following orders: Luther Olsen, Rob Cowles, Patrick Testin, Jerry Petrowski, Dan Feyen and Roger Roth.

Please contact your own State Senator, State Representative, and – if you want to do more – those Republican State Senators listed above and urge them to vote against all of the bills that will be considered this week. Tell them you are tired of being disrespected and that you are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.

Here's how to reach your State Senator and State Representative. If you are not sure who your State Senator and your State Representative are, you can look them up here.

Never surrender. On Wisconsin!




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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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Call to Action against Legislative Leader's "Lame Duck" Session to Diminish Democracy



For Release: Tuesday - November 20, 2018


It takes a special type of arrogance and hubris when your political party receives fewer statewide votes in state legislative elections, and the other political party sweeps all of the statewide constitutional offices – and then you move to increase your own partisan political power and diminish that of the winning party, particularly that of the incoming Governor. And in the process of doing that, you deliberately thwart the will of the voters and further defile democracy.

And yet, with defeated Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker apparently a willing accomplice, that is exactly what Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) intend to do, beginning the week right after Thanksgiving Day and likely into December.

We do not know yet know all of the details of what Vos, Fitzgerald and Walker have in mind because the least transparent and most secretive legislative leaders and Governor in Wisconsin's history have made only a few public comments about what they think would be "good" to protect and enhance their political self-interest in this costly and totally unnecessary "Extraordinary" legislative session.

Expect that their "package" of lame duck session initiatives will be shielded from the public and media as long as possible and then unleashed and rammed through the Legislature suddenly and quickly. That's how they have operated for the past eight years and there is no reason to expect anything different this time.

Start with the fact that on November 6th, Democratic candidates for the State Assembly garnered 54 percent of the vote while Republican candidates received 46 percent. And yet, not a single incumbent legislator (of either party) lost their re-election and Republicans ended up with 63 Assembly seats and Democrats just 36. That, of course, is a result of the most extreme partisan Republican gerrymandering of any state in the nation, back in 2011.

And yet – after Wisconsinites voted for greater checks on their power – Vos and Fitzgerald are bringing the "lame duck" Legislature back into extraordinary session to consolidate and enhance their partisan control and to weaken the incoming Democratic Governor, Tony Evers. That's beyond chutzpah.

We do know that defeated Governor Scott Walker met with GOP legislative leaders Robin Vos & Scott Fitzgerald last week to discuss what damage they could do together before Tony Evers becomes Governor in January. Moving the April, 2020 WI Supreme Court date so it doesn't coincide with the 2020 WI presidential primary (and the big turnout of voters expected to participate, particularly on the Democratic side) seems likely.

Why? To try to boost the re-election chances of conservative Justice Daniel Kelly who will be running then. In addition to the unfair partisan advantage they will try to game here, it will cost you, the taxpayers, nearly seven million dollars and is opposed by already over-burdened election clerks all over the state.

Also likely on the GOP "Holiday" agenda: strengthening Wisconsin's already extreme and restrictive voter photo ID law, giving legislators more control over appointments and rule making, and possibly reducing the Governor's role and power in the redistricting process in 2021. The fact is, we don't really know what they're planning because its all being kept secret from the public, who will have to endure the consequences of their actions without a lot of input.

That's where you come in.

First, this week – before Thanksgiving – let your own State Senator and State Representative know that you oppose this "extraordinary session" because it defies the will of the state's voters, is a colossal waste of taxpayer money and will only increase partisan acrimony, not reduce it. If you are not sure who your State Senator and your State Representative are, you can look them up here.

Also, let Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald know what you think of all of this. Here is their contact information.

Sen.Fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-5660

Rep.Vos@legis.Wisconsin.gov

(608) 266-9171

Finally, please be ready to take further action after Thanksgiving when we know more about exactly what will be unleashed against us.

If there was ever a time to make your voices heard after an election, this is it!

Please contact your state legislators, Vos and Fitzgerald and then have a happy Thanksgiving.

On Wisconsin! Forward.





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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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Election Results Underscore Urgent Need to End Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin



For Release: Thursday - November 8, 2018


Evers Election Means Partisan Rigged Maps of 2011 Cannot Be Repeated in 2021

Tuesday's state legislative and congressional election results demonstrate – clearly and convincingly – that the will of the citizens of Wisconsin at the ballot box will only be fully realized when the hyper-partisan gerrymandering of the state's legislative and congressional districts, in place since 2011, is ended.

Only one incumbent elected official of either political party lost their re-election effort on Tuesday. And in that case, Democratic State Senator Caleb Frostman (D-Sturgeon Bay), had held office for only four months – having won a special election in June to fill a seat in a state senate district drawn to favor Republicans.

This means that almost all of Wisconsin's state legislative and congressional elections were not competitive and that the outcome in virtually all of these elections was pre-ordained because of partisan gerrymandering.

"While Democrats swept statewide offices for U.S. Senator, Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State, Republicans were able to thwart the will of the majority of voters in holding, virtually without change, almost the exact same number of state legislative and congressional districts that they held prior to the election. The sole explanation for this undemocratic disparity is the rigged, hyper-partisan voting maps rammed through the Wisconsin Legislature and enacted in 2011," said Jay Heck, Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI).

On the bright side, CC/WI State Governing Board Chair Tim Cullen noted, "the election of Tony Evers as Governor means that the one-sided, partisan redistricting process that happened in 2011 can't be repeated in 2021 because Wisconsin will have split control of state government and of that process."

Cullen also said that this split will necessitate a compromise between the two major political parties on voting maps, and failing that, would have to be done by federal judges.

Cullen and Heck said that it behooves both Republicans and Democrats to adopt a non-partisan redistricting process prior to 2021 to avoid costly (to state taxpayers) legal expenses and increased partisan acrimony in the two years ahead. The non-partisan redistricting system in place in Iowa since 1980, when a Republican Governor and Republican-controlled Legislature enacted it into law, is the best process for Wisconsin.

CC/WI and other reform organizations and pro-reform legislators are all united in support of the Iowa model.




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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