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!


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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

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