What good are strong supposedly conservative majorities in our state legislature if nothing, or very little, of any real consequence gets done? I think that’s a valid question for every conservative Wisconsin voter to ask themselves and to ask those who are in leadership in our state legislature, especially since by this time next year most of these same folks will be out begging for our money, our help and our vote.
The Republicans have strong majorities in both our state Assembly and state Senate. In the Assembly, Republicans enjoy a 63-36 majority; and in the Senate, they have a 19-14 advantage.
This means any bill the majority party wants, it should get with absolutely no problem. Unless of course, politics and personal aspirations and agendas are more important than doing what is best for Wisconsin. And of course we now have a governor whose focus is on a presidential campaign adding into this mix.
The Republicans who occupy our state legislature, including the leadership of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, largely ran on pro-family, pro-life, pro-liberty values—at least that’s what they said when they were campaigning. Have we as voters been duped?
We are now 5 months into this legislative session. By late June, the two-year state budget that the governor and the state legislators keep talking about will be history. Yes, the budget takes a certain amount of time and energy; but it most definitely doesn’t take up all of either. Where are the “bold” initiatives we heard about on the campaign trail and at the beginning of the session?
What have we gotten so far? Well, the Republican leadership in the Assembly, along with the Governor, was shamed and cajoled by outside groups into passing Right to Work, which should have been an absolute no-brainer for this legislature and the governor. Of course, now that it’s done everyone is claiming credit for its passing.
In the last couple of weeks, the Prevailing Wage issue has come to the forefront—but not because the legislature or the governor is bringing it up. Oh, no. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he doesn’t have the vote for this bill. Really, Speaker Vos? You think you’ll lose 14 votes from your supposedly pro-free-enterprise caucus—because that’s what it would take for you to not pass this economics and jobs-related bill. And by the way, Mr. Speaker, you and others on your leadership team keep telling us jobs and the economy are all that matter. So why the stall on this bill?
The senate hasn’t been much better on Prevailing Wage. They’ve held a public hearing, but the bill failed in the committee vote—which is dominated by Republicans—supposedly conservative Republicans.
Late last week, the Pain Capable Unborn Child bill was circulated for co-sponsors. Hardly had the send button been hit putting the message from the authors to the rest of the legislature, before Assembly Speaker Vos was quoted publicly strongly implying that his caucus wouldn’t pass it without exceptions for rape and incest.
Frankly, that’s beyond the pale. Either Speaker Vos doesn’t know his own fellow Republican caucus members, or the Speaker is strong-arming his own caucus and trying to bully them into agreeing with him by threatening their bills. I suppose it’s also possible that there are way more moderates in the Assembly and the Senate than anyone knows. No matter which take is right, what’s happening is tragic.
Beyond these bills I’m really hard-pressed to come up with other, to borrow their word again, “bold” measures that have been even talked about seriously, let alone introduced and worked on in the state legislature. For example, talk of Common Core and serious school accountability. That’s well-nigh dead.
Everyone is talking about the fall. They keep saying, “You’ll see more activity in the fall.” Frankly, I don’t believe it. I believe Republican leadership in our state government is far more interested in their own individual political aspirations and agendas than they are in actually using these solid majorities for the good of Wisconsin. Recent past and current behavior certainly indicates that, and I have little reason to expect anything to change this fall. What a disastrous, colossal waste of these majorities. I can’t wait to see how these politicians try to explain this away and sweet talk voters in 2016.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”