Democrats tour state seeking support for extraordinary Legislative session
By Larry Lee, WSAU Radio
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wisconsin's Democrats are not giving up on their package of bills they say would help create jobs. Assembly Minority Leader Katrina Shankland from Stevens Point toured much of central and eastern Wisconsin Thursday with Minority Leader Peter Barca, urging citizens to call their legislators and ask for an extraordinary session of the Legislature to address the Democratic bills.
Shankland was involved early this year with the party's "15 for '15" package. She believes the state still needs these changes. "We have introduced legislation to bring back the middle class, to make sure that child care is more affordable, to allow people to refinance their student loan debt like they can a car or mortgage already, to strengthen retirement security, and to give workers basic protections."
When asked how the Legislature could save their constituents money on child care, Shankland says it would become a tax break under their plan. "Provide a tax credit, just like other tax credits, for example, owning property, having a business. It's just like that. It's a reimbursable tax credit."
The Stevens Point Democrat continues to say people around the state are focused on the same big issues, all tied to growing the economy. "We keep hearing from people, regardless of party, that they want us to work together, and they want us to work on jobs and strengthening the economy. It's their biggest concern. It's what keeps them up at night. We think if we renew the call over and over again, and urge people to contact their local legislators and ask them to support this vital legislation, we do think it will eventually change the landscape and potentially allow us to pass some of these very important proposals."
Shankland is highly critical of Republicans and their recent extraordinary session to pass campaign finance changes. Republicans claim the changes put Wisconsin more in line with federal law. Democrats like Shankland say allowing more money into campaigns just helps Republicans keep their jobs, but doesn't help their constituents get jobs.
Assembly Speaker Robin Voss has already passed on all of the Democrat-authored bills, and so far, none of them have been through the committee process or had a hearing. Voss has made no indication he would consider the Democrat's requests.