It’s been a challenging few days defending democracy in Wisconsin. I am disgusted but not defeated, and I am tired but never more motivated or inspired to keep working to take back our government for the people.
The bills passed during the lame duck legislative session earlier this week went against the will of the people when they voted for Governor-Elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-Elect Josh Kaul on November 6th. As explained below, Republican legislators rammed these bills through in the dead of night and into the early morning.
There’s still time to encourage Governor Walker to veto these anti-democratic bills – Though we know he helped to draft these terrible bills, we must mobilize to express our strong opposition. His phone number is (608) 266-1212 and an online comment form can be found here.
I will never stop fighting for the people of this state and their right to a government that represents them, rather than a government for powerful politicians.
I hope you all will find some time in the next few weeks to celebrate the holidays and take a break with loved ones.
Wisconsin Republicans rolled out their rotten lame duck agenda at 5:35pm on Friday and scheduled a Joint Finance public hearing and executive session less than 72 hours later, on Monday at 12:30pm. It is customary for the bill authors of legislation to testify first in public hearings to explain to committee members and the public what their bill does and why it is important. So it was telling that Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald did not have the courage to attend the hearing to testify and defend their bills.
The people of this state made me proud on Monday. They came out in droves to support democracy. Overall, we had 1,424 individuals either speak or register against the bills. Only 2 people registered in favor of the legislation. They came from all over the state and from all different walks of life.
Thank you to all of the people all over the state who showed up, stood up, and spoke out. You keep me going. They may have won these votes, but the people will win the GOP war on democracy.
On Monday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission certified the results of the November 6th General Election. Early Wednesday morning, legislative Republicans nullified the results of that election and overrode the will of the Wisconsin electorate by passing a series of bills that disregard institutional checks and balances and drastically expand their own power.
The bills were passed so quickly that there is not currently a complete analysis available on what all of the provisions do or how much they will cost. With that caveat, here are the worst parts:
- Creates another tax loophole for wealthy individuals.
- Limits early voting to two weeks before an election in violation of a court order.
- Creates a right of intervention and the ability to retain an attorney other than Attorney General-Elect Kaul for the Assembly, the Senate, and the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization (JCLO). Republican legislative leaders get unlimited public money to hire as many attorney as they want to intervene in state cases.
- Requires Republican legislative approval on withdrawal or settlement in all civil actions prosecuted by the state. There are hundreds of cases that will be impacted. Currently, the Governor has this power. It appears that this will restrict Governor-Elect Evers from withdrawing the state from the lawsuit dismantling the Affordable Care Act and other harmful cases.
- Restricts the ability of the Department of Health Services to innovate through federal waivers, pilot projects, or demonstration projects.
- Limits the ability of the Department of Transportation to fix Wisconsin’s transportation crisis.
- Limits the number of transportation projects that will be subject to prevailing wage and environmental standards.
- Limits the ability of Governor-Elect Evers to restrict firearms in the State Capitol building.
- Requires state agencies to comply with unworkable restrictions on “guidance documents” that they produce.
- Provides that administrative rules may be indefinitely suspended.
- Removes Governor-Elect Evers’ ability to appoint the CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
These bills drastically alter our government and the balance of power between the branches. They substantially limit the executive power of Governor-Elect Evers. They also substantially curtail the existing powers of the Attorney General.
The people of Wisconsin spoke on November 6th – They want a government that works together and focuses on their priorities, not a government for Republican politicians. Wisconsinites have suffered over the last eight years of Republican control, and want their roads fixed, expanded access to healthcare, and investments in their public schools – What Republicans did this week makes it more difficult for our government to function, to thrive, and for the will of the people to be carried out.
The bills were so bad even Republican legislators couldn’t agree – We were on the floor overnight, before having a bill no one had seen dropped at 4:30am. Why would Republicans subvert the will of the people in the wee am hours? They don’t want the people to see.
Republicans may have made us stay up all night, but that didn’t slow us down a bit. Here are my floor speeches from the lame duck extraordinary session:
Rep. Taylor in the News
If you were impacted by the August flooding, there’s still time to apply for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). You still need to register with FEMA even if you already reported your damages to 211. The last day to register for assistance is December 17th. More information can be found here.