March 21, 2012

Milwaukee Courier

End of Session Review

By Senator Lena C. Taylor

The legislative session is over and we haven’t step out of the economic depression, and thousands of people are still waiting for better job opportunities. It is so sad that Republican and Democrat did not work together to create more jobs in the state. More job legislations need to be on the table. However, it seems that the state Republicans were engaging on hyper-partisanship and ignoring people’s voices and job creations.

Looking back into last February, Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill started the hyper-partisanship in the state legislators.  The hyper-partisan bill would strip the rights of public service workers to negotiate for a fair contract. It also slashed health care services from families, children and the elderly people. It cut as much as $1.85 billion from the state education funding. More than 1 million state voters have already signed a petition to recall Walker, which strongly proves that people are strongly against this hyper-partisan bill.

The Voter ID law is a hyper-partisan law that targets to women and non-white citizens in our state. The law, which disenfranchising to communities where a large proportion of citizens do not have valid IDs, would cost taxpayers $7.5 million. The Republican legislators waste no time on this law that has nothing to do with job creation, but to restrict the suffrage for constitutionally qualified electors. Ironically, the law was ruled unconstitutional recently as it goes beyond mere regulation of elections.

A hyper-partisan bill targeting women’s health issue was passed by the Republican controlled state Legislature. The bill will limit abortion coverage under the affordable Care Act. A woman paying for her own private insurance plan would be unable to obtain an abortion under her coverage plan. The bill has nothing to do with the core issues in the state, but set up new and unnecessary barriers for women seeking safe and legal abortion care.

The war on women has not stopped yet. Recently another bill repealing the Healthy Youth Act was passed. According to the bill, teenagers’ access to medically accurate information about human sexuality was restricted. Public schools would eliminate all the human sexuality references to contraception, teaching that abstinence of sexual behavior is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This is not only another useless bill to solve major issues in the state, but is also an assault to every forward-minded person in Wisconsin and would potentially hurt the health of teenager girls.

Since last year, the hyper-partisanship of Wisconsin Republicans has brought us all kinds of unnecessary restrictions: collective bargaining rights, education rights, suffrage, women’s health rights to obtain abortion insurance coverage and accurate sex education. All of them may lead the state constitution and humanity going backwards, but none of them leads to the growth of economy and job opportunities. Most importantly, none of these bills have taken citizens’ voices into consideration.

Thousands of jobs have not been created yet as the Republican legislators have promised. The mining bill, which is said to create hundreds of jobs in Northern Wisconsin, was designed to ease state regulations on the permitting process for an iron mine without careful consideration of people’s voices. We need more jobs to be created; however, hyper-partisan bills are not expected. Jobs need to be created on the basis of bi-partisanship and state citizens’ voices.

We have heard about people’s voices these past weeks. The recent one-year anniversary of Governor Walker signing collective bargaining bill into law has come and gone. More than 60,000 community and family members came to rally to recall Walker and call for the cooperation of both parties at the Capitol. We cannot wait any longer; people need jobs and the Republican should get rid of hyper-partisanship as soon as possible.

And you can make a difference to help us. Now it’s the time for more activation against hyper-partisanship. Do this for your family, your community and your own rights. I challenge all of you, the citizens, to make a voice. More voices are needed to make state Republican legislators more efficient to solve the real issue in the state. Your voice would be heard finally.