Madison —State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) released the following statement in reaction to the end of the 2011-2012 regular session of the Wisconsin Legislature:
“I am glad that I was able to work with my colleagues to pass five bills into law this session that will have a positive impact on the lives of Wisconsin children and families. These new laws include:
- A tax check off to benefit Special Olympics Wisconsin, creating an opportunity for more of Wisconsin‘s cognitively-challenged population to benefit from this wonderful program.
- The Internet Crimes Against Children Act, a bill that would create tougher penalties against pedophiles who use the Internet to target children and would give greater protection for child pornography victims.
- New protections are in place for school children against the misuse of seclusion and restraint and school.
- A measure that will prevent a large property tax increase next year for the people of the Village of Warrens.
- And Caylee’s Law that will make it illegal for parents and other guardians to fail to report the death or disappearance of a child.
“I have always worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact good public policy for my constituents, and I continued to do so again this session.
“However, I am deeply disappointed by the many lost opportunities that characterized this session. We could have had a bipartisan venture capital bill to provide much needed job-creation investment, but the Governor dissolved the bipartisan commission before we could finish our work. We could have passed a bipartisan mining bill that would have streamlined the permitting process and brought jobs to Wisconsin while ensuring public input and protecting our natural resources, but the majority party refused to let it come up for a vote. I and my Democratic colleagues introduced more than 20 jobs bills that would have helped rebuild Wisconsin’s economy and create good paying, family supporting jobs. Not one was allowed by the Republicans to pass the Legislature. And while the Legislature fumbled on job creation, the state lost tens of thousands of jobs for six straight months as our surrounding states added jobs.
“Instead of focusing on job creation, Republican leaders focused on an unconstitutional bill that disenfranchised voters; slashed healthcare for thousands of low-income children; gutted public education while sending millions more to private schools in Milwaukee; cut funding for breast and uterine cancer screenings; and ended fifty years of workers’ rights. They created tens of millions in new tax loopholes that will not create a single job in Wisconsin, and they failed to balance the budget. It truly was a session of lost opportunities to move Wisconsin forward.”