Lassa, Shankland among Democrats not pleased with extraordinary Legislative session bills

Larry Lee, WSAU


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- The Wisconsin Legislature is back in Madison for extraordinary session today, as majority Republicans plan to pass bills including campaign finance changes and the elimination of the Government Accountability Board.
Democrats are not happy about the bills under consideration. State Representative Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point is the Assistant Minority Leader in the Assembly. She says none of these bills should even be brought up for a vote today, saying there are more important issues Wisconsinites need action on. "Our ideal package of bills that we vote on in extraordinary session would be bills to help bring back the middle class, to make child care more affordable, to help people with student loan debt to refinance their loans, to help people retire with security, and to make sure that our hard workers are able to take off work when they're sick or when they want to take care of their sick child."
State Senator Julie Lassa says the bills on the agenda changing campaign finance laws and eliminating the Government Accountability Board are self serving for the Republicans. Lassa argues the state should be doing more to help create jobs and help families. She says the state needs to be more active in boosting education. Another area Lassa says wasn't dealt with is strengthening the state's infrastructure. "We also have to figure out what we're going to be doing about our crumbling infrastructure, whether it's our roads, or the fact that we lack broadband in rural parts of the state."
One of the bills expected to be called for a vote today would eliminate the Government Accountability Board. Republicans claims the board and it's director Kevin Kennedy have been biased against them. Democrats like Senator Julie Lassa say the non-partisan retired judges that make up the board do their job well. "The fact is that the GAB was working as intended to root out corruption, but also to make sure that our election laws were being upheld and that we had clean and fair elections that politicians and candidates were following our ethics laws as well as campaign laws, and they were doing a good job of that through the non-partisan retired judges that were running it."
Lassa believes the majority Republicans are not focusing on the issues that matter to people in this extraordinary session, but instead are focused on hot-button issues like John Doe, or the GAB and campaign finance where she says, "Those bills are solely geared towards benefiting themselves."
Shankland and Lassa say they will continue trying to get hearings and action on the package of Democratic bills that were ignored in the last session.
(Senator Julie Lassa and Representative Katrina Shankland's interview can be heard on our website,here.)