Yesterday I attended the Public Hearing on Assembly bills proposed by Republicans in the lame duck session. Assembly Speaker Robin Voss and GOP Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald have proposed heinous legislation that would seriously curtail the powers and responsibilities of Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect, Josh Kaul. Neither Voss nor Fitzgerald had the courage to attend the hearing and thus were unavailable to answer questions about their proposed legislation. They acted like cowards leaving it to the staff of the Joint Finance Committee and their colleagues to answer questions about the legislation. It was not surprising that many questions relating to the economic impact of the legislation could not be answered. However, the Joint Finance Committee did confirm that these bills would curtail the authority of the Governor and Attorney General of Wisconsin in a manner that most deem unprecedented.
One proposal would permit the Senate and Assembly to bypass the Attorney General and hire its own attorneys. This proposal will undoubtedly cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in attorney’s fees. These attorneys also would not be subject to the Wisconsin open records laws. As a result, the public will not have access to any information with respect to matters brought by Republican lawmakers involving their personal activities as lawmakers. The proposal will hamstring the attorney general from exercising the constitutional authority which Wisconsin Attorney Generals have historically held.
The proposal also keeps Governor-elect Evers from exercising his authority with respect to education. Who in Wisconsin knows more about education than the current Superintendent of Education, Tony Evers? It would also prohibit the type of authority that Scott Walker held as Governor with respect to major economic and health programs administered by the State of Wisconsin. If the Republican legislators were so concerned with the powers invested in the Governor and Attorney General, why did they not attempt to enact this legislation prior to the November 2016 election? The answer is clear. The Republicans want to preserve their power and subvert the vote of the people.
If you voted for Tony Evers or Josh Kaul, you voted because of the positions which they took with respect to healthcare, education, economic programs impacting business and infrastructure. If these bills are passed by the Republican Assembly, your vote has been subverted. Your vote is meaningless. And if you did not vote for Tony Evers or Josh Kaul, your vote has also been subverted, because at some point in the future, your vote will not count either.
I arrived at the hearing at 11:45 p.m. The hearing was scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. I did not have the opportunity until 6:00 p.m. to give my testimony. I was very disappointed that Senator Howard Marklein, who attended the hearing and is on the Joint Finance Committee, had to leave prior to my giving testimony. I really wanted him to hear what I have to say. I will send him a copy of this letter and hope he hears the voice of the people.
Stephen Weiser, Wonewoc