Reps in the News: Wisconsin State Budget Could Have Been Passed Illegally

Governor Scott Walker

Did a budget deal between Gov. Walker and three holdout Republican Senators break the law? One Wisconsin Now has submitted evidence to law enforcement authorities, including the Dane County District Attorney, and is asking for an investigation into whether a state law that prohibits legislators from agreeing to vote for a bill in exchange for other actions by a governor was violated. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “In their zeal to get their way, it seems Senators Kapenga, Nass and Stroebel may have forgotten there are still laws protecting clean and open government in Wisconsin, and that as legislators they are still expected to know them and to abide by them.” After the state budget passed the Assembly, Senators Kapenga, Nass and Stroebel declared they would not vote for the state spending plan unless a series of demands were met. Together, their three “no” votes were enough to block passage of the budget in the Senate. As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when Gov. Walker signed the budget he used his partial veto power to strike several budget items to satisfy several of the demands of the holdout legislators. But Walker also took a separate action outside of the budget bill, which he highlighted in the same press release, signing an executive order implementing a policy provision contained in another bill authored by Sen. Kapenga and sponsored by Nass and Stroebel. The GOP trio responded with a press statement thanking Gov. Walker for his “cooperative approach” in meeting their demands. “I fear that, in addition to their public deal regarding veto assurances, they also struck a secret deal,” Ross wrote to the Dane County District Attorney, “I must ask that you, together with the District Attorneys of Ozaukee, Waukesha and Walworth Counties, where Senators Stroebel, Kapenga and Nass reside, respectively, investigate this disturbing matter and reaffirm to all Wisconsinites that no one is above the law.”



Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin joined Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) as a cosponsor of the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act, which would reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) for five years. In addition, the bipartisan bill provides four percent increases for the CHCF and NHSC every year beginning in fiscal year 2019. “Families across the state of Wisconsin rely on the 17 community health centers across our state for critical, quality and affordable health care services, including preventative care, vision services and low-cost dental care,” Baldwin said. “Without immediate action to continue funding for these critical providers, more than 30 thousand Wisconsinites could lose access to care. We must act now on this bipartisan legislation to help keep these vital community health centers open and serving their communities.” Without extension of the CHCF, community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding. This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and result in nine million Americans losing their access to care.

Source:  Baldwin press release


Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Johnson on Friday told a group of New Berlin West High School students that they don’t have a right to health care, food and shelter. His statement in the auditorium was in response to a question posed during a forum with students interested in politics, journalism and government. “Do you personally consider healthcare as a privilege or a right?” one student inquired. Wisconsin’s junior senator did not hesitate:  “I think it’s probably more of a privilege.” He continued:  “Do you consider food a right? Do you consider clothing a right? Do you consider shelter a right? What we have as rights is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Past that point, we have the right to freedom. Past that point is a limited resource that we have to use our opportunities given to us to afford those things.” He said the task of public officials is to create an environment that grows the economy so that more people can enjoy the “privilege” of food, shelter and health care.



President Donald Trump

President Trump said Tuesday that the U.S. will “be talking about gun laws as time goes by” in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, the nation’s deadliest in modern history. “Look, we have a tragedy … and what happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job,” Trump said at the White House before he left for Puerto Rico. The President was asked about a gun bill currently making its way through the House that would loosen restrictions on purchasing gun silencers. Trump said that he would talk about that later. He was also asked if the massacre, which killed at least 59 and injured hundreds of others, could have been prevented. Though he didn’t answer the question directly, he characterized the shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, as “a sick man, a demented man” and added that “we’re looking into him very, very seriously.”


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