Common Cause in Wisconsin: Don’t let Wisconsin legislature quit for the year before acting on fair voting maps legislation

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In what can only be described as a giant rip off of Wisconsin taxpayer dollars, the Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly (Robin Vos) announced at the end of February that “his” chamber is done for the year. And the State Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald has said “his” chamber will meet for one more day this month before calling it quits for the year. What a great gig. Two months of work with a full year’s salary and a “Cadillac ” package of benefits – all paid for by you.

Wisconsin is by far, the smallest state (population-wise) in the nation with what is considered a “full time” Legislature but obviously there is nothing full time about it. And there is so much that the Legislature hasn’t even considered or held a public hearing on that the citizens of this state have been clamoring for – for years.

At the top of the list is the legislative leadership’s continued blocking of redistricting reform, fair voting maps legislation which has been introduced, ignored and smothered by Vos and Fitzgerald every year since 2013. Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 is reform legislation that would transform Wisconsin’s current hyper-partisan, highly secretive, extremely costly (to we, the taxpayers) redistricting process to one like Iowa’s – where a neutral, nonpartisan state agency draws state legislative and congressional voting maps every ten years. This is a system that has the overwhelming support of all of that state’s voters, both political parties and even of the legislators because it’s fair, transparent, impartial and provides voters with real choices in general elections. And it costs taxpayers next to nothing. Wisconsin’s current system has none of those qualities or characteristics.

So, before Wisconsin state legislators quit to go campaign for re-election this year while being paid a full-time salary with benefits, demand that they come back into either a “Special Session,” which Gov. Scott Walker must call, or into “Extraordinary Session,” which Vos and Fitzgerald can call for. Demand that they hold public hearings on Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 and act on it this year so that Wisconsin voters will know where they stand.

Contact both your State Senator and your State Representative. If you are not sure who your state legislators are, go here.

And, another effective way you can help us pressure the Legislature is by signing our online petition in support of the fair voting maps legislation, but only if you have not yet done so. We are very close to having 4,000 signatures and need just a few more to reach that significant threshold. So please sign, or if you have already, urge friends and family members to do so!

The Wisconsin Legislature will have to come back into session anyway, to act on a number of measures Gov. Walker is pushing to get done, such as gun safety legislation and closing the Lincoln Hills School, as well as a few other “loose ends.”

Furthermore, the Legislature may have to come back into session to vote on new voting district maps for the 2018 elections if the Supreme Court of the United States upholds a November, 2016 federal court decision that determined that the hyper-partisan state legislative district maps drawn by the Republicans in 2011 were unconstitutional. If that occurs – and there is a very good chance that it might – Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 would be the perfect solution to this horrific injustice.

So please contact your state legislators, sign the petition and step up the pressure of this “do nothing” Legislature.

Never surrender. Never give in. On Wisconsin! Forward!