Legislative Session Wrap-Up
Thank you!! That's all I can say. Because people like you who made your voices heard in opposition to so many bad policies in the Legislature this session, we were successful in blocking some of the worst of them in the last week of session.
As you may know, this week marked the end of the 2009-10 legislative session. My fellow Assembly Republicans and I endured a grueling week. Tuesday we were in session all through the night until 8 am Wednesday. Last night we didn't adjourn until after 4am. As you know from my comments during the budget process last year, I'm not in favor of voting on proposals in the dark of night out of the public eye. This week was no exception.
Fortunately, the Democrats' tactic of trying to quietly pass bad proposals in the dark of night was not successful, and for that I am thankful. Democrats had three major initiatives on their agenda:Global Warming legislation which would have imposed massive energy taxes on families and manufacturers to kill even more manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin; Regional Taxing Authorities allowing unelected, unaccountable boards to impose sales taxes all over the state for highly subsidized, unsustainable transit projects; and the election "reform" bill which would have simply paved the way for more election fraud in Wisconsin.
Early Wednesday morning, at about 4am, Rep. Peter Barca from Kenosha believed he had the votes to pass the highly contentious Regional Taxing Authority legislation. My colleagues and I responded with 15 amendments that proposed everything from instituting a binding referendum in Milwaukee County (the current proposal assumes a yes vote on a 2008 referendum to fund parks and public safety was enough to say the voters were also fine with paying a sales tax for transit) to stripping the state funding from the bill to ensure the already bankrupt transportation fund would be protected from further insolvency.
Surprisingly, and much to Peter Barca's surprise, the first amendment for the Milwaukee County referendum garnered enough support from Democrats to actually pass. This sent those in favor of the RTA into a panic, and they tried to move for the whole Assembly to reconsider the vote - meaning they would pressure someone to change from a yes to a no. As the arm-twisting continued, they realized they just didn't have the votes to pass it, and they pulled the bill from the calendar. It is now dead. I think there are few Democrats who are still surprised over this, given they really thought they would be able to ram this through this time, and also considering that Governor Doyle had been calling legislators all day to talk them into supporting the bill.
That same morning, the Democrats took up the highly contentious Global Warming bill. This has long been known to be Governor Doyle's number one initiative. As amendments to this began splintering the Democrat caucus, that bill was also pulled, never receiving a final vote. This bill is also now dead.
Finally, the election fraud bill never came up for a vote in either the Senate or the Assembly. This very dangerous proposal threatened to harm our election system in Wisconsin by paving the way for Acorn-like tactics that would have been used to steal elections. I, myself, am surprised this was not even brought up for debate. But I can only assume that it must have had everything to do with the steady drum beat of Wisconsin voters calling their legislators in recent weeks to beg that this bill be defeated. If you were one of those people, I again want to thank you. Without you we would not have been able to stop this horrible piece of legislation.
Insofar as my job is to protect Wisconsinites from being subjected to more government, damaging policies, and higher taxes, I feel that we did have some important successes this session. Sadly, though, as Democrats bickered over these three pieces of legislation, they really failed to provide an agenda for jobs and economic development - the most important problem currently facing our state.
As you know from reading past E-updates, I do have economic development ideas that I think really could have helped get Wisconsin 's economy back on track. However, they were tossed aside by Democrats who would have rather spent their time approving billions in new tax increases and forwarding initiatives to fix problems that don't exist, rig elections, and create even more massive government programs.
I am hopeful that when we begin the next legislative session in January of 2011, these bad ideas will still be dead and we can get to the business of fixing our fiscal mess and putting Wisconsin back on the right track