Stevens Point Senator Lassa reacts to Gov. Walker's bill - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Stevens Point Senator Lassa reacts to Gov. Walker's bill


MADISON (PRESS RELEASE)--It's a troubling time at the State Capitol; Wisconsin values are under assault. Governor Walker's special Legislative session was supposedly called to make good on his promise to create 250,000 jobs. Instead, it's been used to ram through sweeping changes to state law, sometimes in mere days. A number of these changes expand the governor's power significantly and undermine the current checks and balances enshrined in our state constitution.

Gov. Walker's regulatory reform bill, passed barely a week after its public hearing in the Senate, allows the governor to block administrative rules from coming to the Legislature for approval. Lobbyists and special interests can now avoid public hearings and go straight to the governor's office to influence or kill regulations without the public knowing anything about their involvement.

Another new law abolishes the Department of Commerce and creates a shadowy new public/private corporation that will receive over $80 million of taxpayer money with little oversight and no provisions as to how these funds will be used. Most of the state's job creation budget has essentially become a slush fund for the governor with no guarantee of more jobs for Wisconsin.

And now, the governor is using a budget repair bill (which the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says is unnecessary) to take the authority to change BadgerCare and SeniorCare benefits by rule, enabling him to throw people out of the program without a vote by the Legislature. He is also using the bill as an excuse to completely rewrite decades old state labor law. Rather than meet with worker representatives to hammer out a financial solution for the state, he has flatly refused to speak with employees.

Governor Walker's first six weeks in office have been an unprecedented power grab, and he's wasted no time using that power in ways that hurt Wisconsin families, including our most vulnerable citizens.

One provision that was rushed through under the guise of "job creation" actually changes the standards for evidence in court cases, making it harder for district attorneys to prosecute criminal cases. It also prohibits family members and prosecutors from obtaining records from nursing homes and care facilities where abuse has taken place, thereby shielding abusers from justice.

But perhaps his most shocking act is his attempt to ram his sweeping budget repair through the legislature in less than a week, making it impossible for legislators and the public to fully understand its ramifications and for citizens to provide adequate feedback. Besides walking away from a 50-year Wisconsin tradition of workers and management working together to solve problems, this proposal potentially takes away health care from hundreds of thousands of individuals and families participating in the BadgerCare program. And while he's at it he is asking the legislature to increase the debt ceiling so that the state can borrow even more money.

Gov. Walker and his Republican rubber stamps in the Legislature are taking the state down a dark path away from our Wisconsin values. Carried away with their unchecked power, they are trampling the democratic process as they rush to do favors for their big-business contributors at the expense of Wisconsin's working families. The governor and the legislature need to refocus on creating good paying family supporting jobs instead of passing laws that hurt the very people they claim to want to help.

By State Senator Julie Lassa

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