Saturday, June 8, 2019

Wisconsin's little dictators, drunk with power, again on a binge

Wisconsin GOP power grab alert. Again.

I'd called the GOP legislative leaders "little dictators" when they pushed through Scott Walker's secretly-crafted, post-defeat lame duck laws that punished Tony Evers, Mandela Barnes and Josh Kaul for winning the 2018 elections and gave Republicans governing authority to which fair democratic process should have denied them.

As they did when they hired private attorneys to draft secretly-crafted gerrymandered redistricting maps who have helped make their hegemony feel permanent - - certainly to themselves.

The power-grabbers are still at it, boosting their highly-paid staff through internal string-pulling, spending wildly on even-more-highly paid private attorneys for partisan purposes - -

- - and even inserting in a transportation 'plan' through their out-sized, 12-4 super-majority on the Legislature's budget-writing Joint Finance Committee a deep reduction in the security provided to Lt. Gov. Barnes.

And now the little dictators are considering an even-broader overreach: letting a bare majority of their 12-4 Joint Finance supermajority raise certain fees on citizens without the full legislature approving or being able to override fees the committee approved:
Evers would have a chance to veto the committee's plans, but the committee — not the Legislature — could override the veto with a two-thirds vote. The committee consists of 12 Republicans and four Democrats, but the makeup could change between now and 2023. Nine votes would be needed to approve the new fees and 11 to override a veto. 
Which means that Republican legislative leaders Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who now appoint those 12 GOP Joint Finance members would effectively have control over how much you might be paying in the future to title a vehicle, for example.

If this sounds more like the way the former Soviet Union's Central Committee operated rather than the way democracies function in the open under 'one-person-one, vote' and 'taxation with representation,' remember the same party which engineered a secretive gerrymander of voting districts in 2011-'12 to embed one-party GOP legislative control statewide is on the cusp of further distancing their team of little dictators from state history and the will of the people.


Jake formerly of the LP said...

This sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. You'd think all new fees/revenue for programs have to go through the full Legislature.

MAL said...

Part of the problem remains how news media report and obscure legislative developments.

The public is treated to headlines that some legislative "budget committee" or "budget panel" approved transportation funding, for example.

Overwhelmingly, the Wisconsin people will look no further than the headline that some budget committee has approved/could approve x, or y.

In fact, what is happening is Republicans and only Republicans control legislative developments and Republicans have authored and/or approved a given legislative action.

A recent AP headline, "Wisconsin budget panel could approve new road fees," should reflect the fact of Republican Party control and read, "Wisconsin Republicans Seek Road Fees in Budget Panel."

Or, to take a related example: "Wisconsin budget committee approves transportation funding plan carrying $95 title fee hike."

This headline should accurately read: "Wisconsin Republicans approve transportation funding plan carrying $95 title fee hike in budget vote."

To obscure the fact of Republican Party work in Wisconsin is to further the depoliticized state of most of the public.

Omitting and minimizing facts is to engage in soft censorship, slanting and propaganda for whatever Party elites control the legislature, for example. In this case, Republicans and only Republicans.



Jake formerly of the LP said...

Well stated, MAL. REOUBKICANS voted for this, not "the Committee" as a whole.

In addition, the Joint Finance Committee is a double gerrymander. The GOP gerrymanders the Legislature to get a majority, then JFC gives the majority party 75% of the seats if they have both Assembly and Senate. Absurd.

Chris said...

Excellent points, MAL.

Headlines like MAL is proposing would really get the public's attention, as they should!

James Rowen said...

A word about headlines, and believe me, I can relate, having worked for 13 years at the Journal/Journal Sentinel and had pieces published elsewhere over decades - - no one is more irked about headlines than the writers who are never consulted. But you have to remember that if the story is being formatted for a print edition, you never know how much space in column widths and type size is allotted for the wording. It may allow for the characters in five or six words, or eight, or four. There is always there is a demand for economy of language that would make it near-impossible to fit "Wisconsin Republicans approve transportation funding plan carrying $95 title fee hike in budget vote" in a headline. Just something to think about, folks.