Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Vos's latest COVID controversy reprises gratuitous 2019 grandstanding

Though the Wisconsin state legislature knows how to hold on-line/virtual meetings that can reduce potential transmission of the COVID19 virus - and here are more than 500,000 more reasons to do just that - GOP Assembly Speaker 

WI GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in protective equipment while claiming in April that it was "incredibly safe" to go out into the pandemic and cast an in-person April election ballot.

and COVID19 coddler Robin Vos has ruled that all Assembly activities will be in-person, and heck, forget your mask, too.

In-person Assembly attendance mandatory, but masks optional

For Vos, this business of mandating in-person Assembly attendance in the face of health risks is nothing new.

Back in pre-COVID 2019, Vos felt his authority to mandate all representatives' in-person attendance in  official settings was being disrespectfully challenged by Middleton State Rep. Jimmy Anderson, (D). 

Anderson, you may remember, was left permanently paralyzed after a drunk driver crashed into his family's car years before his election to the Assembly.

And mandatory in-person participation meant Anderson required being driven for meetings to the Capitol and sitting for long periods in a wheelchair. 

So Anderson subsequently sought some relief from the daily disruption and pain through electronic attendance - like through a speaker phone - but Vos would not agree to the exception.

The nerve!

Worse, Vos thought it was all a plot to make him look bad at the very moment Vos deserved recognition:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, in an interview on WISN-AM, accused Rep. Jimmy Anderson of trying to make Vos look bad just before he became president of the National Conference of State Legislatures last week, 10 days after the Anderson story first broke.

Because who hasn't heard of that organization and doesn't know just how big a deal its presidency is?

Vos finally relented after months of grandstanding - yes, he actually aimed that word at Anderson though it was easily argued that Vos was the grandstander.

All of which created some unflattering national publicity about Vos's purported 'priorities,' like this story which ran in a Florida paper:

"I think it's disrespectful for someone to be asking questions over a microphone or a speakerphone when individuals are actually taking the time out of their day to come and testify in person," Vos told the Journal Sentinel. 
Anderson said it's "absolutely ridiculous" to say accommodating someone with a disability would somehow be disrespectful to people.

And there was a threat of litigation -

Assembly GOP allow Democrat in wheelchair to call into meetings after disability group threatens lawsuit

- under the Americans with Disabilities Act before Vos relented. 

But Vos wrapped his grudging accommodation - which Anderson blasted  - into self-directed-self-serving-rule-making unrelated to Anderson's situation that provided Wisconsin's Republican legislative majorities with fresh infusions of partisan power.

The full story of Vos's power trip in the face of Anderson's completely-reasonable request is here, and,  here also is a fine summary piece about the Walker, Vos and Fitzgerald lame-duck power-grab at the expense of the incoming Democratic administration in late 2018.

In case anyone has forgotten about that.

Oh, there is actually video of what inspires Vos's behavior.

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