Laurel White

State Assembly To Vote On Gubernatorial Veto Change

Hintz calls Republican proposal a "power grab" and says Vos is "drunk with power."

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Oct 10th, 2019 10:35 am
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Robin Vos. Photo by Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Robin Vos. Photo by Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

The state Assembly is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal that would give Republicans unlimited shots at overriding vetoes issued by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Under the proposal, the GOP-controlled Assembly would get as many chances as legislators like to reach the necessary two-thirds threshold to override an Evers veto. Current law only allows one veto override attempt.

Current law also says a two-thirds vote is only required by members “present” at the time of the vote — opponents of the proposed change say that would make it possible for Republicans to call multiple override votes with little notice and without Democratic attendance. They say that could open up Wisconsin to a situation similar to one seen earlier this year in North Carolina, when GOP lawmakers held an important vote while Democratic lawmakers were away attending a 9/11 memorial service.

“It allows for the same kind of gamemanship that we saw in North Carolina,” said Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, before Thursday’s vote. “That was disgusting, it was anti-democratic and I think it was corrupt.”

Hintz accused Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, of being “drunk with power.”

Other proposed rule changes would allow Republican lawmakers to set debate times for bills without Democrats’ consent, bar Democrats from taking breaks from Assembly floor sessions to discuss bills under certain circumstances, prohibit the minority party from using a “pulling motion” to bring certain bills up for debate and allow Republicans to convene a floor session to vote on bills even if a number of lawmakers are absent.

Those rule changes were all paired with a change requested months ago by a disabled Democratic state lawmaker.

Hintz accused Republicans of taking advantage of that request.

“They couldn’t do it without expanding their power grab by eliminating longstanding rules that are aimed at giving the minority rights,” he said. “What does taking away our ability to pull a bill to the floor have to do with accommodating the Americans with Disabilities Act?”

Hintz said all Assembly Democrats will vote against the rule changes, even the one aimed at accommodating Anderson.

“If the only way we can vote is to take away our own power, it’s sort of a false choice,” Hintz said.

Republican leaders didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, but Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, told the Associated Press on Thursday morning Democrats are overreacting to the proposals, “seeing black helicopters and boogeymen around every corner.”

During Thursday’s floor session, lawmakers are also scheduled to vote on a resolution to support bringing F-35 jets to Truax Field in Madison, which has led to controversy in the community, as well as bills that would allow minors to legally operate lemonade stands, require local governments to cover insurance costs for families of fallen police officers and designate a 9/11 Memorial Highway in the state.

Resolution Supports F-35s Jets In Madison

The resolution up for consideration, sponsored by several Republicans and one Democrat, argues in favor of a new kind of military jet being brought into an air base in Madison. Truax Field currently houses F-16 jets.

The resolution, which passed the state Senate on Tuesday, points to supporters’ arguments on the economic impact of bringing in F-35s. They contend the jets would bring 64 new jobs to the state and maintain 1,650 jobs.

Opponents point to an environmental study conducted by the U.S. Air Force that said noise produced by the jets would place 132 households in an area where “housing is incompatible.” Many of those homes are located in an area of the city with low-income residents and communities of color.

The resolution will not spur any official action, but puts the Legislature firmly on one side of the debate. The Madison Common Council passed a resolution last month asking the Air Force to reconsider basing F-35s in Madison.

Measure To Legalize Lemonade Stands

Another bill up for a vote on Thursday would allow people under 18 years old to operate temporary food and drink stands without a permit, under certain conditions.

In order to meet the requirements of the law, the stand would need to be operated on private property and make less than $2,000 a year.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday. If approved, it would move to Evers’ desk.

Require Insurance For Families Of Fallen Officers

The proposal would require the state and local governments to continue paying health insurance premiums for immediate family of police officers and emergency medical workers killed on the job.

Under the bill, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin System would also be required to meet the standard. Coverage would last until spouses turn 65 years old and children turn 26.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday. If approved, it would move to Evers’ desk.

9/11 Memorial Highway Proposed For Eastern Wisconsin

Another bill would designate part of a state highway outside of Kewaskum as a state 9/11 memorial.

Under the plan, a portion of state Highway 28 between Interstate 41 in Dodge County and Highway 144 in Washington County would be designated Wisconsin’s 9/11 Memorial Highway.

The bill would also require the state Department of Transportation to place and maintain signs directing drivers to the highway and an accompanying memorial, which is being constructed in Kewaskum, located about 45 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

The memorial will include a 2,000-pound beam salvaged from the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday. If approved, it would move to Evers for his signature.

‘Drunk With Power’: State Assembly To Vote On Gubernatorial Veto Change was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Categories: Politics

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