Will WI Republicans Ram Through GOP-Friendly Redistricting Legislation Before Recall Elections?
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As the recall elections loom, and control of the state Senate teeters on a knife's edge, Wisconsin Republicans are attempting to ram through as much conservative legislation as possible. Wisconsin Democrats are worried that redistricting will be among the accelerated legislation:
In coming weeks state Republicans hope to legalize concealed weapons, pass a voter ID bill, expand the use of school vouchers and further deregulate the telecommunications industry. Democrats also fear they’ll turn to redistricting, moving up the statutory schedule so they can lock in electoral gains from last year’s election before recall efforts give Democrats a chance to pry control of the state Senate from GOP hands.
“There’s every indication that the Republicans are moving their agenda forward rapidly, and it could be with recalls on the horizon they would want to move redistricting forward in advance of the traditional schedule,” says Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona.
Rather than deny this charge, Wisconsin Republicans have offered up a snotty non-response response:
“You talked to Democrats who ‘think’ that Republican leaders have these grand plots,” Andrew Welhouse, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, says in an email response to questions about GOP plans. “I guess I’ll leave it up to your journalistic standards if their motivated speculation is worth reporting on.”
He added: “We’re not going to comment on the timing issue,” leaving plenty of room for such speculation.
Well, maybe this was just Democratic speculation before this article, but the Republican response has left the door wide open. They could have just said "no," but they didn't.
Then again, even before Republicans opened the door themselves, was this really just motivated Democratic speculation? I mean, why would anyone think Wisconsin Republicans would do such a thing? Oh yeah—because they also recently did this stuff:
- Moved to strip collective bargaining rights for state employees despite saying little about it during the campaign;
- Claimed they had to pass collective bargaining rights to save money, even though Scott Walker later testified under oath that doing so didn't save any money;
- Illegally passed the bill stripping collective bargaining rights in violation of the state's open meeting law;
- Spent several days openly defying a judicial restraining order preventing them from instituting said restriction of collective bargaining rights;
- Started demanding the personal emails of a history professor who publicly criticized them for doing this;
- Gave state jobs with large raises to the mistress of a Republican state Senator and the son of a major Scott Walker contributor during this whole episode;
- And are in the midst of passing a law to making voting more difficult in the recall elections that came about as a result of their actions listed above.
Truly, with a record like that, how dare anyone accuse them of trying to pass redistricting legislation early.
We've added Shelly Moore, the Democrat challenging Republican Sheila Harsdorf in the recall elections, to the Orange to Blue page. Moore is a teacher who received a layoff notice in January as part of Scott Walker's new vision Wisconsin. JoAnne Kloppenberg won this district in the Supreme Court election.