This week in the Badger State everyone showed what their priorities are. For Sen. Jon Erpenbach, it’s protecting the voting rights of students, seniors, and minorities. For Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, it’s making sure drinking water isn’t subject to pesky disinfection. And for Scott Walker, the priority is going from Governor of Wisconsin to Emperor of Wisconsin.
This is your Wisconsin Roundup:
- Voter ID bill delayed, but passed. A bill passed by GOP Wisconsin Senators this morning will restrict the voting rights of seniors, students, minorities, and poor individuals by requiring a photo ID to vote. It didn’t squeak by without a fight, though. Democrats who oppose the bill kept debate going until 1 am on Tuesday night, introducing dozens of amendments to roll back some of the bill’s worst provisions.Sen. Jon Erpenbach cut to the core of why the Republican majority wants to pass the voter ID bill: it’s all about consolidating political power.
Despite the efforts of some legislators, the voter ID bill was passed by the Senate this morning, 19-5.
The immediate danger of the Voter ID bill is that residency requirements, which jump from 10 and 28 days, go into effect immediately. Many students and other groups who change residencies frequently could be disenfranchised in time for the July 12 recall elections.
We’ll be reporting more on the voter ID story as it develops.
- The cold taste of dirty water. The other priority addressed by the Wisconsin State Senate was creating jobs and economic recovery. Just kidding! They’re taking away protections on drinking water:
The state Senate has sent a bill that would repeal a safe drinking water requirement to the governor.
The Republican measure repeals a state Department of Natural Resources rule that calls for municipal governments to install equipment to disinfect their water by December 2013.
Democrats said the regulations are necessary to protect public health, noting that Wisconsin-based research has shown that public water systems contain viruses from leaking sanitary systems that make people sick.
Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), who introduced the bill, says this removes an unfair mandate on municipalities, but 90 percent of communities already have the necessary filtration in place. Repealing the regulations hurts working families in rural and poorer communities, where folks can’t afford to replace possibly infected drinking water with bottled water.
- Galactic Emperor Scott Walker? In addition to his cheer-leading for all things anti-worker, Governor Walker has been engaged in a number of other extracurricular activities. The Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel reports that Walker has been making moves toward consolidating even more power in the Wisconsin governor’s office:
Republican Gov. Scott Walker is steadily remaking the Wisconsin government, implementing conservative ideals and quietly consolidating power under the office of the governor. His actions range from the much-publicized move to strip collective bargaining rights from powerful public unions to the less-noticed efforts to add more political appointees at state agencies and take away responsibilities from Wisconsin’s democratically elected secretary of state.
It’s an absolute must-read piece, and it’s yet another demonstration of how Walker’s priorities are about personal power and political payback to his corporate backers – not the working families of Wisconsin.
Well, I wish this roundup had some better news. But now there’s no doubt about the priorities of Scott Walker and his runaway legislature. I’m not sure the lines could be any clearer.