Playing Politics With Cancer

In this update: 1. Legislative leaders block votes on cancer drug bill 2. Sunshine laws on thin ice Playing Politics With Cancer

Email date: 3/18/14

In this update:
1. Legislative leaders block votes on cancer drug bill
2. Sunshine laws on thin ice

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Legislative leaders block votes on cancer drug bill
Despite the fact that at least 28 of the 33 members of the state Senate support legislation making cancer drugs more affordable, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is refusing to schedule a vote on the bill. Interests opposed to legislation making cancer drugs more affordable have given majority Republicans in the Senate more than $266,000 in political donations since January 2011. The Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, the leadership PAC controlled by Fitzgerald, received the most ($66,106). Fitzgerald’s personal campaign committee is third on the list of recipients ($30,945).

The cancer drug bill is being blocked in the state Assembly too, despite the fact the legislation is supported by at least 61 of the Assembly’s 99 members, including all 39 Democrats and 22 Republicans.

Assembly Republicans have received nearly $287,000 in political donations from interests opposing the legislation since 2011. The top recipient is the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee ($43,700), the leadership PAC controlled by Speaker Robin Vos. Vos himself is fourth on the list of leading recipients, with $16,400 in donations from bill opponents to his personal campaign committee. Another opponent of the cancer drug bill, Representative John Nygren of Marinette, the co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee, is second on the list of recipients with $19,190 in donations from interests opposed to the bill.

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Sunshine laws on thin ice
This week is Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. This is as good a time as any to come to terms with how poorly Wisconsin’s government sunshine laws are being enforced. The Democracy Campaign’s director wrote a column that is being published in newspapers across the state calling attention to our state’s diminished commitment to open government.