May 10, 2019
by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director
On May 9, the GOP-dominated Joint Finance Committee disregarded the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites on a number of crucial items in Gov. Evers’s budget.
First, Republicans on the committee stripped funding for nonpartisan redistricting, even though in a recent Marquette Law School poll, 72 percent of Wisconsinites favored banning gerrymandering in Wisconsin (and that includes 63 percent of Republicans!). Already, 46 county boards in Wisconsin have passed resolutions calling on the legislature to enact nonpartisan redistricting, but still the Joint Finance Committee yanked it.
Second, the Joint Finance Committee pulled Medicaid expansion out of the budget, even though 70 percent of Wisconsinites favored it in the most recent Marquette Law School poll, and even though it would have covered 82,000 more poor people and yielded $1.6 billion more in federal aid for health care in Wisconsin.
Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee also struck Evers’s proposal to legalize medical marijuana, decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and raise the minimum wage, all of which a majority of Wisconsinites support. (For instance, 83 percent of Wisconsinites favored legalizing medical marijuana, according to the Marquette Law School poll.)
We have a crisis of democracy and a crisis of representation in Wisconsin. Republican officials are not representing the wishes of their constituents on issue after issue.
They may be able to get away with it for now, what with their gerrymandered districts. But at some point, no matter how rigged their districts, the citizens of Wisconsin will insist that elected officials do what they want them to do or else those politicians will lose their jobs.
You can’t stifle the will of the people forever.