Legislation for the Rich

  • Legislation for the Rich

It is time that the citizens of Wisconsin become more aware of legislation favoring the wealthy enacted by the Republican controlled legislature and signed into law by Governor Walker.

Most of the legislation passed from 2011 through 2013 was written with “help” from special interests.

Three examples:

1. Republican Representative Joel Kleefisch introduced legislation written especially for a campaign donor, Michael Eisenga. Eisenga, a millionaire, along with his attorney directed Kleefisch’s office to design legislation that would reduce the amount of money wealthy people pay for child support. This legislation was a result of Eisenga not wanting to pay more child support.

Eisenga contributed $3500 to Joel Kleefisch and $7000 to Joel’s wife, Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.

2. Mining legislation to weaken environmental standards across the state, but especially in the Penokee Hills, was drafted by Gogebic Taconite (GTAC), Governor Walker’s office, and the Legislative Reference Bureau in January of 2011 according to an open records search by Democratic Representative Kelda Roys, with records released May 13, 2012. Republican Sen. Scott Fitzgerald was heavily involved in the process as was Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany, who introduced the “revised” bill which was signed into law by Governor Walker.

GTAC’s president, Bill Williams, is facing legal action in connection with arsenic contamination from the Cobre Las Cruces mine in Seville, Spain.
Williams’ company has never operated an iron ore mine.

Williams complains the DNR wants too much information regarding the extreme impact the proposed mine would have on the people and the area.

Special interests that backed loosening mining regulations for the Cline/GTAC group have contributed $15.6 million to Republican legislators and the governor from 2010 to April 23, 2012.

3. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a pro-business group, listed 43 Wisconsin lawmakers, all of them Republicans except one.

In the 2011-2013 legislative session, 32 bills were modeled after ALEC legislation.
Recently I volunteered at a “Personal Needs Center.” In 90 minutes, 30 people, most of them with families, came in near blizzard conditions to choose essential items such as toilet paper.

As I watched a mute man being aided by a friend, I kept wondering:  What voice does this needy man have to influence legislation that would directly benefit him? Clearly his voice, and that of so many hurting people, will never be heard unless we speak up and become the “voices” for them.

A quote from Bill Moyers comes to mind; “We know, we know: It is written that, “The poor will always be with us.” But when it comes to our “out of sight, out of mind” population of the poor, you have to think we can reduce their number, ease the suffering, and speak out with whatever means at hand, on their behalf and against those who prefer they remain invisible. Speak out: that means you and me, and yes, Mr. President, you, too.”