Following the election of Tony Evers, the GOP-controlled Assembly and Senate called a special session to pass bills limiting the incoming governor’s ability to make changes. Prior to moving out of the executive residence, Walker signed all the plans without revision or veto.
One change was to switch authority from the governor to the legislators to withdraw Wisconsin from a federal lawsuit. Recently, Evers tried to pull Wisconsin out of a lawsuit challenging Obamacare. Then the new Democrat attorney general, Josh Kaul, took up the attempt to withdraw. It’s clear legislators will not allow it. Obviously, the balance of power between the executive and legislature branches will be an ongoing battle.
Without taking sides in any particular dispute, it is interesting to point out a few facts:
• First, Democrats swept every statewide race in the November election — a clear signal voters are looking for some degree of change.
• Second, the respected Marquette Poll released its latest findings recently and focused its research on how Wisconsin citizens feel about priorities Evers has identified. A strong plurality favors Evers’ position on the Obamacare lawsuit and want Wisconsin to withdraw.
• An overwhelming 72 percent support nonpartisan redistricting for legislative seats, something the Republican majority not only has refused to do, but both Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald claim no one really cares about it anyway. They are wrong.
• Nearly two in three voters (62 percent) want Wisconsin to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, another issue Republican legislators have refused to consider.
• A majority of 55 percent want an increase in the minimum wage.
• Nearly 60 percent support legalizing marijuana.
• Increased state spending on K-12 public education is favored by 55 percent.
• The poll shows division on solving transportation funding, with 52 percent opposing raising gas taxes.
What does all that mean? In our view, it’s a strong argument for the politicians to work a lot harder to find common ground.
For eight years Wisconsin has had Republican one-party rule, but the Marquette Poll shows Republicans are on the wrong end of public opinion for several issues.
To us, that doesn’t mean citizens have fallen in love with Democrats and want to sideline Republican ideas in favor of something more like one-party Democrat rule. Rather, it suggests they want the parties to get things done much more collaboratively. Voters also are fed up with politicians rigging elections to insulate themselves.
The government is supposed to be responsive to the people — all the people. It has not been. Not even close.
Compromise is not a dirty word. Give it a try.
— Beloit Daily News