Hong: Lawmakers Don’t Need a 10-Month Paid Vacation. We Have Work to Do.

Rep. Francesca Hong

Rep. Francesca Hong (D-Madison), via Twitter.

By Francesca Hong

March 4, 2022

Democratic Assembly rep outlines priorities that deserve attention instead of having lawmakers getting paid to do nothing until next year.

[Editor’s Note: As Rep. Hong describes proposed legislation, AB stands for Assembly Bill, SB stands for Senate Bill, and LRB stands for Legislative Reference Bureau. LRB numbers are given to drafts that have not yet been formally submitted and given a bill number.]

Did you hear the news? Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) gaveled out the session… for the year. The freaking year! Vos and his fellow GOP “representatives” apparently think there’s no more work to be done fighting for the people of Wisconsin, and are instead opting to do what they do best: nothing!

I’m so mad about it. I don’t need a freaking vacation, I need the Republicans in the Assembly to get their act together and do the people’s work.

It’s worth noting that Assembly Democrats introduced 263 bills this session, yet only seven received a public hearing in committee. They won’t consider our bills and now they’re taking a 10-month-long, taxpayer-funded vacation.

Because I struggle to stop working—even for a few minutes—I decided to channel my anger into a list of common-sense, widely supported policies that I and my colleagues in the Legislature should be passing, rather than taking off the rest of the year:

  • Decriminalizing cannabis (SB 545)
  • Protecting reproductive healthcare access (Abortion Preservation Act AB 106)
  • Expanding healthcare through a BadgerCare Public Option (LRB 5510)
  • Putting in place PFAS regulations to protect our drinking water (CLEAR ACT AB 419, which is the most comprehensive proposal in the nation to combat PFAS [industrial chemical] pollution)
  • Investing in our teachers and a general commitment to public education (Teaching is a Profession Package LRB 5945)
  • Supporting Main Street small businesses with the online clearinghouse portal (AB 1053)
  • Strengthening democracy by making it easier for all eligible voters to make their voice heard (Automatic voter registration amendment to AB 940)

But instead of having hearings on any of these important pieces of legislation, Republicans gaveled out for the rest of the year. IN FEBRUARY!!!

While my colleagues and I can’t legislate, it doesn’t mean we aren’t still fighting for you. We’re traveling the state talking to voters and working hard to flip seats. We’re recruiting great candidates who can join us in taking back the power for the people from these corporate goons. We’re meeting with constituents and continuing to do everything we can to make sure our government is working for them.

The GOP doesn’t care about Wisconsin. They choose violence over voting and racism over discomfort. While we need to work for a better normal, they simply refuse to work. Our state is battling crisis after crisis and we must collectively work to find solutions to the root causes of our challenges, not excluding Wisconsin GOP obstructionists. 

The GOP’s immoral & misguided priorities only pertain to consolidating power. They no longer even hide their corruption, clearly on display as they attack public education & demean our teachers (AB 966, AB 963), work overtime to suppress the vote (AJR 133, AB 977, AB998), work toward constitutional amendments for a convention of states that will set back our entire county (AJR 135), and provide even more handouts to the already-far-too-powerful gun lobby (AB 572).

We will not stop fighting the GOP attacks on democracy to gain partisan control over our nonpartisan election process. Our elections are secure, safe and accurate, and that’s due to the heroic work of our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers. Vos might have gaveled out for the year, but our work continues, because we work for you.


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