Senator Hansen’s red herring argument

It’s been one week today since state Senator Dave Hansen and his fellow Democrats in the State Senate skipped town to avoid voting on the budget repair bill.  And state Senator Hansen has made an appearance, in the local paper.

Thirteen days ago Gov. Scott Walker and legislative Republicans introduced a 144-page bill, at the heart of which aims to destroy the right of Wisconsin’s teachers, nurses, probation and parole agents, Capitol police officers, corrections officers and others to organize. Their goal was to pass this bill in less than a week so the people of this state would not know what was in it until it was too late. If they had succeeded, this bill would have received less legislative consideration than that afforded a bill making the polka our state dance.

State Senator Hansen there has been over 17 hours of public hearings on the budget repair bill.  The Assembly has also been debating this bill for since Tuesday morning.  So it has received more than adequate legislative consideration.  Compare that to the 2009-2011 state budget, when you and your Democrat colleagues were in charge, which received very little in the way of public hearings and debate.

The message is clear: Public workers have agreed to the increased payments for health and retirement benefits that Gov. Walker has requested. All they have asked for in return is to protect their rights as Wisconsin workers and citizens. In response, Gov. Walker refused, saying his position is non-negotiable.

It is the government’s job to protect the rights of its citizens, not take them away.

The time for negotiation has passed.  As for the agreement regarding benefits how long will that last, until the next contract negotiation, if collective bargaining isn’t restricted. When it comes to rights, those are protected under the state’s Civil Service Protection laws so nothing is being lost there.

At the beginning and end of every day we are all Wisconsinites. We may disagree, but we are fundamentally fair and respect each other’s opinion. The workers and their families have stepped up to help resolve this impasse.

You are right state Senator.  We do disagree on this and other issues.  But are you seriously going to claim the opinions of Governor Walker and others supporting his budget repair bill?  Do signs comparing Governor Walker to Hitler, calling his supporters names, etc fit the definition of respect in your eyes?

The workers have stepped up when it comes to benefits and for that credit is due.  However they really wanted to step up why not do it in previous contract negotiations in order to save the state, local municipalities, and school districts money.

It is now up to Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans. They can end this impasse today by simply removing all language related to collective bargaining from this bill and return its focus to their stated concern for the state’s finances.

State Senator Hansen, do you really think you are in position to make such statements?  Instead of running away like a scared child perhaps you should return to Madison and start doing your job which is to represent the constituents you serve.  In other words debate the bill on the floor of the State Senate and cast your vote against it if you feel it is wrong.  That is how the legislative process works.  And that is what your colleagues on the other side of the aisle did when they were in the minority.  They didn’t take their ball and go hide.  They didn’t shirk their responsibility and make a mockery of democracy.


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