No Right to Work
Our senator from the 17th Senate District, Howard Marklein, is a member of the Senate Labor Committee. Last week, that committee held a hearing on the very controversial Right-to-Mooch (Work) bill.
When it becomes law, according to the experience of 24 states that already passed this bill, we will see a reduction in the wages of most workers, resulting in less and worse healthcare coverage, increased workplace injuries and deaths, reduced funding for schools, and a reduction in the rate of high school and college graduation.
That hearing ended when the chair, Republican Sen. Steve Nass (R–Whitewater), abruptly closed the meeting 30 minutes before the scheduled ending time with scores of people still waiting to testify. Nass then asked for a voice vote of the members. All three Republicans, including Marklein, voted to move the bill to the full Senate.
Since Howard and his Republican colleagues voted to advance the bill without discussion, one would assume that the testimony had been overwhelmingly in support. In fact, in more than eight hours of testimony, only the bill’s sponsor, Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, representatives of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Association, and several hired guns from out-of-state right-wing think tanks spoke in favor of the bill. Others were resoundingly in opposition.
So why did Howard and his colleagues vote for the measure? Dave Zweifel, writer for The Capital Times, called Howard and the other Republican committee members “toadies” for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. The title is appropriate since the out-of-state, corporate supported bill mill, the American Legislative Exchange Council, wrote the bill.
It is also appropriate since it will benefit only corporations who want to hold down the cost of labor. One of the hired guns actually said, in his testimony, that holding down labor costs was the objective! But holding down the cost of labor means cutting the wages of workers!
Ask Howard if he works for the people of the 17th and the people of the state? Or does he work for the corporations who support the WMC and ALEC? When he says he works for the people, ask him how his vote on this bill is in the interest of the people. Then remind him that he will face the voters in another 3½ years.
Wittwer ran for the 17th Senate District seat Marklein won in 2012.
Wisconsin is fortunate to have SeniorCare — the best-run prescription drug assistance program in the nation. The program helps about 85,000 Wisconsin seniors manage their drug costs. For some seniors on fixed incomes who have to choose between buying food or medications, SeniorCare is literally a lifesaver. I’ve seen examples of this all over southwest Wisconsin.
The governor is proposing changes to this popular and cost-effective program, despite bipartisan support for it to continue on as is. The costs of the program have been controlled by the state’s ability to negotiate drug prices and utilize prior authorization with preferred formularies. Both seniors and the State of Wisconsin have benefited from the success of this program for several years.
I am a volunteer advocate for AARP Wisconsin, which is urging all of us to contact our state legislatures and tell them to remove any changes to the SeniorCare program from the governor’s proposed biennial state budget. AARP supports both Medicare Part D and SeniorCare, since both prescription drug programs benefit seniors. Why not keep this choice in place for all of us?
SeniorCare is a Wisconsin success story. Let’s not mess with a good thing.
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