Thursday, May 9, 2013

Where’s the Local Control Caucus?

By Lisa Kaiser
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I always thought that Republicans had a fetish about local control, claiming that local leaders, being closest to their constituents, were the best ones to make decisions for their communities.

But I guess they’ve become state-control fetishists.

Yesterday, toward the end of the Assembly’s debate on AB 85, the Milwaukee County “reform” bill, state Rep. Christine Sinicki and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca chastised the Republicans’ trampling of local control.

Sinicki listed a host of measures that Republicans passed to seize control of matters best handled by municipal and county governments and school districts.

Let’s see, Sinicki said. The Legislature didn’t like Milwaukee County’s advisory referendum on the sales tax, so it didn’t allow the county to implement it. It didn’t like the city’s binding referendum on sick leave, so it blocked it. Selling MPS buildings? Pass a bill to bypass local control, too.

Barca called out his colleagues who serve on county boards, naming them the “local control caucus” and asking them to vote against AB 85—which, incidentally, overrides the county board's attempt to reform itself.

They didn’t listen to Barca, of course, and passed the bill on a 60-38 party-line vote

So now we have yet more efforts trample local control—the Republicans’ efforts to kill Milwaukee’s streetcar plan to satisfy their tea party supporters and also end residency requirements (or vastly loosen them) for public employees.

State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) wants to insert the streetcar proposal into the state budget, an allegedly non-policy document, while bypassing the Public Service Commission. So it wouldn’t get an up or down vote on its own.  

The JFC went along with his request on a party-line vote.

“This is big government Republicans, folks!” jeered Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) before voting against it.

 

 

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