***48th Assembly District Update with Chris Taylor***
Next week is the final general business floor period scheduled for the State Legislature this year. Right now I only anticipate the Assembly meeting on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Given the lengthy list of bills the Assembly has scheduled for debate, I expect the session to last well into the night.
As expected, there are many controversial bills scheduled on the final day of session. Below is a short list of the bills that I find most disturbing and will strongly oppose.
AB 110 – The Special Education Voucher Bill. This bill extends the school voucher program to children with disabilities or special needs. Not a single statewide disability or special education-focused organization supports this bill.
Under AB 110, private schools receive approximately a $13,500 voucher for a child with disabilities but these schools are not required to have any specialized instruction, teachers or have any other accommodations for that child.
This bill is written by the conservative ALEC organization and based after a program in Florida . To read about the disastrous results the program has had in Florida read the attached link.
This bill also removes an additional $80 million annually from our public schools.
AB 154/SB 92 – Prohibits private insurers from offering abortion coverage in the state’s health insurance exchange. This bill is going to eliminate critical health coverage for women and families facing the most tragic situations imaginable. It will have the biggest impact on women with high risk pregnancies, develop a health complication during pregnancy or who receive a diagnosis of severe fetal anomalies. As a result of this bill families will be left with large medical bills not covered by insurance.
AB 337/SB 237 – Repeals the Healthy Youth Act which requires that children be taught comprehensive sex ed in our schools if such instruction be offered. Replacing it with an abstinence based program.
AB 371/SB 306 – Interferes in the doctor/patient relationship by mandating medical care for women having an abortion that is not based on best medical practices and provides felony penalties for physicians who don’t follow these mandates.
AB 481 – Prohibits schools from being able to register students and employees to vote.
AB 502/SB 411 – Implements a six month hunting and trapping season for Gray (Timber) wolves which will interfere with the wolves’ breeding season. In addition, allows hunting with dogs and at night-time.
As indicated above, many of the bills on Tuesday’s calendar will set women’s rights and health care back decades. If you are interested in rallying against these bills there is a rally scheduled for Tuesday, March 13 by the Lady Forward Statute ( State Street entrance) at the Capitol between 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.
Voter ID temporarily suspended and New Legislation to protect the right to vote
On Tuesday, March 6, a Dane County circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order suspending the Voter ID law until a final trial on April 16th. This means that for the April 3, 2012 election, voters will not have to comply with the Voter ID requirements.
Until this law is permanently enjoined, I am continuing to introduce legislation to protect each individual’s right to vote. On Wednesday, March 7, I introduced the “Seniors Vote Act” after talking to Ingrid Thompson, the Director of McFarland Senior Outreach Services, during office hours I held in McFarland. We spoke about the difficulties seniors and individuals with disabilities are having in complying with the Voter ID law.
In response, the “Seniors Vote Act” requires the Department of Transportation to establish mobile sites that go to seniors and disabled residents and offer free picture IDs. In addition, if people are unable to obtain one of the accepted forms of identification after making reasonable efforts, they could sign and affidavit and use the affidavit to obtain a picture ID.
Attached is a link to the bill draft.
I appreciate everyone who has come to my listening sessions. I so enjoy talking with you, hearing your thoughts and advocating for the issues you care deeply about.
My last listening session this month is on Friday, March 23 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Café Zoma, 2326 Atwood Avenue , Madison . Please join me!
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
With warm regards, Chris