Assembly Joint Resolution 97
Relating to: commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Chippewa Falls Girl Scout Tragedy.
hist114090The question was: Concurrence of Assembly Joint Resolution 97?
Assembly Joint Resolution 101
Relating to: recognizing the Jaycees' ongoing commitment to community involvement and commending the organization upon its 100th anniversary of its founding.
hist114096The question was: Concurrence of Assembly Joint Resolution 101?
Assembly Joint Resolution 110
Relating to: recognizing The American Legion's ongoing commitment to service to veterans, families, the nation, the state, and their communities and commending the Legion on the occasion of its century of service.
hist114097The question was: Concurrence of Assembly Joint Resolution 110?
Assembly Joint Resolution 116
Relating to: proclaiming January 2020 as human trafficking awareness and prevention month.
hist114098The question was: Concurrence of Assembly Joint Resolution 116?
Assembly Joint Resolution 117
Relating to: proclaiming February 2020 to be American Heart Month in Wisconsin.
hist114099The question was: Concurrence of Assembly Joint Resolution 117?
Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that all action be immediately messaged to the Assembly:
Announcements, adjournment honors, and remarks under special privilege
Senator Jacque, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of the thousands of Wisconsin residents boarding buses and heading to our nation’s capital for the March for Life and the peaceful protest of the 47th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Senator Schachtner, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of her parents, Richard and Bette Rivard, for their 62nd wedding anniversary. After marrying on January 26th in 1958, they had 7 kids, 18 grandkids, and 18 great grandkids. They have raised them all to respect their community, honor their family, and fight for the common good. Senator Schachtner is so grateful to be their daughter.
Senator Hansen, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of all the communities in the State of Wisconsin that have taken a stand against Citizens United.
Senator Wanggaard, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of his committee clerk Valirie Maxim on her birthday yesterday and more importantly her engagement this past week. Senator Wanggaard wishes her a happy life, she’s a great committee clerk.
Senator Bewley, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of Bayfield native Megan Gustafson, who was one of only 11 students in her graduating class at South Shore High School in Port Wing where she excelled at Basketball. Megan went on to a stellar run for the Iowa Hawkeyes, including being named the ESPNW National Player of the Year and two time Big Ten Player of the Year. Both on and off the court, Megan has represented Wisconsin virtues and values, serving in leadership roles, supporting her teammates during their successes and failures, committing to hard work and inspiring others to do the same. To honor her many achievements, her Alma Mater is retiring her number 10 jersey on January 26th. Please join Senator Bewley in congratulating Megan Gustafson on an outstanding college career as she adjourns today in her honor.
Senator Taylor, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, whose birthday was a couple of days ago. Senator Taylor also wants to recognize the MLK Jr. speech writers contest winners. She honors their efforts and remembrance of Dr. King. Remember the time is always wright to do what is right in honor of Dr. King.
Senator Taylor, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of Janette Herrera, who founded Kingfest in 2001, to honor the life and legacy of the formidable civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. who challenged us to understand and live up to the idea that “the time is always right to do what is right.”
Senator Taylor, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of the Greendale High School Marching Band who got to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade.
Senator Ringhand, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of her brother, Mark Brzezinski and sister Anne Oestreich, who are celebrating their 68th birthday today.
Senator Risser, with unanimous consent, asked to have Senator Miller’s remarks entered into the journal.
Last session during the debate on the confirmation Brad Pfaff as DATCP Secretary, you ruled that the Senator from Eau Claire could not allude to the remarks made by other Senators during committee proceedings. Your ruling engendered considerable debate and consternation among minority members that your ruling may have been an arbitrary exercise of majority power.
To your credit you promised to render your decision in writing which was forthcoming a week later. I requested a copy of your ruling in order to satisfy myself with respect to its validity. Your office promptly provided the requested copy. In addition, you arranged for the two of us to discuss your ruling further. Mr. President, I want to thank you for taking the time to discuss it personally with me.
I am satisfied on a number of accounts that were of concern:
1. Mason’s Manual is the primary parliamentary resource for most state legislatures, including Wisconsin.
2. Mason’s manual does, in fact, prohibit members for alluding to remarks made by colleagues during committee meetings unless those remarks are part of the official record of the committee
Mr. President, your written ruling also addressed the issue of limiting debate to the issue that is currently before the body. Mason’s Manual as well as our rules specify that debate must pertain to the issue that is currently before the body. You expressed to me being troubled by Senators straying too far afield from the subject being debated. At your request I advised my Democratic colleagues of your concerns. Additionally I provided them a copy of your written ruling.
Mr. President, I commend you for your approach to the issue of appropriate governance of this body.
Mr. President, this morning, I announce my decision not to run for re-election this fall. With that, I hope that you will allow me to share a few additional comments about civil democracy.
When my term is up this next January, I will have had the honor to serve as an elected official for 24 years. In those nearly two and a half decades, I have always cared deeply about running a legislature in a way that is consistent with the responsibility of a representative body such as ours.
In my early years as a county board supervisor, I and the other freshmen supervisors organized our large class of incoming county supervisors-- nearly one third of the entire board -- to debate civilly and to persuade veteran members to do likewise.
During my second term in the Assembly, Republican State Senator Ted Kanavas and I undertook to implement the New Patriotism Caucus, an effort by the Harwood Institute to encourage responsible citizenship by voters, the media, and legislators in selected states.
Approximately one quarter of our colleagues from both houses participated in the initial meetings of the New Patriotism Caucus, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, including the current co-chair of Joint Finance, the Senator from the 8th. Republican Rep Al Ott distributed mirrors to all 99 members of the Assembly. His message was that if we wanted a better functioning legislative body, we needed to look no further than ourselves, we needed to “look in the mirror.”
For the past six years I participated in the National Institute for Civil Discourse as a facilitator to other state legislatures to help them determine more effective and responsible governing practices. These efforts met with mixed success, largely dependent on the commitment of the participants.
What I have learned is that responsible governance goes beyond Mason’s Manual or technical rules, it demands building and maintaining a culture of respect – respect for the institution, respect for the opposition party and respect for the voters who entrust us with this awesome responsibility. Without this culture of respect and responsibility, we undermine public confidence in our democratic institutions.
Sadly, a winner-take-all culture has come to dominate not only our political campaigns, but also the way our government operates. As a result, public confidence has eroded at both the national level and right here in our state, which for many years was regarded as a shining example of good government.
I know that many of you share my concern for the integrity of our legislative bodies. A legislature is a human institution like marriage that requires proactive and mindful maintenance and support in order to remain strong.
I believe that we can promote responsible democratic governance at many levels -- from the mundane to the critical, by the individual and the body politic.
On the mundane side, we could assign our physical offices by seniority rather than by majority. This would increase proximity of senators from different parties.
More substantively, we could agree to schedule committee hearings and executive sessions on any bill with bipartisan authorship. This would provide a massive incentive to seek out more bipartisan sponsorship of bills. Bipartisan bills used to be the gold standard legislators strove for. We see this when we have a split legislature. Working together and across the aisle built respect, which in turn strengthened – not weakened – public policy because it would more likely survive a partisan change of the majority.
We could agree to provide at least a week’s notice of agendas prior to committee meetings or floor sessions. This would provide better preparation for meetings and session and would allow a better opportunity for public input.
These changes could be accomplished by agreement or by modifying Senate rules. Other changes require legislation
The most significant legislation that would strengthen public faith in government would be a non-partisan process for mapping legislative districts. Extreme, one-sided, partisan map-drawing results in fewer competitive districts. I know this too well as the 2011 redistricting made my 16th Senate district an overwhelmingly safe Democratic seat. Since the last redistricting, no Republican has challenged me, weakening the public exchange of ideas and opinions and narrowing the voters’ opinions at the ballot box to one.
Safe partisan districts tend to elect the most extreme ideological representatives, hollowing out the moderate middle critical that can form the catalyst for compromise. When redistricting is so manipulated that election results do not accurately reflect the voter’s will, we further undermine public confidence in our electoral system.
None of this is meant to imply that we will not have ferocious disagreement.
I will miss this place. I will miss working with a talented office staff. I will miss working with the professionals in the legislative support agencies.
I will miss fighting for clean water, for better education for both children and adults, for expanded health care for all, and for responsible governance, but I am comfortable with my decision to retire.
In spite of the inordinate influence of powerful special interests and often malevolent social media, our future as a state remains ultimately in the hands of the voters. It is my hope they will make good choices so that all Wisconsinites can prosper and thrive in the years to come.
It is also my hope, Mr. President, that you will find ways to use the power of your office to make this institution operate in a way that respects the voters who sent us here.”
Senator Darling, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of her Chief of Staff, Jerry Ponio, who went to three Rose Bowls, and he got to play with Russell Wilson. That is the claim to fame in the Darling office.
Senator Carpenter, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of Doris Miller, Mess Attendant 2nd Class, who was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for the courage of his actions during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He helped in the evacuation of the West Virginia battleship before it sank and fired a machine gun at Japanese attackers until he ran out of ammunition. He was the son of a sharecropper and the descendent of slaves. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2020, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier was named in his honor, the first time this had been done in honor of an African American.
Senator Carpenter, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of Senator Hanson and Miller for their decades of public service.
Senator Wirch, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate adjourn in honor of Ralph Tenuta. Ralph was a kind, generous man who loved his family and community. Ralph ran a great small business in Kenosha.
Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate stand adjourned until 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.