Walker’s Wisconsin – Democracy

It’s not just your environment Walker is damaging. Since his election, he has interfered with the practice of democracy in Wisconsin. He’s used an extremist template for suppressing the vote including Voter ID laws, limiting voting hours, approving wildly gerrymandered redistricting, and dismantling the Government Accountability Board.

Walker’s elections have been funded largely by out-of-state corporate special interests that care little for Wisconsinites. Walker even tried to deny representation to thousands of voters by refusing to call for special elections. Taking back Wisconsin isn’t just about clean water and air – it’s also the fight to protect your most sacred individual rights.

1. Walker prioritized big business over your air, land, and water

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce works aggressively against environmental and public health protections, spending money supporting the most anti-conservation bills and legislators in Wisconsin, including the Industrial Acid Mining Bill (2017 Act 134) and Senator Tom Tiffany. Last year, WMC initially opposed a bill that aimed to protect children from lead poisoning (SB 48). WMC raised and spent about $33 million between January 2006 and December 2017, according to watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. WMC spent the bulk of that on broadcast ads to support anti-conservation candidates and smear the opposition. Governor Scott Walker has been the top beneficiary of WMC’s outside election spending. The group has shelled out an estimated $9.5 million to help keep him in power.

2. Walker took big money from big polluters

Liquid manure is poisoning water across Wisconsin. Wisconsin families cannot drink their water, and yet the Dairy Business Association has lobbied for looser rules and policies that continue to exacerbate an environmental emergency. DBA lobbyists met with Walker last year to encourage moving more authority away from the Department of Natural Resources to the agriculture department, a move that would further erode the DNR’s enforcement abilities. The DBA also met with Walker to discuss changes in manure spreading rules aimed at protecting drinking water, especially in sensitive areas of the state like Kewaunee County where some faucets run brown with manure pollution. The result of their interference resulted in weaker rules. The organization and its staff and board spent $713,461 to keep Walker in charge, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The result is a statewide drinking water crisis. Not only that, many of its board members own factory farms and some have themselves spilled millions of gallons of liquid manure in violation of established rules.\

3. Walker tried to kneecap the Department of Natural Resources

In his 2015-2017 budget, Walker tried to convert the Natural Resources Board into an advisory entity with no oversight capabilities. The seven-member board represents a diverse geographic and professional cross-section of people. It helps direct the agency and is responsible for providing public input on natural resources decisions. Without it, Walker’s appointee would alone set policy for the agency, further centralizing Walker’s power over our natural resources. Thanks to huge public outcry, the move was pulled from the budget.

To be continued…

There’s so much more to learn about the damage Walker has done to Wisconsin. Every two weeks – until Wisconsin has a new governor – new items will be added to the Walker’s Wisconsin pages. Sign up for emails to get a heads up when we do. Check out more of Walker’s Wisconsin!

References

  1. http://host.madison.com/ct/opinion/column/dave_zweifel/plain-talk-money-trail-leads-to-wisconsin-manufacturers-commerce/article_225e97c3-1627-5529-b258-30dea66f3900.html
  2. http://www.wisdc.org/InfluencePeddler2016August
  3. http://www.wisdc.org/InfluencePeddler2018January
  4. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/10/lobbyists-large-farms-met-gov-scott-walkers-staff-before-he-announced-possible-shift-ag-oversight/97704176/
  5. http://conservationvoters.org/newsitems/8216-gov-walker-weakens-proposed-changes-to-manure-pollution-rules/
  6. http://conservationvoters.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/20150216GovBudgetMemoFinal.pdf