Columns

The Proletarian | Wisconsin is no democracy for the people


Conservative officials’ lame-duck bills are the evidence

ETHAN COSTELLO | coste012@rangers.uwp.edu

The debacle that occurred last week Wednesday in the State Congress is evidence to the fact the Wisconsin is no democracy, at least not the democracy that we think it is. The Wis. legislation just passed a series of bills which aim to protect exiting Gov. Scott Walker’s achievements as well as cripple the incoming state executives governor-elect Tony Evers and lieutenant-elect Mandela Barnes.

Here is a very brief summation of passed bills: 1) Shortening the early voting period to two weeks before elections; 2) Greatly weakening the attorney general’s position; 3) enact greater stipulations on government funded healthcare for WI citizens; 4) restrict the governor’s ability to perform.

With a conservative majority in place—and with another conservative majority swearing-in in January—these newly passed bills render Ever’s campaign promises inert.

Perhaps more relevant to the University of Wisconsin, the State Senate has just approved Walker’s appointment for the Board of Regents seat. The Assembly is said to be following suit and we will know before this publication if that is true, as they voted on it this Tuesday. Scott Beightol could replace Bryan Steil. Beightol is an attorney from a close law firm to the Wis. Republicans. Beightol assisted in gerrymandering—an undemocratic process—districts in 2011. The Assembly is said to be following suit and we will know before this publication if that is true.

What does Beightol know about the needs of students, faculty and campus staff, being a lawyer who primarily focused on labor arbitrations and trade secret? How does his appointment serve the people within our campus communities? In previous columns, I have argued that the Board of Regents does not serve campus communities, but rather corporate interests within the state. I assert that Beightol will fill the same role as the other regents, save the sole seat reserved for the State Superintendent who oversees Wisconsin’s education.

The appointment of Beightol is accompanied by more than 30 other appointments by Walker for other official positions, all approved by the senate, and all without proper vetting within public forums. Should not the people have a say in who is elected to our highest positions of office? The students, teachers and campus staff the state should be made informed of and have influential say in the appointing of policy makers of our University, and the same should apply to the whole state.

The senate bills backed by Walker that were voted on under the cover of darkness did not go unnoticed. The public was aware of the proceedings. Demonstrators occupied the Capitol building en masse during the session last Wednesday to show opposition to the lame-duck bills which are an affront to choice of the people of Wisconsin in electing progressives to office. Shortly after the session began, cries of “Shame!” echoed through the halls as protestors were forced out of the gallery by police.

The lame-duck bills passing at the highest levels of our state government and the heavy support of Board of Regent appointee Scott Beightol among legislatures is evidence that Wisconsin and the UW System is no democracy for the people, rather it is a democracy for the ruling class of our great state. In solidarity. #DemocratizeTheBoR

Ethan Costello is a senior majoring in communication, VP of No Victims Self Defense and Secretary of Students for a Democratic Society.

Categories: Columns, News, Opinions

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