Matt Rothschild

Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, in testimony during a recent public hearing in Madison, suggested that the hearing, which was on Feb. 11, while important, was not as important as proposed reform legislation. “Where’s the hearing?” asked Rothschild repeatedly when referring to specific bills.

Rothschild was complaining that the GOP-controlled assembly, using a tactic also employed by the GOP in the nation’s capital, was effectively killing legislation that it opposed by refusing to even hold public hearings on the legislation. Among the legislation stalled are bills addressing gerrymandering, the Us. Supreme Court’s decision that corporations are people, and automatic voter registration, among others.

Here is Rothschild’s testimony:

Good morning, Chair Tusler and other Distinguished Members of the Committee,

I’m Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, now celebrating our 25th year for clean and open government and advocating for a democracy where everyone has an equal voice.

I got no problem with AB 834. It seems innocuous and straightforward enough.

What I got a problem with is, when’s the hearing on more important bills dealing with our campaigns and elections?

Since this is likely the last time you’ll be meeting to take citizen input this session, let me just ask, briefly, a few questions.

When’s the hearing on AB 303, introduced by Rep. Vining and Sen. Hansen, to ban gerrymandering in Wisconsin?

50 County Boards have passed resolutions urging you to adopt something like this. And the Marquette Law School poll shows 72 percent of Wisconsinites in favor of nonpartisan redistricting, including 63 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Independents. This bill has 5 Republican co-sponsors, which is 4 more than ever before.

So when’s the hearing?

When’s the hearing on AJR 11, introduced by Rep. Subeck and Sen. Hansen, which would give all the citizens of Wisconsin an opportunity to weigh in on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to proclaim, once and for all, that corporations aren’t persons and money isn’t speech? In 146 Wisconsin communities, resolutions or referendums have been passed in favor of such an amendment.

So when’s the hearing?

When’s the hearing on AB 309, introduced by Rep. Crowley and Sen. Hansen, to give us Automatic Voter Registration, like 18 other states have?

When’s the hearing on AB 400, introduced by Rep. Crowley and Sen. Taylor, to ban prison gerrymandering, as California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Nevada, and Washington all have done?

When’s the hearing on AB 477, introduced by Rep. Emerson and Sen. Taylor, to reenfranchise the formerly incarcerated, as Florida has done?

When’s the hearing on AB 732, introduced by Rep. Spreitzer and Sen. Miller, to allow for ranked-choice voting in Wisconsin, as Maine has adopted?

All of these bills are much more urgently needed than this minor bill that you’re taking up today.

So when’s the hearing?



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