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Split government shouldn’t mean lack of progress

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It shouldn’t be a surprise, but the headline confirms it. In era of split government, expect few major bills during the fall session. That is the case for the Wisconsin Legislature, controlled by Republicans while a Democrat sits in the Governor’s mansion. That means less agreement on what issues and policies are important to each party. But can’t they at least try? There are a number of critical issues facing the state, and doing nothing about them because we have a split government gets us nowhere. We are seeing evidence of that already. Since becoming Governor in January, Tony Evers has signed just 18 bills into law. That compares to the same time in 2017 when Governor Scott Walker had signed 57 bills into law under unified Republican control of state government. When the fall legislative session resumes, we can expect gubernatorial vetoes of those bills that pass the legislature, and democratic efforts to write laws blocked by Republican legislative leaders. Democrats can write all the bills they want, but they won’t get anywhere if those who control the legislative agenda won’t even grant them a hearing. We can do better. It shouldn’t matter who came up with an idea if it is worthy of debate. Lawmakers shouldn’t refuse to vote on or block hearings on bills just because the author is a member of the other party. We won’t always agree on the best solution for the state’s problems, but we should at least be willing to discuss them.

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