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What is the point of a special session if they don’t even have to vote?

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In an effort to reduce gun violence, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has called a special session of the legislature to take up two gun control bills. To say it was met with a frosty reception from the Republican controlled legislature would be an understatement. Senator Tom Tiffany dismissed the Governor’s calls for action on two gun related measures as a “political stunt” while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Evers’ action shows the Governor “stands ready to confiscate guns in our state.” How is working to reduce senseless violence a political stunt? If we shouldn’t take action when people continue to die in mass murders across the country, when should we act? Evers is calling on lawmakers to approve two bills, one of which would require background checks for all gun purchases, not just those at licensed dealers. The second would adopt a so-called Red Flag law, which would allow for a court hearing to determine if someone who is making threats to harm themselves or others should have their weapons temporarily taken away. The Legislature will convene on November 7 in a special session, but not only may there not be a vote on the bills, there may not even be any debate. The executive order the Governor issued calling for the special session does not include a requirement that lawmakers actually vote on the bills. What is the point of a special session if it only leads to more political grandstanding? Our lawmakers should at least have the courage to discuss this important issue and to go on record voting yes or no.

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