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As I See It

Wisconsin Legislature still hasn’t taken that promised second step

Scott Robert Shaw

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There is plenty going on in the world today. A raging pandemic, a ravaged economy, racial injustice, police reform and more. But you wouldn’t know it based on the schedule of the Wisconsin Legislature. The Wisconsin Legislature has met just once since the pandemic began, a meeting in mid-April when lawmakers approved a coronavirus relief package. It was labeled at the time as a good first step. But now, 100 days later, lawmakers have not gathered in Madison to take a second step. And it does not appear there is any momentum to bring state representatives back into session, perhaps for the rest of 2020. Since lawmakers took their only action, coronavirus cases have surged, from barely 3000 at the time to more than 50,000 today. Unemployment remains high, but our elected officials continue to sit on their hands. In an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald said we should not expect the Legislature to reconvene at all this summer because “nothing has risen to that level.” Then what will it take? There is plenty our lawmakers could do, including providing guidance on staying safe, making sure those struggling to pay their bills don’t get evicted, reducing the backlog of unemployment claims and helping small businesses stay afloat. But apparently none of that has risen to the level that captures the attention of our esteemed elected officials.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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