Madison, Wis. – Senate Labor and Government Reform Committee Chair Sen. Steve Nass plans to recess a committee hearing Tuesday on the controversial Republican effort to gut state civil service anti-corruption protections for a two hour plus break over the lunch hour. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted Nass’ plan as a sleazy ploy to limit opposition to the GOP’s latest effort to pack state government with more political cronies.
“Steve Nass is serving up a heaping plate of shut up to government workers who might be concerned about being subjected to improper political pressure to keep their jobs,” commented Ross. “He’s recessing his committee for over two hours when the state workers being targeted by the latest GOP scheme could testify about what stripping civil service protections would mean.”
According to the notice for a public hearing on Senate Bill 285, the committee will recess from 11:50 am until 2:15 pm, the times during which the vast majority of state workers in the Madison area would be able to attend the committee meeting on their lunch break. In addition Nass has indicated the hearing could end at 6pm, further limiting the ability of state workers and other citizens with day jobs to weigh in.
Previously Nass abruptly ended a public hearing on the wrong for Wisconsin right to work law, preventing many opponent of the bill who had waited all day their chance to have their voice heard, citing a “credible threat.” It was subsequently revealed the “threat” of which Nass was fearful was a plan by opponents of the bill to request that the hearing be extended beyond the announced stop time to allow all who wanted to testify in front of the committee the opportunity to do so.
Ross pointed to the example of Gov. Walker’s scandal plagued Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), where protections were stripped from employees, as an example of the consequences of the current effort to undermine Wisconsin’s civil service laws. In addition to rank incompetence of Walker’s WEDC, research from One Wisconsin Institute found that sixty percent of the assistance doled out by the agency went to businesses whose owners and employees contributed to Gov. Walker’s campaigns.
“The Republican’s scheme to eviscerate anti-corruption laws in Wisconsin is a flat out bad idea. And Sen. Nass’ stunt to try to keep the very people most impacted by he and his fellow Republican’s scheme to pack government with more partisan hacks is cheap and cowardly,” concluded Ross.