clearn.png
Friday October 18th, 2019 8:27PM

Wisconsin GOP to let disabled Democratic lawmaker call in

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A paralyzed Wisconsin lawmaker would be allowed to call into committee meetings he can't attend in person under rule changes Republicans unveiled Tuesday that are designed to meet demands the Democrat made nearly a year ago.

But Rep. Jimmy Anderson, who is paralyzed from the waist down, objected to the proposal, saying excluding him from development of the accommodations was "offensive, disappointing and frankly really frustrating." Democrats also objected to Republicans tying the proposed accommodations to other rule changes affecting debate and voting in the Assembly.

"I don't know why these are all being mixed together," Anderson said.

Republicans provided Democrats and Anderson the rule changes on Tuesday afternoon. The full Assembly will vote on them Thursday.

"This is really breaking new ground with accommodations for someone who is permanently disabled," Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said. "We're setting standards I think can be duplicated in statehouses across the country."

Anderson uses a wheelchair and says he is reliant on a home health assistant who is not always available at the time needed. He first asked in January to be able to call into meetings he couldn't make and for assurances that the Assembly would not be in session late at night, or overnight.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos initially refused to grant Anderson's request, saying it was disrespectful to those who attended meetings in person.

The fight became so bitter, Vos accused Anderson of "political grandstanding" and in August said Anderson went public with his requests to undermine the GOP legislator's taking over as head of a national organization. Anderson responded by calling the Vos claims "sad," ''ridiculous" and "myopic."

Anderson, 33, was paralyzed from the waist down after a drunken driver in 2010 smashed into a vehicle he was in, killing his parents and brother. He was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2018. Anderson has said that GOP leaders did not accommodate his needs when they held an overnight lame-duck legislative session in December on legislation to curb the power of incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

An attorney with Disability Rights Wisconsin, after being retained by Anderson, sent the Republican leader Vos a letter on Sept. 18 renewing Anderson's request for accommodations. That letter accused Vos of being in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Anderson said Tuesday that he didn't know if that letter spurred Republicans to act, but he is still considering filing a lawsuit.

Under the rule change, anyone certified by the Legislature's human resources department as having a permanent disability, and approved by the Republican and Democratic leaders, could participate in Assembly committee meetings and executive session votes by phone. They would have to give at least two hours' notice.

Anderson objected to the two hours' notice, saying he sometimes doesn't know that far in advance that he will miss a meeting. He lives in Fitchburg, a suburb of Madison about eight miles from the Capitol.

"It's because Speaker Vos doesn't understand my particular needs as a disabled person that he's trying to come up with rules on the fly," Anderson said. "Without taking me into consideration means these rules aren't going to be exactly what I need."

Another rule change would allow the Assembly's rules committee to set time limits on debate. That would be a way to give certainty on debate length and prevent overnight sessions, Steineke said.

Rules in other statehouses across the country vary, with most states having a similar in-person requirement as the Wisconsin Assembly. Exceptions include Alaska, the largest state by square miles, where lawmakers can phone into committee meetings for any reason. New Hampshire makes exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

No other state has similar accommodations for lawmakers with disabilities, Steineke said. The Wisconsin Senate allows for any lawmaker, for any reason, to participate in committee meetings by phone.

Democrats also said Republicans were trying to bury a "wish list" of other rule changes, including allowing for multiple veto override votes, by including them with the disability accommodations.

"I think it's disgusting," said Democratic Rep. Mark Spreitzer.

___

Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAP

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Melania Trump breaks ground on White House tennis pavilion
Melania Trump has announced construction of a White House tennis pavilion
6:46PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Railroads to renew push for one-man crews in contract talks
The biggest U.S. freight railroads appear ready to renew their push to reduce their crews to 1 person from the current 2-man operation used at major railroads now
6:32PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Lawsuits around US seek to block Trump's public charge rule
Federal judges around the country are being asked to block a new Trump administration policy scheduled to take effect next week that would deny legal permanent residency to many immigrants over the use of public benefits
6:27PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump declares it in writing: He won't cooperate in probe
If there was any doubt: White House tells Congress there will be no cooperation in impeachment probe
6:08PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Couple get month sentence in college bribery scandal
A business executive and his wife have been sentenced to a month each in prison for paying $125,000 to rig their daughter's college entrance exams
6:05PM ( 56 minutes ago )
With China rift ongoing, NBA says free speech remains vital
'We will have to live with those consequences': Silver insists NBA will honor freedom of speech as rift with China grows
5:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Aging Holocaust survivors try to sue over Nazi-era insurance
Holocaust survivors seek access to U.S. courts over billions of dollars in insurance policies that were never honored by Nazi-era companies
5:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Wisconsin GOP to let disabled Democratic lawmaker call in
A paralyzed Wisconsin lawmaker would be allowed to call into committee meetings he can't attend in person under rule changes Republicans unveiled that are designed to meet demands the Democrat made nearly a year ago
4:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
Jury convicts New York bomb-planter in shootout with police
A New Jersey man already serving life for planting bombs in New York City has been convicted of attempted murder and assault stemming from a shootout with police
2:51PM ( 4 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
The Latest: White House says it won't comply with inquiry
The White House has notified the House that the Trump administration will not participate in what it is calling Democrats' "illegitimate" impeachment probe
5:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK says chances of Brexit deal slim; EU chides 'blame game'
Britain and the European Union are trading ill-tempered barbs, and the U.K. says a Brexit deal might be impossible, with just over three weeks until its scheduled departure from the bloc
4:58PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump shifts tone on Turkey in effort to halt Syria invasion
President Donald Trump has moved from threatening to obliterate Turkey's economy if it invades Syria to inviting its president to visit the White House
3:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Italian lawmakers back overhaul to reduce their seats
Italy's parliament approved on Tuesday to slash the number of lawmakers, a constitutional overhaul that has been strongly advocated by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement
2:09PM ( 4 hours ago )
Supreme Court weighs LGBT people's rights
A seemingly divided Supreme Court struggled Tuesday over whether a landmark civil rights laws protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment
1:37PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Classified briefing on Syria set for Hill staff
The Trump administration will hold a classified briefing on Syria for House and Senate staff Tuesday afternoon, according to congressional aide familiar with the meeting
1:26PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Protesters move into Ecuador's capital; president moves out
Thousands of indigenous people have converged on Ecuador's capital as anti-government protests and clashes led the president to move his besieged administration out of Quito
5:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
Analysts say 23-day UAW strike cost GM 165,000 vehicles
The 23-day strike by auto workers at General Motors has cost the company production of 165,000 cars and trucks and has passed the point where the GM can make up lost volume, according to outside analysts
5:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pac-12 players, coaches briefed on California likeness law
Coaches and men's basketball players from the Pac-12 Conference have been briefed at media day about a new California law that would allow student-athletes to profit from the use of their image, name or likeness when it goes into effect in 2023
5:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Protesters move into Ecuador's capital; president moves out
Thousands of indigenous people have converged on Ecuador's capital as anti-government protests and clashes led the president to move his besieged administration out of Quito
6:48PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Melania Trump breaks ground on White House tennis pavilion
Melania Trump has announced construction of a White House tennis pavilion
6:46PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Railroads to renew push for one-man crews in contract talks
The biggest U.S. freight railroads appear ready to renew their push to reduce their crews to 1 person from the current 2-man operation used at major railroads now
6:32PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Lawsuits around US seek to block Trump's public charge rule
Federal judges around the country are being asked to block a new Trump administration policy scheduled to take effect next week that would deny legal permanent residency to many immigrants over the use of public benefits
6:27PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Yankees hope rested relievers key to postseason success
Yankees hope rested relievers key to postseason success
6:25PM ( 38 minutes ago )