Sunday, February 19, 2012

The "Restoring Integrity" Ethics Package

The Assembly Democrats have announced a package of new legislation to restore integrity into the State Capitol:
Today, Assembly Democrats announced “Restoring Integrity,” a package of ethics legislation designed to reverse the worst power abuses of Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans and restore integrity to all branches of Wisconsin government.

The Democratic ethics package consists of four parts. The first part addresses the cronyism that has run rampant under the Walker Administration and the scandals and corruption that continue to unfold.

“The secrecy of Gov. Walker and Republican leaders and the scandal surrounding them have left Wisconsin’s reputation for open government in tatters,” Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said. “Our proposal would ensure public employees are serving the taxpayers of Wisconsin, not simply the politician who appointed them.”

The second part of the Democratic package is aimed at reducing the influence of corporate and special-interest money in state government.

“The dark cloud of secrecy and scandal hanging over our state under Gov. Walker is polarizing our state and damaging Wisconsin’s proud tradition of clean and open government,” Assistant Democratic Leader Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) said. “While Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans continually choose to reward special interests and big corporate donors, we are serious about working to restore the public’s trust and faith in government through common-sense reforms that put Wisconsin families before special-interest money.”

The third part of the Democratic package includes comprehensive reforms that will restore fairness, impartiality and public trust in Wisconsin’s courts.

“Out-of-control campaign spending along with several prominent recusal and discipline cases in recent years have demonstrated the need for reforming Wisconsin’s judicial discipline and recusal standards,” Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) said. “Reforms that promote transparency and accountability are necessary to regain the public’s trust in the impartiality and fairness of our state’s justice system, which has been greatly undermined in recent years."

The fourth part of the Democratic package is designed to re-establish Wisconsin’s reputation for open government, including requiring the legislature to follow the Open Meetings Law.

“Now more than ever citizens have serious questions about what’s going on at the State Capitol. The response by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans has been to close government down to the public,” Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) said. “From voting on divisive bills with little public notice to signing secrecy oaths and drawing partisan election maps in private law firms, Republicans have tarnished Wisconsin’s proud history of open government in just one year. Today we are offering serious reforms to re-open the doors of government to the people of Wisconsin.”

A summary sheet of the bills can be found by clicking here.

Representative Sandy Pasch also spoke of this in the Democratic Weekly Radio Address. The text of her comments can be found by clicking here.

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