Staff editorial (April 12, 2012)
Last Thursday, Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed 51 bills on Thursday and announced the list of bills on Friday. Among them are three controversial bills that limit access to abortion services stress, abstinence-only sex education and repeal the state’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to take it to court.
It’s a seemingly strange move to sign this many bills on the eve of a holiday weekend, but decidedly the editorial board felt that this was a pretty typical move on the part of the Walker administration. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior has come to be expected, even if it is altogether sneaky and shady.
But this points to something larger. Obviously, it appears that Scott Walker is afraid of the recall effort and the upcoming election on June 5.
This sort of action almost proves that Walker almost knows the recall is going to happen, so he is merely enacting a bunch of legislation that will be hard to undo if one his opponent is elected. He’s scrambling.
The Senate and the House are still both Republican controlled, so undoing this legislation will definitely prove difficult even if Walker is recalled.
The words “war on women” have been used lately to describe the current trend of Republican legislators enacting bills that would hinder the rights of women to have abortions, and to some members of the editorial board, these acts, in general and Walker’s specifically, seemed very backwards.
Some members of the editorial board said that this strange action could be explained by Scott Walker wanting to boost his reputation among far-leaning Republicans so even if he gets recalled, that will still be intact.
Others said that this is Walker just taking things a notch further and further to the right, springing controversy in its wake, because if the Walker administration has been anything, it’s been controversial.
The point is, these three policies specifically are very intense, very specific, very social issues that a lot of people disagree on, but they seem very impractical. Walker didn’t give a good explanation as to why he’s denying these rights and why he’s taking these things away, so it seems very fishy and impractical to do it all at once.
Perhaps one of the most puzzling is his repeal of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act and some members of the editorial board said it infringes on civil rights. With the law revoked, victims of wage discrimination can’t be awarded damages in lawsuits. This means that now, there is effectively no standing punishment for wage discrimination.
The groupings of these 51 bills together make Scott Walker look terrible. With no good explanation we’re left looking at his whole administration as being sneaky, shady and going out of their way to push extremely conservative agendas on the entire state.
It’s one thing to vote bills into law and explain it and own up to it, but by doing it in the shadow of a holiday weekend, quietly, unannounced, and all at once, Scott Walker looks like he’s marginalizing people for the sake of marginalizing them, and we can’t have somebody governing our state that does this.