Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wisconsin State Representative Zamarripa Called On Governor Walker To Veto Partisan Redistricting SB 148 Bill

Partisan state redistricting bill prevents the Hispanic community from getting more than one majority voting-age District.

By H. Nelson Goodson
July 21, 2011

Madison - On Wednesday, State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milw.) called on Governor Scott Walker (R) to veto partisan redistricting Senate Bill 148 (SB 148), which the Republican controlled legislature passed. The bill creates majority Republican Districts and disenfranchised the Hispanic community in the state by preventing more than one majority Latino voting-age Districts.
If Governor Walker signs SB 148 into law, Democrats and members of the Hispanic community are planning to file additional federal lawsuits claiming the Republicans violated the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. In June, Democrats had filed a federal lawsuit claiming Republican legislators illegally cut Districts. They amended the lawsuit claiming the state redistricting maps were unconstitutional and violated the Voting Rights Act.
The newly approved Republican SB 148 maps shows at least six Assembly seats, instead of seven seats for the African-American community and multiple Native American tribes were split into two Districts, which the tribes were within one District each.
Every ten years, legislators and public officials have to redraw District lines to meet the voting-age of the population growth recorded by the U.S. Census. Minorities would have to be given the opportunity to have majority Districts. The newly approved redistricting maps take effect on 2012.
The City of Milwaukee recently approved two majority Hispanic voting-age Districts, which were the 8th and 12th Aldermanic Districts. With the SB 148 passage, the Milwaukee Common Council would have to scrap the two Hispanic Districts and might only get to approve one, if Governor Walker signs the bill into law.
Last week, Governor Walker was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he is now willing to work with Democrats in the legislature. Walker is expecting a recall once he completes one year in office for ending bargaining collective rights for most state employees and cutting $800 million of aid from the state public schools system.
In a press release, Representative Zamarripa blasted the process that the GOP employed to rush the bill through the Legislature. "Seven days ago only one hearing was held on this massive plan that impacts every single citizen of our great state," said Zamarripa, "The GOP leadership allowed virtually no public input and passed this plan through both houses of the Legislature only one week after the public hearing."
Zamarripa expressed outrage that the Latino community in Milwaukee was cut out of the process. "In order to satisfy their own thirst for a partisan monopoly, the majority party has thrown Wisconsin’s growing Latino community under the bus," said Zamarripa.
"On Saturday, it was reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Governor Walker wanted to work with Democrats," said Zamarripa. "A veto of the blatantly partisan SB 148 is an excellent starting point, if the Governor is serious about working with Democrats."
In other state legislature news, the Wisconsin Republican State Assembly adopted an amendment to prevent people from getting unemployment benefits in the 1st week they are unemployed. On Thursday, the Assembly bill was passed with the amendment and then it was stalled in the Senate.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 30-3 to rejected holding one week from those unemployed and passed their version of the unemployment bill.
Both the Senate and Assembly passed slightly different versions of the bill, which automatically stops the bill from moving forward. The bills have to be compatiable before the extended benefits bill for the unemployed is passed. The Senate will take up the issue once again next week.

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