Boots & Sabers

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2202, 01 Aug 19

Vos Grapples with Paralyzed Representative

Interesting points.

The Republican leader of the state Assembly said he won’t let a Democratic lawmaker who’s paralyzed from the chest down call into meetings and slammed him for “political grandstanding” on the issue.

But Speaker Robin Vos wrote in a letter to Rep. Jimmy Anderson Thursday he would seek to make a videographer available for public committee hearings and consider letting members vote via paper ballot rather than in-person.

Anderson, of Fitchburg, has sought to be able to phone into committee gatherings, though chamber rules prohibit the practice, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this week. Vos, R-Rochester, told the publication he didn’t want to change Assembly policy in that arena.

In his letter, Vos wrote he has “always been opposed to a call-in option” for committee hearings because they tend to result in “disruptive, ineffective meetings,” and it is disrespectful for other attendees who come to give in-person testimony.

Vos’ letter also called out Anderson for “political grandstanding” on the issue by going to the media rather than taking his request for phone accommodations to his office, committee leadership and others.

Let’s be clear… Anderson is grandstanding. He voted for the Assembly rules to disallow people from phoning into hearings. That being clear, the issue itself poses some interesting questions.

In our modern age, private businesses have been using audio and video collaboration technology for years. The Assembly could certainly do the same thing. The question is, should they? A legislative body is not the same as a private business. Are the people denied access to their elected officials if the elected official is not physically there? Can an elected official properly hear from the citizens who attend a meeting when they aren’t there? Can the elected official see the body language of the audience, clearly hear what the people are saying? Is there a duty for the elected official to be there to be available in the hall before and after the meeting, look a constituent in the eye, etc.?

Other elected bodies in Wisconsin already allow elected officials to attend meetings remotely. In West Bend, one of the school board members regularly attends meetings remotely. Is it right? Maybe. For the people who try to grab a minute with their elected official after the meeting, it doesn’t work.

I lean on the side of Vos on this one. While remote attendance is acceptable in a business setting, the people have a right to have access to their elected officials. And if people are permitted to attend remotely for health reasons, that opens the door to people abusing the process and hiding from heated meetings.


2202, 01 August 2019


  1. Mar

    I’m on the side of His. The question should be can this Assemblyman make it to the Capitol and of course, the answer is yes. If he was bedridden,on his deathbed, maybe, but he’s not.
    There is no reason why this Assemblyman cannot make it to the Capitol and to the meetings.

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    Gerrymandering isn’t enough, now vos has to discriminate against a duly elected member of the legislature. Awful, just awful. Any probably illegal.

  3. Mar

    No, it’s not illegal, Le Roi. Not is it discrimination.
    Did Sanderson run his campaign from home or did he go out and shake hands and to dinners?
    Unless the chamber is not wheelchair accessible, there is no discrimination. And the guy didn’t provide a doctor’s excuse either.

  4. dad29

    Mar, sometimes I think that LeRoy is about 12 years old.

  5. Le Roi du Nord

    But, but, but,….   the legislature makes special provisions for a legally blind assemblyman from the Green Bay area,…..  but that is different, cuz he is an R.

  6. Jason

    But but but, you said Discrimination and Illegal…. and as we all know from your unhealthy obsession with every letter that comes from Kevin’s keyboard… “words have meaning” and “you’re entitled to your opinion but you cannot impose your opinion as fact”.

    You do act like a 12 year old, Dad is stating a fact.

  7. Le Roi du Nord

    Discrimination, you bet. Legality will be determined by the courts if necessary . But once again the pettiness and hypocrisy of vos is stunning

  8. Jason

    >Discrimination, you bet. Legality will be determined by the courts if necessary


    >But once again the pettiness and hypocrisy of vos is stunning

    A far cry less than yours, LeRoy.

  9. Mark Hoefert

    @Leroy: “But, but, but,….   the legislature makes special provisions for a legally blind assemblyman from the Green Bay area,…..  but that is different, cuz he is an R.”

    Read the first link, moron, and you will see a list of the accommodations already provided to this person, who happens to be a DEMOCRAT.

  10. Mark Hoefert

    Yeah, look at what those evil Republicans did to this disabled DEMOCRAT”, Leroy. OMG, such inhumanity on display.

    “…the other accommodations the Legislature has provided to Anderson since he joined the chamber in January 2017, including the purchase of a digital wireless microphone for floor periods, the installation of special voting equipment and allowing Anderson’s personal care worker to access the Capitol. “

  11. Jason

    LeRoy has more lies in this year than his President!

  12. Mar

    Le Roi, what accomodations are you talking about, that were given to Rep. Steffen, who is legally blind? You mean the accomodation of providing a driver TO get him to the Capitol?
    Is there another accomodation that allowed to stay in Green Bay and phone it in?
    Or are you just lying again?

  13. Le Roi du Nord

    Yup, you finally did some homework.  No lies here.  But it was OK to provide a driver for Steffens, but not for Anderson to call in.  Who knows (maybe you do) if Steffens is allowed to call in.

    The point is that accommodations were made at taxpayer expense for Steffens.  And I am fine with that.  But vos, and now all of the peanut gallery here are being petty and vindictive about the Anderson situation. If that is the way you folks want to be that’s fine with me.  And nobody will be surprised.

  14. Jason

    You’re really showing off your stupid on this one Leroy, and you’re right, no one is surprised by it.

  15. Mark Hoefert

    you finally did some homework

    You act like you are the “teacher” assigning homework.  Actually my statement (with backup) was more in line with attempting to educate a 12-year old.  Obviously your attempt at “gotcha” demonstrated no command of the subject.  Teachers must have command of a topic in order to assign homework – it is not up to the students to “educate” the teacher.

    If you did indeed know that your statement was not true, you would be guilty of trolling, something of which Owen could use as a basis to ban you from his blog.  But I really think you were sincere – you did not have a clue as to the stupidity of your statement implying that someone got reasonable accommodations merely because he was a Republican.

  16. Mar

    Le Roi, do I need to point out your other lies? Do you really want me to point out your trolling?
    Oh wait, Mark already pointed them out and you are still here lying and playing dumb, though, that must not be to hard for you to do.

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