The Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Assembly is refusing to allow a paralyzed legislator call into meetings so he can adequately do his job.
Rep. Jimmy Anderson has a hard time getting to some of his meetings because, well, he’s paralyzed, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has cited existing legislative rules to refuse Anderson’s request to attend those meetings via phone.
To call this cartoonishly evil would be an insult to Snidely Whiplash.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever had to ask for simple dignities, right?” he said. “It’s a frustrating thing to have to ask just to be included in the process.”
Vos, of Rochester, noted lawmakers have accommodated his needs in other ways, such as by providing him with a computer that has voice recognition software. But Vos said he was unwilling to change the rule that requires representatives to show up at committee meetings in person.
“It just comes down to the fact that I think it’s disrespectful for someone to be asking questions over a microphone or a speakerphone when individuals are actually taking the time out of their day to come and testify in person,” Vos said.
Know what else is disrespectful? Refusing to accommodate a duly elected representative who’s paralyzed!
Of course, Vos and his crew have used every trick in the book to consolidate power, going as far as stripping newly elected Gov. Tony Evers of his powers before he took office. And Wisconsin is gerrymandered beyond belief in — you guessed it — Republicans’ favor.
Anderson was paralyzed in 2010 after a drunk driver hit the car he was in, killing his parents and brother and leaving him a paraplegic. He says he’s considering suing to secure his right to attend meetings remotely.
Jeff Hynes, an employment lawyer The Journal Sentinel interviewed, said this should be an easy decision for Vos and his merry band of assholes.
“In the typical workplace this would be a no-brainer,” Hynes said. “They would be foolish not to give serious consideration to this simple accommodation of this individual being able to participate by phone.
“If the Legislature takes a hard line and gets essentially the public wrapped up in a big fat lawsuit, they’re going to run the risk of taxpayers picking up the bill.”
Don’t worry, Mr. Hynes. Republicans are only against spending money to help marginalized people. For this they may very well break the bank.
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