Saturday, December 26, 2015


By Jeff Simpson

I recently went to the Capitol to testify against the latest Republican attempt to eliminate local control and control our lives via #ALEC.

This was my first time ever testifying at the Capitol and after some reflection, I have a few thoughts about it.

The committee I testified in front of was the Assembly Committee on Education. The committee consist of:

The Bill I testified against was AB481:

Relating to: limitations on borrowing by school districts and the use by school districts of resolutions and referenda to authorize bonding for capital projects or increase revenue limits and scheduling of school district referendums to exceed revenue limits.

My thoughts:

1.  By the time I arrived(I was the last to testify) many in the committee were not even there.  The ones who were there were perpetually leaving and coming back, in mid speaker, and talking amongst themselves.  

It seems to me that it defeats the purpose of having "experts" and the public take time out pf their day to testify on a bill, when the committee hearing your testimony is not really interested.    I wonder if they would get up and leave during an ALEC convention or if Scott Jensen was in their office, giving them their to do lists? 

I also find it ironic on a bill where they are claiming to protect the taxpayers, they are not really interested in hearing from taxpayers.   

2.  In the interest of full disclosure, Rep. Sinicki sent me a message apologizing for missing my testimony and the reason why.   While I do not think any rep owes me a personal apology or excuse(although I did appreciate it), I do think that every member of the committee should have a public notice of WHY they are not there during testimony of a bill.   They owe the State of Wisconsin the ability to listen to every aspect of an important bill like this before blindly passing/voting down on partisan lines.  

3.  When I arrived, a staffer had arrived before me handing Rep. Jagler a bag from Subway with a 6nch sandwich and chips.   While it is nice that he uses his taxpayer paid staff to serve him lunch,  what was even more telling was the profit in that sub sandwich.   

A subway 6" value meal is $6.00 at most Subway's.   From John Jagler's home town of Watertown, WI to the State Capitol is 27 miles, which at 20 MPG is approximately a gallon and a half of gas (Approximately $3.00 in gas).    For those scoring at home that is $9.00 and change.
Rep. Jagler after the last election was part of the Assembly that voted themselves a 133% increase in daily pay.   

The Assembly is planning to increase the amount members can collect for overnight stays in Madison from $88 to $138.
It would be the first such increase since 2001, when an Assembly committee set the rate for what is known as a per Diem at $88 for lawmakers outside Dane County and $44 for Dane County lawmakers.
Per Diem's are a fixed amount meant to cover food and lodging costs while lawmakers are in Madison doing state business.
That is a profit of $128  Wisconsin taxpayer dollars to sit and occasionally listen to the taxpayers and citizens of WI give their opinions on major bills.  No wonder they needed a raise, a $78 daily profit just was not cutting it.

3.   I also find it ironic that a group of legislators who continually stick bad policy items in the budget(despite promising they would never do that), now are trying to make it illegal that school spending referendums are allowed to be voted on by the public.  

4.   Has anyone ever changed their mind based on public testimony by someone who was not a major campaign donor?

5.  In my time there. listening to people testify and listening to everyone who signed up for/or against the bill and it was overwhelmingly against.  There was only one person who registered FOR the bill and he did not testify.   It was Eric Bott.  

What were some of your experiences testifying?


  1. I testified three times, twice regarding AB1 and SB1 and once regarding the 20 week abortion ban. I was interrupted repeatedly by two chairs. I had to remind Sen. Vukmir that I pay her salary, and she works for me. At the AB1 hearing, I waited close to 9 hours in a chilly room. Many others who would have testified had to leave before their turn. But, Scott Jensen representing education-for-profit was given an hour to talk as were the sponsors of the bill. These "public" hearings have become a joke as are the emails and phone calls from constituents. We are irrelevant to the WI GOP. It's up to us to let the rest of the state know it. See

  2. back o nthe first day of testimony on act ten, the repubs “reserved” about 20 seats with tape (supposed to be first come first serve) and then had those filled with people they brought on a bus-those people then testified out of order, and one after another in favor of act ten in order, it would seem to manufacture consent, despot the hundreds of people there to testify against act ten. Voss was presiding and when confronted with this obviously deceitful and possible illegal breach of protocol, he basically said he could do anything he wanted. Which I guess is kind of true. Mussolini was the same way, lol.

  3. If we only had a newspaper in Wisconsin to share this corruption with the taxpayers we could make a positive change.

  4. Scott Jensen wasn't at my hearing unfortunately, I wAnted a selfie with him. He has threatened to sue me enough that I should meet him