At the Town Hall meeting at the Wauwatosa library March 7, state Sen. Leah Vukmir stated that "collective bargaining is not being taken away" from public employee unions by Scott Walker's budget repair plan. As those of us in the room knew, that was at best a dishonest statement. Walker's plan contains provisions to eliminate all collective bargaining rights, with the exception of limited bargaining over wages. Off the table would be negotiations over benefits, safety, grievance procedures, scheduling, working conditions or any other issue covered in public employee contracts. This would prohibit teachers from having a right to a voice on issues with class size or curriculum.
On another matter, also March 7, The Capital Times newspaper reported that Vukmir co-authored legislation "that would allow insurance policies in the state to ignore state mandates requiring coverage for a broad variety of medical treatments and conditions, including autism, cochlear implants and mental health problems." The article goes on to say that this would include mandates "which touch on more than a dozen different conditions and procedures … from mammograms, kidney disease and breast reconstruction to contraceptives, child immunizations and diabetes."
The article continues, " 'I am appalled at the cruelty of this legislation,' says Nissan Bar-Lev, the president of the Autism Society of Wisconsin … 'This particular legislation must be good for insurance companies, but it is going to be devastating for families who need help the most.' "
I am amazed that Vukmir, as a pediatric nurse practitioner, can justify this kind of legislation.
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