A seven-person panel Monday night weighed political reform issues like special interest money and the controversial voter ID bill, which a Senate committee will hear today.
The panel, made up of University of Wisconsin professors, a former Madison representative, two journalists, Common Cause in Wisconsin Director Jay Heck and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton – one of the 14 missing Democratic senators communicating via speakerphone from an undisclosed location – talked about a myriad of political reform topics.
The panel, sponsored by CCW, heavily discussed the voter ID bill and the moderator, UW political science professor Barry Burden, said a Senate committee would be hearing the bill today and possibly scheduling it for a vote on the Senate floor. He said the bill could have changed from the last hearing two weeks ago, but expected it to not include many provisions that previous incarnations of the voter ID bill have had over the years.
“It’s not going to allow for a lot of the things previous versions of the bill allowed, like student IDs from public universities, let alone private [IDs,]” Burden said. “It doesn’t allow for passports, the most secure form of ID we have.”
Burden added the bill might be found unconstitutional for not allowing those forms of ID.
Erpenbach discussed campaign finance reform and previous failures of protective legislation.
“You see money coming in from all over the place, some disclosed some not disclosed, and the airways get saturated by it,” Erpenbach said. “I’m not bothered by it, but I would like to know where the money is coming from. We had a chance last session with a majority and supportive governor’s office, but we really dropped the ball.”
He added with the Legislature currently controlled by Republicans, campaign finance would not be an issue brought to the floor. Erpenbach said campaign finance should not be an “us versus them” scenario because most people agree they want to know where the money that finances candidates is coming from.
Erpenbach said political positions would start to be filled by wealthy individuals who tend to have more luck winning an office.