Gov. Walker quietly signs several controversial bills into law

Posted on April 6, 2012

Dane101, April 6, 2012 by Emily Mills

There were no ceremonies with pleased onlookers and throngs of press for the dozens of bills Gov. Scott Walker signed into law late last night.

Among them were four highly controversial measures focused on women’s health care and sexual education:

A repeal of the state’s Equal Pay law, which allowed victim’s of wage discrimination to collect damages of between $50,000 and $300,000, and a repeal of the Healthy Youth Act, which had provided requirements to schools that comprehensive and scientifically accurate information about everything from abstinence to contraception be taught at an age-appropriate level.

Walker also signed into law a ban on abortion coverage through policies as part of a health insurance exchange to be created under the federal health care reform law starting in 2014 (the only exceptions would be in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity); and a bill requiring women seeking abortions to undergo a physical exam and consult with a doctor alone, away from her friends and family, in order to make sure she isn’t “being pressured into the decision.” Doctors who break the law could be charged with a felony.

According to the AP, “Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie, said it was simpler to lump all the bills signed over the two days into one announcement.”

“The reason that Governor Walker signed these anti-women bills in the dark of the night, without public notice, before a holiday weekend, is that he is banking on the fact that women are NOT watching and women will not vote on June 5. In fact, he is betting his job on it,” said Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

Several prominent Democratic leaders also fired off scathing critiques in response to the signings, including gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Falk.

Rep. Christine Sinicki and a list of lawmakers released the following statement:

By signing these bills into law, Gov. Walker has opened up another front in the Republican war on women. The governor has made it clear that he believes women do not deserve equal pay for equal work, that women cannot be trusted to make their own health care decisions and that the government should be dictating the curriculum to local school districts.

Posted in: Wisconsin