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Issue of the Week: Republican Senators Grothman and Ellis Fight Hard to do the Right Thing

May. 30, 2013
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Sen. Glenn Grothman
This hasn't been an easy budget season for progressive Wisconsinites who care about protecting the state's safety net, improving public education and ensuring that Milwaukee gets a fair shake. Likewise, we're sure that it hasn't been an easy budget season for independent-minded Republicans, since they're being asked to follow a very powerful and uncompromising governor who isn't always putting the needs of Wisconsin ahead of his personal political ambitions.

That's why we are applauding state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah), who led the charge against Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to gut consumer protections in the rent-to-own industry. Walker's idea was a terrible one and would have vastly boosted the industry's profits at the expense of the poor. Walker's proposal was so terrible that it would have allowed rent-to-own contracts to leave blank spaces that would be filled in after the document was signed. Desperate individuals would essentially be signing a blank check.

Thankfully, Grothman was able to persuade the Republican majority on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee to delete that provision in the budget. Grothman has a history of joining with Democrats in battling rent-to-own operations and payday lenders, two industries that take advantage of the state's poorest and most desperate residents, and Ellis is working to improve public education funding by rewriting Walker's proposal to flat-fund state schools. We hope that Senators Grothman and Ellis—and more independent Republicans—continue to be guided by their conscience, not their governor.


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