News Column

Lawmakers Want to Charge Feds Who Implement Obamacare

Nov. 13, 2012

Patrick Marley

As Gov. Scott Walker contemplates whether to create a state health care exchange under Obamacare, he must contend with nine members of his own party who will serve in the Legislature for the next two years who say they back a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law.

Eight of the nine Republicans also have gone on record saying they also want to write a law that would see Transportation Security Administration agents charged with sexual assault if they conduct pat-downs of passengers going through airport security.

All nine also told a tea party-aligned group they backed passing so-called "right-to-work" legislation; allowing people to carry guns without having to get permits from the state; allowing people to buy raw, or unpasteurized, milk; and blocking state funding for the federal Real ID law that requires states to develop more secure driver's licenses.

But their stance on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, could cause the most fireworks in the upcoming session. Walker must decide by Friday whether the state will create a health care exchange under the health care law or leave those duties to President Barack Obama's administration.

Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) is one of the nine from Wisconsin who told the Campaign for Liberty he would back legislation to arrest federal officials who took steps to implement Obamacare in Wisconsin. He said he believes the health care law is unconstitutional, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the passes constitutional muster.

"Just because Obama was re-elected does not mean he's above the constitution," he said.

In addition to Kapenga, those listed as supporting the Campaign for Liberty's positions are Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin; Reps. Don Pridemore of Hartford; Erik Severson of Star Prairie; Tom Larson of Colfax; Scott Krug of Wisconsin Rapids; and three Republicans elected for the first time last week who will be sworn in early next year -- Rob Hutton of Brookfield, Mark Born of Beaver Dam and Dave Murphy of Greenville.

Severson told the group he did not support the legislation on TSA pat-downs, but backed the other measures. The other current and newly elected lawmakers said they supported the entire agenda the Campaign for Liberty, according to the group's website.

Born acknowledged supporting some of the ideas but backed away from others. He said he did not think he filled out the survey, but couldn't be certain, saying he had answered many questionnaires during the campaign.

Nonetheless, Todd Welch, the Campaign for Liberty's state coordinator in Wisconsin, said he believed the group had accurately summarized how Born and other respondents answered the group's seven yes-or-no questions.

Born said he opposed Obamacare but did not recall ever backing charging federal authorities with crimes for implementing it. He said he told a Mayville tea party group earlier this year that the state had to follow federal laws, even if lawmakers disagreed with them.

"If it's the law, it's the law," he said.

He said he supported legislation to curb abuses by TSA agents. An administrator in the Dodge County sheriff's office, he said he knows there are professional ways to conduct searches and has been concerned by reports of invasive searches.

He said he was unfamiliar with the Real ID law but the questionnaire accurately reflected his support for allowing people to carry guns without permits and to buy raw milk.

"A family should be able to decide what's right for their family," he said of allowing raw milk sales.

A bill allowing the sale of raw milk passed in 2010 when Democrats controlled the Legislature, but then-Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it. Some Republicans have trumpeted the idea, but they did not take it up in the last session.

Born also said he doesn't recall taking a position on right-to-work legislation. He said such a law might be worth looking at eventually, but not now.

Right-to-work laws bar private-sector labor contracts from including provisions that require employees to join their unions as conditions of employment, and unions fear Republicans will seek such legislation after curbing collective bargaining for public workers last session. Gov. Scott Walker has supported the idea in the past but said in May he would do "everything in my power" to prevent such legislation from coming to his desk.

Kapenga said he did not think it could happen in the upcoming session, even with Republicans holding large majorities in the Assembly and Senate.

"I very much support right to work, but do I think it's realistic? No. I don't think we'll have the political capital to do it," he said.

In the last session, Republicans passed a law allowing people to get permits from the state to carry concealed weapons, ending the state's long-held ban on concealed weapons. They considered going further, allowing people to carry guns without permits under a concept known as "constitutional carry" that is based on the belief that the 2nd Amendment allows carrying guns without regulation.

Kapenga said he supports such legislation but does not believe there is enough support to pass it in the next session.

Others listed as supporting the Campaign for Liberty's agenda could not be immediately reached Tuesday.



Source: (c)2012 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Distributed by MCT Information Services


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