Legislation requiring a labor history unit in Wisconsin schools is headed to the governor. There wasn’t a lot of debate on the bill in the state Senate Tuesday, although Sheboygan Republican Joe Liebham questioned the need for more mandated curriculum, something schools in his district never ask for. “Districts are smart enough and in touch enough with the makeup of their communities and the student population that they represent, to if they want to have month long discussion on labor history, they can do that,” Leibham said.
The final vote on the bill, 20-12 included the support of two Republicans with heavy labor presence in their districts: Fond du Lac’s Randy Hopper, and Neenah’s Mike Ellis. “So when you put out your news releases saying that the Republicans are against labor, you can’t do it,” said Ellis. “This is a bipartisan bill, just as much as if Olympia Snowe votes with that goofy health care,” added Ellis, referring to the Maine Republican who’s been supportive of health care reform proposed by Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
Elllis said the idea that lawmakers shouldn’t be telling local school district what to do “sounds good,” but education in Wisconsin is a state responsibility. The bill now heads to Governor Jim Doyle.