A contentious debate saw the state Assembly approve rules to accommodate a disabled lawmaker. Representative Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg), argued his case on the Assembly floor.
“Remember, I was just asking to use the damn speaker phones. Something the Senate is already doing, something we’re already doing during joint committees,” he said.
Anderson explained to his colleagues that he’s been in a wheelchair ever since a drunk driver slammed into his family’s car. The crash killed Anderson’s parents and younger brother and left him in a wheelchair as a result of a severed spinal cord.
In the end, Republican leadership removed language dealing with veto overrides from the a package, leaving the disability accommodations in place. “The changes to the committee process allowing him to phone in, allowing anybody to phone in that is certified with a disability, and the things on the floor that help us ensure that we don’t have lengthy delays and overnight sessions,” explained Majority Leader Jim Steinke (R-Kaukana).
The vote Thursday ended a months-long dispute, in which Anderson had retained a disability rights group to represent him in a potential lawsuit.