This is a column from Wisconsin Rep. Nick Milroy [D-South Range] of the 73rd District:
Republicans interfere with justice for veterans
Honoring and protecting Wisconsin’s veterans should always be a shared value among Wisconsin legislators, regardless of party. As a veteran, I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifices these brave men and women make every day to serve our country and keep us safe.
That is why I am so troubled by the actions of my Republican colleagues in the State Assembly who knowingly voted to take vital protection away from veterans. After hearing moving testimony from veterans, they decided to make it more difficult for patients, including veterans, who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma to get justice after they have been exposed to asbestos.
I’m especially disappointed by the Republican legislators who chose to ignore the strong opposition to this bill by veterans’ advocacy groups, such as the Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. On a party line vote, they even chose to abolish an amendment that would have granted an exemption for veterans who were exposed to asbestos while serving their country.
Veterans make up just eight percent of the population – but 30 percent of people who suffer from mesothelioma are veterans.
Many Wisconsin veterans were exposed to asbestos during their military service. And many others were exposed to asbestos while working civilian jobs in factories, plants, shipyards and mills. Veterans who are suffering from this deadly disease have already been through enough – we shouldn’t be putting more obstacles in their way.
Unfortunately these kinds of anti-citizen proposals are all too common in the legislature lately. Republicans are now pushing a budget measure that would make it easier for predatory rent-to-own companies to take advantage of consumers by no longer having to disclose their interest rates. These companies, along with payday lenders, are notorious for setting up shop outside military bases.
These callous measures should not be our focus. We need to be working on important issues, such as helping to create jobs, reforming our troubled jobs agency and rebuilding Wisconsin’s middle class. This pattern of attacking workers, families and our most vulnerable citizens needs to end now.
We must stand up and fight for Wisconsin veterans. They have worked hard and given so much to protect us. It is our duty to protect them as well.
May 17, 2013
From Wisconsin members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart:
“Wisconsin members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart are deeply disappointed that the Wisconsin Assembly passed AB 19, a bill which would delay and deny justice to veterans and other victims of asbestos-related diseases. The legislation shields corporations from being held accountable. Many veterans were exposed to asbestos during their time in the military and in their civilian jobs in Wisconsin shipyards, plants, mills and factories.” – More HERE.