Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Senator Deb Fischer is a clever, clever state senator.

Last year Senator Fischer had a personal problem, and she figured out a clever taxpayer-funded way to solve it. The problem was, she did not have a speedy super-highway leading from her cattle-ranch home out in the middle of nowhere to Lincoln, where she regularly holds court as the Queen of Mean. She solved her problem by pushing through a legislative bill that will suck $64 million out of the state’s general funds every year for the next 20 years to build her personal highway to nowhere (along with other nice highways to nowhere for her legislative buddies who helped shove the bill through).

That was pretty clever. The $64 million loss from general funds hurts children, the elderly, the disabled, people who struggle with mental illness, working mothers who depend on daycare to keep their jobs, sick people, poor people… but by cracky, we’re gonna get from here to nowhere in record time, thanks to Queen Fischer.

Senator Fischer has another personal problem: she hates Planned Parenthood in particular and family planning in general. Queen Fischer planned her own parenthood (three boys), but like a lot of Planned Parenthood-haters, she doesn’t want anybody else to plan theirs. She is self-righteously “outraged” that taxpayer dollars help people other than Senator Fischer plan their parenthood.

When Senator Fischer has a problem, she figures out a way to solve it. This week she introduced a clever, clever bill that will cleverly remove funding from the 27 family planning clinics located throughout Nebraska by “prioritizing” public health clinics over Title X (read: family planning) clinics. Cut the funding, close the clinics. Isn’t that clever?

Here’s how things work now: The Nebraska Department of Health distributes about $62 million per year, mostly federal dollars, to public health clinics, Title X clinics, and non-profit health organizations. The money helps provide access for all Nebraskans across the state to a basic level of health care, including preventive care.

Here’s how Queen Fischer’s bill will change things: The Department of Health will be required to prioritize public health clinics for funding and will “select” providers. With all of the money cleverly going to “selected” public health clinics, no money will be left for Title X clinics. Ipso facto, no more planning for s_x in Nebraska!

This is what is known as a “stealth” bill. It looks all innocent at first blush. After all, who can argue with putting a priority on public health? And the thing is only one page long… usually an indicator of a pretty good bill. But this nefarious bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hiding an underlying, underhanded purpose.

Senator Fischer is very, very clever. And sneaky.

And lest we forget, State Senator Fischer wants to be United States Senator Fischer, where she can hold court as Queen of Mean over a much bigger fiefdom. Her campaign promise is to put a wire hanger in every woman’s closet.

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