Inside State Capitol baseball, anyone?
I posted last week some emails obtained through Open Records from the office of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, (R-Juneau) from a few weeks ago - - some about lobbyists here, and another about talk radio here - - after Fitzgerald had: seized control of the mining issue; cancelled the work and hearing plan proposed by a special select committee he'd created; and directed a blatantly pro-mining bill the GOP-led Assembly had passed to the friendly confines of the GOP-controlled Joint Finance Committee (JFC), where sources say a deal on a final bill, pro-industry bill could be struck as early as Monday.
The maneuvering by Fitzgerald caught the eye of State Sen. Tim Carpenter, (D-Milwaukee), a member of the special committee that Fitzgerald obliterated, and I'd included Carpenter's questions about the process late last week:
...State Sen. Tim Carpenter, (D-Milwaukee), a member of the special committee that Fitzgerald had terminated, emailed Fitzgerald and other GOP Senators (Kedzie, State Sen. President Mike Ellis, (R-Neenah) on Wednesday, February 15, at 4:13 PM - - as Fitzgerald's coup against the Kedzie plan was well underway - - with this question - - that went unanswered, documents show:Well, here's an official explanation about some of the hoops that Legislative technicians needed to jump through to facilitate the maneuvering, according to an email from Assistant Chief Senate Clerk Jeff Renk on Wednesday, February 15, at 4:12 p.m., to two legislative staffers, and it should be a nominee for Bureaucratic Memo Of The Month:
My Esteemed Fellow Senators,
Can you please explain why this highly unusual maneuver was made? As [a] Senator who has tried to act in a Bipartisan fashion, I am deeply disturbed by this unfortunate act.
A deposed member - Select Senate Mining Committee
OK, once again, after reading the rules more carefully, I believe that Senate Org now CAN directly refer the bill to JFC. Since it's an Assembly Bill, pursuant to Senate Rule 18(1), all bills received from the Assembly for concurrence are placed in Senate Org. However, the President refers them, however, only on first reading (Senate Rule 36). Since it's been considered "Read a first time" in the Senate, Senate Rule 36 does not apply anymore. That brings us back to Senate Rule 18(1) saying it is in Org. Therefore Senate Org can rerefer it pursuant to Senate Rule 41 (1)(e). Whew....OK, I think that the end of my going back and forth on this.....and I'm sticking to it! Here's my suggested wording for the ballot:[Senate Org is shorthand for the Senate Committee on Organization, which Fitzgerald chairs.]
Renk then provided suggested language for a motion to dissolve the select committee and have the Assembly bill be "rereferred" to the JFC.
An hour and 25 minutes later, Renk told the same staffers he was revising and shortening the suggested wording as "the bill has officially been rereferred to JFC today (Wednesday) we only need the ballot to dissolve the committee......so....."