Friday, January 25, 2013

GOP Consolidating Power, One Rule Change At A Time

The GOP, once righteously opposed, as one its leaders said, to changing the rules to suit the players, is pushing a power-grabbing policy, procedural and political playbook. Before you know it, the public will be shut out, as will the other party.

*  Republicans didn't like those pesky public hearings that had to be held when a state agency was creating administrative rules that have the force of law in Wisconsin - - so in the early days of the Walker administration, GOP legislators at his behest eliminated the public hearings and moved rule-making approvals to - - where else? - - Walker's office.

Daddy knows best.

*  Republicans don't like the single public hearing now required by law prior to the DNR's decision on a mining permit, so the mining law being rammed through the Legislature as we speak retains the hearing - - it just moves it to a spot in the process after the DNR makes a decision.

(All this nicely dovetails with environmental rules the GOP changed last year to more easily permit the filling of wetlands. Call that certainty.)

*  Long-standing rules in Wisconsin governing a citizen's obtaining unemployment compensation don't suit Walker, so he is getting them changed. Toughened, they say. Somebody must be cheating.

*  Like those phantom, phantom voters whom the GOP wants to discourage with new Voter ID rules.

*  Republicans don't like the authority historically placed in Wisconsin law with the independently-elected Wisconsin Secretary of State - - a constitutional position - - permitting that office-holder to take up to ten days to publish and officially launch a bill approved by the Legislature.

Why? Because the current Secretary of State is Doug La Follette, a Democrat, and he had the temerity in 2011 to take the entire ten days to publish Walker's union-busting Act 10.

The hell with that balance of power, that independent inspection of the dotted "i's" and crossed "t's," so State Sen. Glenn Grothman and Sworn Enemy Of Kwanzaa and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (R-West Bend), has introduced a bill to eliminate the Secretary of State's law-publishing authority and force that office to publish bills within 24 hours of approval.

*  Republicans hate that the Wisconsin Constitution designates the most senior Associate State Supreme Court Justice to be its Chief Justice because that has meant veteran liberal Justice Shirley Abrahamson has been Chief Justice for a long time.

So the GOP is moving forward with a complex legal and referendum process to change the constitution and let the justices more frequently elect a chief just to strip Chief Justice Abrahamson of her powerful leadership position on the Court and in the rest of the state judicial system. As with the Secretary of State's prerogatives - - these Republicans do not like checks, balances, and power centers outside of their control.

After all, special interests have invested heavily in the GOP and there expectations need to be met, and served.

*  And so, after Democratic voters in Wisconsin (Paul Ryan smeared them "urban voters," and many signed up and voted on election day, as the law encourages) voted heavily in favor of a second term for Pres. Obama in November, Walker said he wanted to get rid of that apparently effective same day voter registration process - - then backed away from it.

For now - - but do not confuse this as evidence that there is a new, moderate Walker (oldsters will remember the new Nixon) since it looks like the GOP has an even bolder way to steal the state for GOP Presidential candidates:

*  Walker has said he's open to reapportioning electoral college votes by Congressional district - - where the GOP has embedded itself a solid majority through gerrymandered, incumbent-protected redistricting - - so is open to overturning the long-standing, winner-take-all method.

Just to help Republican office holders and the special interests they serve.


Look out.

This is part of a fast-moving national power play.

If you can't win elections, just fix them.

1 comment:

Victor Forberger said...

You can find out the details of these proposed changes in unemployment
law through a memo I've prepared ( available at ).

As noted in the memo, the specific DWD proposals are available for
review at:

Right now, there are three parallel efforts underway to change
unemployment law: the traditional path of unemployment change through
the Advisory Council, the review and recommendations being done through
the Small Business Regulatory Review Board
), and the Assembly's review of all department regulations
( ).