Friday, February 15, 2008

Reckless Assembly Republicans Look To Kill Great Lakes Compact

Two leading Republican Assembly leaders are now on record joining the anti-Great Lakes Compact cabal of State Sen Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Ohio State Sen. Tim Grendell - - whose antics to sink the Great Lakes Compact by sending it back to negotiators for more 'changes' have been well-documented on this blog.

Also siding with Lazich: Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce, and the Metropolitan Builders Association.

Lazich and Grendell have colluding on this since August: Here is a posting based on my interview with him then.

Get the picture?

The Compact is a water management and conservation cooperative agreement (this is the concept Lazich & Co. just cannot abide) among the eight Great Lakes states.

Their governors, including Wisconsin's Jim Doyle, also agreed in 2005 following four years of negotiations, to support implementing bills in their states that would contain no substantive changes.

And a similar bill has to be approved by the US Congress, or the Great Lakes will become even more vulernable to whimsical and selfish takings of water, without standards, or a rational set of application and approval procedures needed to protect a multi-state, two-country (the US and Canada) resource.

So just as a Compact bill gets rolled out in Wisconsin today, (two states have approved it among the eight, and two more states' Governors have approved-bills on their desks, making new 'negotiations' after a seven-year process nothing but a sham strategy at this point), out come the Assembly obstructionist tactics, as explained by the following Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Newswatch blog item:

THURSDAY, Feb. 14, 2008, 2:14 p.m.By Stacy Forster
Great Lakes compact debated

Madison - As the state Senate opened debate today on legislation to ratify and implement a compact to stop large-scale water diversions and promote water conservation, some Assembly leaders indicated they want to go back to the drawing board on certain aspects of the compact.

Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) and Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) Wednesday sent a letter to Bill Harris, president of the Ohio state Senate, saying they want to work with lawmakers there to change the compact, which was signed by the governors of eight Great Lakes states.

Huebsch and Gunderson wrote that they object to provisions that would allow the governor of one of the eight states to object to a water diversion and expand the public trust doctrine to include groundwater.

"The Wisconsin State Assembly is committed to introducing and passing legislation that mirrors legislation being introduced in the Ohio State Senate, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you and your colleagues to enact these changes across the Great Lakes basin," Huebsch and Gunderson wrote.

Four state legislatures have already ratified the compact, but Ohio, like Wisconsin, faces unique water-access issues.

There has been solid, bipartisan support for the compact in the Wisconsin Senate. But it has always faced an uphill battle in the Assembly, where some members are concerned the agreement is too restrictive for communities - including many they represent -- that want access to water and could stifle economic development.

The compact legislation has been a long time coming; legislators released a preliminary draft on Tuesday but concede there is still more work to be done.

The Senate's Committee on Environment and Natural Resources held an informational hearing today on a draft of the legislation.Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona), chairman of the Senate committee, said the legislature's movement on a bill was a historic achievement.

"The Great Lakes compact is critical to protecting our state's natural resources," Miller said at the hearing. "Fresh water is predicted to become the most important resources in the world within the lifetime of today's children."


Anonymous said...

Just more stalling tactics on the part of the Assembly Republicans in their Mission To Accomplish Nothing that this legislative session has become.

No Great Lakes Compact,no school funding reform, no health care programs--not even a health care discussion--and a budget process that was the embarrassment of the nation.

When meeting with legislators on Conservation Lobby Day, one legislator told constituents that this legislature seemed determined to "do nothing" and even with the very short 2008 legislative session (Jan - March) leadership did not call the legislature into session that week (week of Jan 28) and had not met many of the weeks so far. But Gunderson has plenty of time to introduce legislation allowing 10-year olds to hunt and all to debate whether to call the rotunda evergreen a Christmas or a holiday tree. Now that's legislating!

These legislators are paid fairly well for what is part-time work (and seasonal work as well). It would be "fun" to add up the hours they met this year, and divide by the annual salary, including benefits, so that the people of Wisconsin can see exactly what they're getting. Perhaps our legislators would enjoy justifying their salaries and benefits to their constituents, considering that many Wisconsinites don't make as much money at their full time jobs as our legislators do at their part time ones. Or explaining why, as part-timers, they should be entitled to health care and pension benefits that (again) their constituents can't get for full-time work.

Well, accountability day is comin' 'round, my friends. It's November 4, 2008 when every single member of the State Assembly (all 99) is up for election, as well as half the State Senate. A day to ask, "What has my legislator done for me?" and "Just whose interests is this legislator representing?"

If that legislator can't tell you what s/he did to make your family's life better, it might be time to give someone else the job. It just might be time to outsource your legislator.

Shell said...

I just want to say that I have always been a Democrat (thought they were the lesser of 2 evils) until I learned about and listened to Mike Huckabee. I'm sure that other Republicans want to continue to allow the environment to be destroyed, but I think that Mike Huckabee is a true conservative-ative (like Teddy Roosevelt was). In Arkansas, there is a beautiful "Janet Huckabee Environmental Education and Nature Center" and Huckabee did a lot for State Parks--they are gorgeous. He is the genuine article and I just wish other people would realize it too before it's too late. Here is a quote from Huckabee concerning how he feels about the environment based on his faith (it's at the the middle):

"The First Amendment requires that expressions of faith be neither prohibited nor preferred. We should not banish religion from the public square, but should guarantee access to all voices and views. We should share and debate our faith, but never seek to impose it. When discussing faith and politics, we should honor the "candid" in candidate - I have much more respect for an honest atheist than a disingenuous believer.
My faith is my life - it defines me. My faith doesn't influence my decisions, it drives them. For example, when it comes to the environment, I believe in being a good steward of the earth. I don't separate my faith from my personal and professional lives.
Real faith makes us humble and mindful, not of the faults of others, but of our own. It makes us less judgmental, as we see others with the same frailties we have. Faith gives us strength in the face of injustice and motivates us to do our best for "the least of us."
Our nation was birthed in a spirit of faith - not a prescriptive one telling us whether to believe, but one acknowledging that a providence pervades our world."

I think that a lot of Democrats are artistic people as well and greedy grumpy old "Republicans" often banish the arts and music--you know it's a threat to them but I wanted to throw in some more from Huckabee because it just shows how awesome he is and how much we need him....

Regarding Arts and Music in Education:

"In addition, I want to provide our children what I call the "Weapons of Mass Instruction" - art and music - the secret, effective weapons that will help us to be competitive and creative. It is crucial that children flex both the left and right sides of the brain. We all know the cliché of thinking outside the box: I want our children to be so creative that they think outside the cardboard factory. Art and music are as important as math and science because the dreamers and visionaries among us take the rough straw of an idea and spin it into the gold of new businesses and jobs. It is as important to identify and encourage children with artistic talent as it is those with athletic ability. Our future economy depends on a creative generation.
Music has always been an important part of my life. I still play bass guitar in my band, Capitol Offense.
As Governor of Arkansas, I undertook several initiatives to encourage arts in education. I passed landmark legislation to provide music and art instruction by certified teachers for all Arkansas children in grades one through six, forty minutes a week. As Chairman of the Education and Arts Commission of the States, I created a two-year initiative called "The Arts - A Lifetime of Learning," which promotes the benefits of arts education to all fifty states.
Students with strong art and music programs have higher academic achievement overall, are far more likely to read for pleasure and participate in community service, and are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. These programs have a powerful effect in leveling the academic playing field for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The study of music improves math scores, spatial reasoning and abstract thinking."

Please reconsider and VOTE HUCKABEE before it's too late! :)

Shell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ulysses Benjamin Dover said...

Mike Huckabee wants to change the Constitution in some curious ways. Maybe you don't get the meaning of "evangelical" but he's a dangerous politician.

Anonymous said...


shell's "Ode to Huckabee" is posted twice. Could you please remove one?

To shell: what is the relevance of "I heart huckabees" on this blog, this post? Does Huckabeee love the Great Lakes?

James Rowen said...

Don't know how that happened.
Good question, about Huckabee's relevance on this posting.