Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Plan B To Duck A Great Lakes Water Bill Hearing

Some legislators want to approve the Great Lakes Compact implementation bill without a hearing.

That would draw less attention to it.

Now there's a Plan B to cut the public out of the process - - literally roll the bill into Budget Repair legislation - - a one-step, take-it-or-leave-it package. reported last week that the two measures could be taken up in tandem, and I posted that report, but now the the Compact implementation could be completely subsumed in a deal over the budget if the money bill and the water bill are in a joint measure.

Pretty awesome subterfuge, I'd say. Why not just change the state motto from "Forward" to "More Logrolling!"

Legislators say they want to get out and campaign, putting their personal agendas and re-election schedules ahead of the public interest.

Let's see how this looks on the scales of political justice:

Imagine, on the one hand, approving an eight-state, two-nation agreement seven years in the making to govern water access and conservation in the state and region, in a package with hundreds of millions in significant revenue changes to put the budget back into its mandatory balance.

On the other hand, boogying out-of-town to unimpeded fundraisers, potluck dinners and coffee klatches.

I guess if you are a certain type of legislator, the bolt out of town is no contest.


Dave1 said...

I'm in complete agreement that the compact should get an open and thorough discussion.

However, as I recall, you were arguing for a quick passage (of the barely reviewed) senate version before the legislature adjourned. Most of the legislators hadn't even had time to read the ammendments ... let alone understand what they were voting on.

You (correctly) wanted to get the Compact passed in WI no matter how potentially flawed (and the Senate version did have some flaws).

Now you want to take the time and do it right ... why didn't you want to do this the first time around?

James Rowen said...

I have said, in retrospect, that legislators should have taken more time with the Senate bill.

But you are forgetting that there was at least one public hearing, and that the draft was available some days prior to the vote.

Right now, no one will offer anything on paper, and some legislators, including the Assembly leader Mike Huebsch, are saying, in advance, no hearing.

So these are not completely equal situations.

Dave1 said...

OK ... good response.

Let's just hope they get it right!

Anonymous said...

Recall Jim, the version of the bill that went to public hearing did not have 33 amendments attached to it, as the final Senate bill did. But those numerous amendments were never properly vetted and people such as yourself never batted an eye.