(first posted at 8:42 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10)
Call them The Bills of Foregone Conclusions.
Written by legislators behind closed doors, with closed minds - - except to the needs of the politically-connected.
* The State Senate has had its version of fast-tracked mining permitting legislation in the hands of Neal Kedzie, once a GOP moderate and environmental champion, but the Republican from Elkhorn these days is just another foot soldier in the party's march to the right.
While setting up a Senate committee to craft a bill, Kedzie signalled the outcome 15 weeks ago:
...we are not going to craft a bill that is destined to fail. We want to be able to get applications from mining companies."Then there is the equally-blatant disregard of genuine study and inclusive, public input by Assembly Republicans as they are moving faster than the Senate to let Gogebic mine the Penokee Range near Ashland and put the Bad River watershed at risk.
* Assembly leaders hurriedly put together a hearing at a Hurley, WI supper club for this Wednesday at 10 a.m. on their version of the much-criticized bill - - even Walker's DNR has said, as written, would cost the state millions of dollars - - but even before the hearing took place in Hurley the GOP had announced that the vote on the Assembly bill was expected to take place next week, on Thursday.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said in a statement Tuesday that nothing is definite but he would like to vote on the bill on Jan. 19. A public hearing in Hurley on the bill is set for Wednesday."Nothing is definite?"
Leaders do not announce their intentions unless they have the votes in their pocket - - in fact, Fitzgerald's announcement dissuades any real effort to make changes in the language or final goal - - so look for the public testimony at a sham 'hearing' in Hurley to go in one collective set of GOP ears and out the other.