Thursday, March 7, 2013

Question Of The Day For The Journal Sentinel

I posted the question at the newspaper's Purple Wisconsin blog site, and repeat it here:

Democratic amendments to the mining bill aimed at assuring public health, clean water and meaningful citizen involvement in mine permitting have and continue to go down to swift and one-sided partisan defeat in the GOP-controlled Joint Committee on Finance, State Senate and now in the State Assembly.
What's coming, for Wisconsin, is a massive open-pit iron mine larger than any excavation in the history of the state likely to leak sulphuric acid as it replaces hills and wetlands at the edge of a water-based, rice-growing Ojibwe reservation near Ashland.
Bad River, WI, headwaters. Photo by Pete Rasmussen

Open-pit mining, Kalgoorie, WA
So on the cusp of the bill's approval today, I wonder what the editorial board of this newspaper will have to say tomorrow in light of the paper's reasoned admonition to legislators on legislative process a couple of weeks ago about a two-session charade that saw pro-mining campaign donations pour into the Capitol, and that began with industry influences behind doors closed to other stakeholders?
As the paper said:

"...and there's a good chance some legislators will attempt to add more safeguards. They deserve a fair hearing; we hope the Republican majority - which has made this measure its No. 1 priority in jobs bills - doesn't rush the bill through at the expense of sound amendments."


Anonymous said...

As Obama said... elections have consequences. To bad for your side. We had to live with Doyle for how many years? See you in court. Isn't that the way you guys operate?

JB said...

@Anon (who for some reason refuses to identify him or herself -- perhaps a Republican staffer?)

This is not a matter of how "we guys" operate at all. It's a matter of what a lousy job the Republicans did with the mining bill, and how it could have been better.

When a bill is unconstitutional, it must be challenged. Passing an unconstitutional bill was a foolish act. The Democrats offered numerous amendments that would have made the bill better, all of which were tabled 59-39. (This was a miracle in itself, since during many of the votes, several Republicans were absent from the chamber. I doubt they were all in the parlor, especially since "Leader" Vos was observed entering an elevator minutes before one of the votes.)

A few Republicans offered flimsy explanations about why they couldn't take up the amendments. In the end, Rep. Honadel refused to take questions. Is that the way to demonstrate you have a good bill?

It isn't. Lousy bills have consequences, anonymous.

--Joanne Brown