Monday, June 17, 2013

WI State Assembly To Approve 'Shut-Up' Budget On Tuesday

Wisconsin democracy is taking a cumulative beating at the hands of power-hungry Republicans imitating Scott Walker's imperious style while implementing a new state motto: Sit down, shut up, go away, dry up.
* Wisconsin GOP State Senate President Mike Ellis had a 'sit down, you're out of order' tantrum that went viral last week.

mike ellis
The long-time Republican from Neenah went on his World Class desk-pounding rant after Democratic Senators objected to GOP parliamentary maneuvering that abruptly cut off debate and quickly approved on a party-line vote a noxious bill Walker has said he'd certainly sign to force unnecessary ultrasound procedures on women seeking legal abortions.
* Some women sitting in the galleries during a subsequent Assembly session were then thrown out and arrested because they dared to take Ellis literally and sit with tape over their mouths - - proving again that the party in power is driven by a pathological need to control and shut people up and out of decision-making across the political spectrum. Here's a first-person account.
* Exceeding Ellis' vanity and insecurities, Walker personally shut up a 20-year-old UW-Platteville student who'd signed a Walker recall petition two years ago - - when still a teenager. Like those pesky women, and Democratic legislators, the kid had to be silenced! 
There are other examples of this GOP control addiction:

* GOP Legislators drafted the original version of the controversial open pit iron ore mining bill in secret - - much as they had written their legally-deficient, gerrymandering redistricting plan, too - - and were arrogant enough to make it known they intentionally kept the Bad River Ojibwe Band away from the table even though the Ojibwe hold treaty-protected land and water rights, live closely downstream from the mine and need clean water to grow wild rice that has defined and sustained its culture.
* The budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance, with a 12-4 GOP-and-thin-skinned-majority, had already used the state budget -drafting process to say 'get out' to a non-profit investigative journalism project it didn't like that works with the UW-Madison School of Journalism. 
Apparently, the legislators prefer the coverage they buy with our money through taxpayer-paid, self-generated and always-flattering news releases.
* And the finance committee, at the 11th hour and without a hearing - - let alone public notice - - slipped into the budget bill another 'no-talking-go-away'  legal provision that undermines state constitutional protections for water, and your rights to it, that date to 1787.
I'd suggest you read what even the DNR under Walker's reign still says about long-standing constitutional protections for water and the state government's obligation to defend your rights to it.
And copy it before the 'shut up' crowd shuts down that DNR webpage because it says too much logically and affirmatively about the public interest the Walkerites discount and dismiss - - preferring talking-point spin offered by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce on behalf of industrial-scale water users.
The budget amendment opening the spigots to big dairies and frac sand mines and other large users, made by a Sheboygan Assemblyman who declined my request for an interview, will prevent  - - by law - - a citizen, a business, a homeowners association, a municipality - - anyone - - from challenging the DNR's issuance of a permit to drill and operate a high-volume (100,000 gallons a day or more) well on the grounds that it would overburden the aquifer and harm nearby wells, streams, rivers or lakes through "cumulative impacts."
In fact, this is what the DNR says about its legal obligation to take "cumulative impacts" into project review consideration to defend properly your right as a Wisconsin citizen to water and its related benefits:
The [state supreme] court has ruled that DNR staff, when they review projects that could impact Wisconsin lakes and rivers, must consider the cumulative impacts of individual projects in their decisions. "A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin State Supreme Court justices in their opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC.(2)
But soon, if the common sense cumulative impact of multiple wells is your issue - - be you a property owner, drinking water supplier, farmer, angler, or boater - - sneaky legislating for special interests by nearly-anonymous legislative water carriers will make sure you keep your concern, your science, your data, your opinion to yourself.
Or, as Mike Ellis and his GOP colleagues would say on their behalf, and Walker's: 

'You're out of order. Sit down,' and when it comes to your favorite trout stream or swimming hole, 'dry up.'
But before you go to your room like a good boy or girl, raise your voice through action plans run by the River Alliance of Wisconsin and The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

Also posted at Purple Wisconsin.


Betsy said...

I am a pessimist. In spite of all the protests regarding Act 10 and the energy spent on the recall, success amounted to a hill of beans. A letter writing campaign seems doomed before it begins. This is a governor and a government that answers to lobbyists and follows their small minded, misguided thoughts and beliefs. If ever people should not believe what they think it is our current governor and legislators! We are in desperate need of a leader for our times.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Betsy, "We are in desperate need of a leader for our times.", and James Rowen has the qualities we're looking for in a leader.

Rowen For Governor!

James Rowen said...

Thanks, but no thanks. Youth needs to be served.

Anonymous said...

Mike Ellis bs secondary education, neenah city council, assembly, senate. No history of doing any real job, spends 43 years as a pol on govt dole. He sounds like one of those guys who says " if I'm going down I'm taking you all with me." By going down that means old age and a slow descent into dementia mixed in with fits of rage.