The Legislature held an extraordinary session to push through a series of fast-tracked bills before Gov. Scott Walker leaves office.
Sixty pages of drafting documents included only initials and partial names of legislative service agency staffers.
Not surprisingly, the reaction from some quarters was harsh. In a letter to the editor, Oak Creek resident Wayne Meyer called the higher per diems “unconscionable,” saying it “borders on criminal.”
How did Republican backing in a GOP-controlled state, overwhelming public support and virtually no opposition add up to the legislative defeat of a package of drunken driving bills aiming to increase penalties?
Recently the Wisconsin State Journal asked Dennis Dresang, political science professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about state Republicans’ push to bar local governments from regulating everything from the sale of large sugary drinks to the use of explosives by sand mining companies. Negative reaction to these curbs on local control, mused the veteran political observer, might hurt Gov. Scott Walker at the polls. But he doubted the GOP would lose seats in the Legislature, given how voter boundaries have been redrawn to the party’s advantage.
Of the more than 600 bills introduced in Wisconsin’s 2013-14 legislative session, none contains the terms “climate change,” “greenhouse gases” or “global warming,” and only a handful deal with energy policy.
Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin decries the “revolving door” between lawmaking and lobbying: “It feeds a public perception that legislators, at least some of them, are legislators so they can cash in on the contacts they make.”
The 2012 presidential and congressional elections, said Lisa Graves, was “the most expensive election in U.S. history. In fact, it was the most expensive election in the history of the world.”
State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, incoming Majority Leader, has been suggesting that the Government Accountability Board should be governed by partisan appointees, rather than the six retired judges who now do the job. “I just don’t think they’re an independent voice at all,” the Republican from Juneau told the Associated Press.