Monday, June 26, 2006

Who's blocking ethics reform?

Hint: The initials are GOP

Lest there be the slightest doubt about who is standing in the way of passing an ethics reform bill in Wisconsin:

"The governor strongly supports the major ethics reforms that were embodied in SB 1, and he has repeatedly called for passage of that bill and is assessing whether a special session on the bill would be fruitful. But so far, Republicans have given no indication that they would treat the bill any differently than the last time they killed it. The governor had every Democratic vote lined up, but the Republicans balked," Doyle spokesman Dan Leistikow told WisPolitics.

This also from WisPol:
-- Assembly Majority Leader Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, said comprehensive reform should not be acted on in July of an election year and pledged the Legislature will take up the issue when it returns next year, along with proposals to deal with issues surrounding the state procurement and contract award policies.

Huebsch said while SB 1 has been touted as the "holy grail" for ethics reform, he favored a new reform package proposed by GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Green. "SB 1 would be just a paragraph in the vision Mark Green laid out for ethics reform," Huebsch said.

"It was clear to me that if I tried to change SB 1, I'd be charged with being personally immoral," he said. "That's not the atmosphere to be working on this kind of legislation."
To say that July of an election year is not the time to pass ethics reform begs the question:

When would a good time be? No time in the past 18 months, since this legislature took office in January 2005, has been a good time for the Assembly Republicans to pass it.

They repeatedly refused to take it up, and in the closing days of the session voted in closed caucus to let it die, then voted against bringing it to the floor.

Huebsch makes it clear they are not about to pass it now.

So why all the clamor for Gov. Jim Doyle to call a special session? He can't make the Republican majority in the Assembly do anything, special session or not. Last time he called one, on home heating assistance, they didn't even hold a floor session.

If Republicans want to pass ethics reform -- which they obviously don't -- their leadership in both houses can call an extraordinary session at any time. They don't need the governor to do it. You may recall the GOP doing that two years ago in an ill-fated attempt to force action on TABOR.

Fighting Ed Garvey says his People's Legislature wants a special session:
Why not call the session, demand a robust debate, and make it clear any weakening of SB 1 would be vetoed? (That idea came from Gene Farley and was endorsed by the People's Legislative session on Saturday.)

When asked who supported SB 1 all 200 hands went up. When asked if they support a special session, all hands were raised. So what is the problem? Some ask why we spend taxpayer money on a special session. I've done some checking. Other than per diem for legislators and mileage, the costs are insignificant. Hell, Fighting Bob Inc. can hold a fundraiser to help pay. My guess is the cost would be under ten grand. Small price to pay.
Small price to pay for what? For a session that is guaranteed to fail? Do you think we could embarrass the Assembly Republicans? They didn't seem embarrassed last time when they took a roll call vote to kill the same bill. What is the point?

And why doesn't the People's Legislature direct its wrath at the GOP, who stand squarely in the way? Why not ask Speaker John Gard and Majority Leader Dale Schultz to call the legislature back? If they pass the bill, Doyle will sign it into law. But he can't pass it. That's pretty basic, but it seems to escaped our friends at the People's Legislature, who always prefer to aim their fire at the Democrats.

UPDATE: Cory Liebman asks on One Blog: Why can't Green get Republicans to vote on ethics? Good question.

UPDATE 2: Mark Pocan analyzes the pros and cons of a special session on ethics reform. There seems to be a likelihood of Republican mischief.


At 1:14 AM, Blogger XOut said...

SB1 is a pile of junk.

We would do far better electing an ethical governor - one that isn't for sale.

That is the first reform that is needed in Wisconsin.

At 1:45 AM, Blogger Captain Ron said...

Well, we certainly don't want Mark Green then.

At 1:51 AM, Blogger badgervan said...

And which candidate has taken mega-thousands from Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Corporations from all over the country? Huh? Would that be that "ethical" buddy of Tom Delay, Mr. Mark Green?
Green and Gard are the biggest hypocrites that I have seen in Wisconsin government for many a moon. And that is saying a lot.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Mike said...

xout...isn't it boring spewing the GOP party line every day? Get a clue...

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Shades said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Shades said...

The People's Legislature knows a dirty politician when they see one. Diamond Jim traded a huge pile of Casino money (that you got to spend)for unconstitutional compacts - and that was before he was elected with 45% of the vote.

From there he has rigged contracts and worked pay-to-play to new levels. You can sling all the mud at Green that you want - it will not change the fact that Doyle is unethical and the people of WI know it.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Sherman said...

Tommy Thompson was the most blatantly unethical governor in the history of the state of Wisconsin, but the people (and right wing Republicans) loved him.

The average voter thinks all politicians are crooks. Anyone who says they're voting for Green or Doyle based on ethics already had their mind made up long ago.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Shades said...

Ok - let me get this straight: Jensen follows in Loftus's footsteps, but can't use it as a defense but when Doyle does the same thing as Tommy it's OK?

Nobody will be voting for Green or Doyle on ethics. They, will, however, not be voting for Doyle because of ethics. He is dirty and he can't get clean by November.


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