GOP Senate Majority Leader’s Political Manipulation Delays WI Mining Bill
GOP Senate Majority Leader’s Political Manipulation Delays WI Mining Bill.
The WI Mining Bill continues to draw attention and concern. I’ve been trying to find out MORE about what happened to the usual and customary healthy legislative process vis-à-vis this legislation.
TRUTH BE TOLD: There is very significant behind the scenes exercise of POWER by leading WI Republican officeholders. I think the usual and customary legislative process should be followed rather than POWER control. Do YOU agree?
The very widely used American Government & Politics textbook, “American Politics Today” (Second edition, 2011) by David T. Canon, UW-Madison and William T. Bianco, Indiana University asserts that there are “THREE KEY IDEAS” which help one understand the processes and reality of American politics. The key ideas are: “Politics Is Conflictual,” “Political Process Matters” and “Politics Is Everywhere.”
I agree with this analysis. I should disclose that David Canon and I have been co-instructors of the AP US Government & Politics Seminar for Teachers which has been part of the Advanced Placement Summer Institute at UW-Madison for the past 14 years and we are preparing NOW for the Institute on campus June 24-30, 2012.
In the introduction of David in the textbook, the publishers specifically cite the fact that he has been an AP Consultant and taught at the APSI at UW-Madison since 1997.
I can attest that truth having worked with David each year. A strong recommendation of this textbook for both AP US Government & Politics courses (high school settings) and the introductory level American Government & Politics courses at the college level is due to the fact that David has the annual experience of working with high school AP US Government & Politics teachers which has influenced his development of this textbook EFFECTIVELY!
Both David and I teach the “Pol 104 – American Government & Politics” course in the UW system along with our other courses. David is an award-winning teacher (I use the term advisedly) who is a full professor at UW-Madison.
I am asserting in this blog post that “POLITICAL PROCESS MATTERS” so WE THE PEOPLE of WI need to be MORE aware of the political games which have been and are being played by our elected officials in processing the WI Mining Bill.
In general (simplified), the normal and customary process would be that IF a bill started in the Assembly, it would be sent to the floor by a standing or special committee and voted on. Then the bill would be messaged to the Senate for a vote. Usually the bill would be sent to one of the standing committees of the Senate. With the PRESSURE to get the WI Mining Bill PASSED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, it was HOPED the Senate would VOTE IMMEDIATELY on the bill and APPROVE the Assembly bill.
And then Sen. Schultz expressed his doubt about the Assembly passed bill. Due to the 1 vote margin for the Republican majority in the Senate as a result of SUCCESSFUL RECALL ELECTIONS last year, that 1 vote is critical. The pressures mounted on Sen. Schultz to ACCEPT the Assembly’s bill. He made PERFECT CLEAR that he would NOT accept the Assembly’s bill without meaningful revisions which would DEMAND COMPROMISE!
Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald appointed the Senate Select Committee on Mining Jobs to prepare a SENATE WI MINING BILL. He enlisted veteran State Senator Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) who began the work of the committee expressing his intention to work to craft a reasonable WI mining bill which would provide resolution to several of the key points of opposition as articulated by his long-time colleague, State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).
SHOCKING MANIPULATION of the PROCESS! After 5 months of work to craft a package of changes to the state's mining laws, Kedzie’s Senate Select Committee on Mining Jobs unveiled a Senate version of mining reform on Wed., 2/15. The Senate version appeared to deal with some of the criticism leveled against a mining bill recently passed by the Assembly. That bill had run into opposition from those who said it weakened mining laws too much, didn't do enough to protect the environment and didn't go far enough to ensure that local government and taxpayers weren't going to be saddled with extra costs associated with mining in their backyards.
Following the usual and customary process, the more moderate Senate proposal was set to go to hearings and from there would have headed to the Joint Finance Committee, which would have worked out differences with the Assembly bill. But just 2 days after Fitzgerald's committee released its plans, the majority leader pulled the plug on the committee, endorsed the Assembly bill and passed it along to Joint Finance. Believe it or not!
Fitzgerald's stated reason for short-circuiting the process was his desire to get a mining bill passed before March 15, when the current legislative session is set to end. Again, the haunting fact that our WI State Legislature plans to adjourn and GO ON VACATION (PAID VACATION) for the rest of the year with time to campaign for election. WHY do WE THE PEOPLE of WI let this scandal to continue? I oppose it! Do YOU?
REMIND YOURSELF: Majority Leader Fitzgerald made this move to SUPPORT THE ASSEMBLY’s WI MINING BILL in spite of the reality that the DEMOCRATS oppose it and his colleague, Republican Senator Schultz had already stated that he could NOT vote for the Assembly’s bill.
I was VERY DISAPPOINTED to read Ron Seely’s report on Sen. Kedzie’s response to Fitzgerald’s manipulation, “In a terse statement, Kedzie said that Republican senators need to move forward with the mine permitting changes.
"’As a caucus, we need to move forward on this issue before the legislative session comes to a close,’ Kedzie said.”
DIPLOMATIC? IRRESPONSIBLE? See what POWER the leaders have?! I accuse Sen. Kedzie of being IRRESPONSIBLE since he did NOT stand strong for the work of the committee which he had led through very challenging negotiations for the benefit of WE THE PEOPLE of WI. WHY, Sen. Kedzie?! What do YOU (readers) think?
If you want to read the whole report by Ron Seely published by the Wisconsin State Journal on Wed., 2/15/2012, use this link, “Assembly mining bill will be tough sell in Senate.”
Let’s take a look at the situation now, as of yesterday (Sat., March 3) as reported by the Wisconsin State Journal’s very competent, award-winning state government team of journalists, Mary Spicuzza and Clay Barbour in their “On the Capitol” (OTC) feature, “Schultz gives 'Politics 101' course on how to flex political muscles.”
ALERT: If you access this article, YOU will also have the “Related Stories” feature to read other informative articles about the WI Mining Bill. Just do it to be more fully informed.
REMINDER: “POLITICAL PROCESS MATTERS!
FOR SURE and why did the Republican leadership NOT carefully analyze the NEW situation in our WI State Senate after the RECALL ELECTIONS. They were able to RAILROAD the Governor’s manipulative bills through the whole legislature early in 2011, but NO LONGER.
Someone should be sure to NOTE that Sen. Schultz is the ONE & ONLY REPUBLICAN who voted AGAINST Governor Walker’s bill which repealed collective bargaining rights.
Gazette readers are well aware of the rejuvenated friendship of Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) and Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) with Sen. Cullen’s return to the State Senate. Their bi-partisan work and leadership has been touted not only by The Janesville Gazette but by various newspapers throughout WI. THANKS to Sen. Cullen and Sen. Schultz!
The LEADERHIP STAND which Sen. Schultz took against the Assembly’s WI Mining Bill last Wed., 2/29 – Leap Day – is VERY significant. I’ve been urging attention to his leadership and asking persons who agree with me and Sen. Schultz to express GRATITUDE and ENCOURAGEMENT in my last 2 blog post, “WE THE PEOPLE of WI need to express our GRATITUDE to SEN. SCHULTZ!” and “HOLD TIGHT, Senator Schultz! YOU are becoming a ‘Profile in Courage’!” IF you agree and have NOT communicated with Senator Schultz, I hope you will do it early this new week, please. THANKS!
I was GLAD to see the OTC team wondering aloud, “Is state Sen. Dale Schultz was now the most powerful member of the Legislature?” What do YOU think?
Sen. Schultz has stood up to the KEY REPUBLICAN leaders in the legislature - Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau – as well as Gov. Scott Walker. They want the WI Mining Bill to pass NOW!
The conclusion of the OTC team, “…without Schultz's backing, the proposal — as it stands now — is basically dead.”
I have now re-read this important OTC report several times and URGE you to make sure you read it. You can use this link for access, “Schultz gives 'Politics 101' course on how to flex political muscles.”
The OTC report quotes Sen. Schultz, "I know there are those who will be beyond disappointed with me, but my first priority in coming to the Legislature was not to be a good partisan." TRUTH BE TOLD!
It is, to my mind, very significant that Sen. Schultz is NOT just complaining. There have been compromise proposals introduced, the most prominent being the Schultz's own bill (co-sponsored with Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar). Realistic response to the situation, isn't it? What do YOU think?
I agree with a KEY point which prevents Sen. Schultz from being able to support the latest GOP compromise. He asserts that GOP compromise eliminates the opportunity for the public to legally challenge a permit before an administrative law judge. REMOVE the opportunity for WE THE PEOPLE of WI to challenge a permit?! NO WAY! YOUR stance?
Walker has been negotiating with DEMOCRATS with the HOPE of getting around Sen. Schultz! The OTC reports, “…two of the senators, Jauch and Sen. Jim Holperin, D-Conover, said the governor was not offering any compromise, and both men remain opposed to the bill as it stands.” HEADS UP: Scott Walker - COMPROMISE is the one and only way in a healthy republic! WI is more and more HEALTHY! Do YOU agree?
HOLD TIGHT SEN. SCHULTZ and DEMOCRATS! COMPROMISE is NOT a bad word! It is key to the healthy functioning of any representative democracy/republic. There essentially UNANIMOUS agreement that the FOUNDERS who wrote the US Constitution of 1787 were geniuses because they were able to craft very effective COMPROMISES (plural)! We NEED more such geniuses! Hold on tight, Sen. Schultz, YOU are becoming a “PROFILE OF COURAGE”!
I dare to hope for a healthy & functional COMPROMISE, but I am NOT optimistic! My observation has been that with Scott Walker, the bottom-line is: “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.” Sad and true. NOT HEALTHY for a republic! Do YOU agree?
I like JOHN NICHOLS message to Sen. Schultz, "Why Dale Schultz should run" in a Republican Primary in the Recall Election later this year. I WISH! What do YOU wish?
Here we go…
John Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Waukesha and an advocate for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.