Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Impartial Justice": State Supreme Court Public Financing Legislation Now Ready for Vote in full Legislature This Week!

Press Release
November 3, 2009


Jay Heck – 608/256-2686



The Fall legislative floor session is scheduled to end this week. This session will be the last opportunity this year for the Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate to vote on a major campaign finance reform measure -- which is now waiting to be scheduled by the legislative leadership and ought to be passed and signed into law before Thanksgiving.

Today, the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance voted 11 to 4 to pass the so-called "Impartial Justice" legislation: Assembly Bill 65 and Senate Bill 40 -- identical measures that would provide full public financing for qualifying candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court who voluntarily agree to abide by a spending limit of $400,000. It is now ready and available for scheduling by the legislative leadership for votes in the full Assembly and State Senate - where it ought to pass and then go Governor Jim Doyle, who has said Monday that he will sign it into law.

In the Joint Committee on Finance today, those voting for the Impartial Justice legislation were: State Senators Mark Miller (D-Monona), Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), John Lehman (D-Racine), Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and State Representatives: Mark Pocan (D-Madison), Pedro Colon (D-Milwaukee), Cory Mason (D-Racine), Jennifer Shilling (D-LaCrosse), Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing) and Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee). Strong supporter of "Impartial Justice," State Senator Judy Robson (D-Beloit), was not present for the vote.

Opposing "Impartial Justice" were: State Senators Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and State Representatives Robin Vos (R-Racine) and Phil Montgomery (R-Ashwaubenon).

The legislation ought to receive a final vote this Thursday!

If you have not done so already (and even if you have), please contact both your State Representative and your State Senator today or tomorrow - at the latest - and strongly urge them to vote for the Impartial Justice Bill to reform Wisconsin's disgraceful State Supreme Court elections!

To contact both your State Representative and your State Senator go here.
If you are not sure who your State Representative and your State Senator are, go here.
* * *

Last week in Pewaukee, CC/WI sponsored a "reform forum" at the Waukesha County Technical College entitled "How Do We Clean Up Our Disgraceful Supreme Court Elections?" Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks, and former Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Margaret Farrow joined CC/WI executive director Jay Heck in a discussion about how to reform the current method of electing Supreme Court justices in Wisconsin. More than thirty citizens turned out on a cold and rainy evening to be part of the discussion. For more on the forum, go here. To see a video of the forum and what Justices Bradley and Crooks had to say about the urgent need for public financing for State Supreme Court elections, go here.


Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703

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