Thursday, May 22, 2008

Special Session on CFR is Only Remaining Legislative Business - Must Act Now!

Press Release
Friday, May 30, 2008
By Jay Heck

The Wisconsin Legislature, in a rare flurry of activity last week, completed action on the Special Session on Budget Repair and on the Special Session on the Great Lakes Compact.

The "regular" session of the 2007-2008 Wisconsin Legislature adjourned for the year in early March.

That means there is now only one unfinished piece of business still pending for the Wisconsin Legislature--however much they wish it would just go away--The Special Session on Campaign Finance Reform, called by Governor Jim Doyle last November 30th at CC/WI's insistence. It is still very much alive, even if nothing has happened thus far.
But now, with all other legislative business out of the way, (apart from some possible attemtps to override some of Governor Doyle's budget repair vetoes) there is no excuse whatsoever to any longer put off the consideration of Special Session SENATE BILL 1 which is strongly supported by CC/WI. This sweeping reform measure would force special interest groups running the nasty phony issue ads that dominated the recent election for State Supreme Court, to disclose the names of the donors to those groups. Currently they do not have to. It would also provide full, 100% public financing to candidates for the State Supreme Court who agree to limit their campaign spending to $400,000 and additional funds if the complying candidate is the target of an outside special interest group communication (or his or her opponent is the beneficiary of same). It would also clean up legislative and other statewide elections, ban campaign fundraising during the state budget process, eliminate the legislative leadership special interest slush funds known as legislative campaign committees, restrict out of state money from pouring into Wisconsin and much, much more.

With another State Supreme Court election early next year, the Legislature can no longer stall. They must act now in order for their to be any possibility that reforms will be in place for the upcoming State Supreme Court election in which the Chief Justice, Shirley Abrahamson, will stand for re-election in what is expected to be the most costly and nasty election ever in Wisconsin, without reform in place prior to the April, 2009 election.

CC/WI has learned that there are at least some discussions occuring in the State Senate and at a CC/WI forum held at UW-Madison late last month, the Legislature's leading campaign finance reform advocates -- Senators Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) and Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) both called for immediate action on the Special Session legislation put forward by the Governor.

Unfortunately, the two individuals in the position to make the Special Session happen -- Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) and State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) have been silent on the subject thus far. CC/WI will invite both (or their designees) to attend a CC/WI State Governing Board Meeting in the Capitol in Madison on Thursday, June 5th to shed some light on their plans for campaign finance reform in 2008. We also will invite the Governor (or his designes) to attend to express his "disappointment" about the lack of action thus far on his Special Session call.

In the meantime, you can call/contact Speaker Huebsch and Senate Majority Leader Decker and ask when they will commence action on the Special Session on Campaign Finance Reform.

Rep. Mike Huebsch: 608/266-3387, toll-free: 888/534-0094, e-mail: Rep.Huebsch@legis.wisconsin.govThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sen. Russ Decker: 608/266-2502, toll-free: 877-496-0472, e-mail: Sen.Decker@legis.wisconsin.govThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

If you get an answer from either, please let us know.............

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!