Email date: 1/29/07
In this update:
1. Troublesome feature of ethics bill dumped, reform measure back on track
2. Special interests eye high court race
Senate and Assembly leaders announced today they have reached agreement on further changes to the ethics reform bill that is the subject of a special legislative session, including the removal of a self-destruct mechanism - the legislation’s controversial "nonseverability" clause - that would have wiped out the entire new enforcement system created by the bill if any part of it were ruled unconstitutional by a court.
Disagreement between leaders of the two houses over the presence of this poison pill in the legislation had become a major sticking point that threatened to derail consideration of the ethics enforcement reform bill. Removal of the nonseverability clause not only represents a major improvement in the bill and a victory for the Democracy Campaign and other reform advocates who pointed out the provision and called for its elimination, but it also clears the way for the legislation to be taken up by both houses this week.
The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning to give its approval, setting the stage for floor debate in the Assembly and Senate.
Friday’s E-Lert focused on the upcoming state Supreme Court contest to fill the vacancy created by Justice Jon Wilcox’s retirement. The Wisconsin State Journal ran a lengthy article about the race in the Sunday paper. Both the Wisconsin Radio Network and Wisconsin Public Radio aired stories on the subject this morning.