Assembly Finalizes Ban on Budget-Session Fundraising

In this update: 1. Fundraising ban gets bipartisan approval in Assembly 2. Action Alert: Urge Senate and Governor to follow Assembly’s lead 3. Interest groups to sit out Supreme Court race? 4. Best and worst legislators Assembly Finalizes Ban on Budget-Session Fundraising 

Email date: 2/4/09

In this update:
1. Fundraising ban gets bipartisan approval in Assembly
2. Action Alert: Urge Senate and Governor to follow Assembly’s lead
3. Interest groups to sit out Supreme Court race?
4. Best and worst legislators

State Assembly leaders voted 8-0 this morning to approve a rule banning members of the lower house from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions during the state budget process. To read the Democracy Campaign’s statement about today’s action, go here.

Violations of the rule could be punished by public censure on the floor of the Assembly or public letter of reprimand, removal from a leadership position or committee or chairmanship of a committee, loss of staff or office assignment, or restrictions on office accounts and spending privileges.

The Democracy Campaign strongly believes such a ban also should apply to the Senate and governor and supports legislation to write a budget-season fundraising prohibition into state law, something echoed in an editorial in this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal. A bill to do that was introduced Monday as Senate Bill 23.

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It is up to all of us to build on the momentum created by today’s action in the Assembly. Contact your state senator and urge prompt action in the Senate to ban campaign fundraising during budget negotiations in the upper house as well. And contact Governor Jim Doyle to urge him to honor the fundraising hiatus and get behind efforts to write the policy into state law. While you’re at it, urge your state senator and the governor to get moving on other key reforms like the Impartial Justice bill overhauling state Supreme Court elections and electioneering disclosure legislation.

If you are not sure who your state senator is, go here.

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Three special interest groups that spent heavily in the last two state Supreme Court races are having second thoughts about a repeat performance this year. For more on this, go here.

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For years, Milwaukee Magazine has surveyed Capitol insiders to identify the best and worst legislators. For the latest installment, go here. While best-and-worst rankings always are intriguing, the most interesting thing about the article is what it has to say about the Legislature as a whole and how it has evolved over the last 20 years or so. And not for the better.