Why Lawmakers Are Rushing to Pass Unpopular Bill

In this update: 1. It’s big money vs. public opinion in mining deregulation debate 2. What’s so special about the road builders? 3. Supreme Court to take up case challenging political contribution limits 4. Federal court orders computers turned over in redistricting case 5. If you... Why Lawmakers Are Rushing to Pass Unpopular Bill

Email date: 2/27/13

In this update:
1. It’s big money vs. public opinion in mining deregulation debate
2. What’s so special about the road builders?
3. Supreme Court to take up case challenging political contribution limits
4. Federal court orders computers turned over in redistricting case
5. If you...

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It’s big money vs. public opinion in mining deregulation debate
Two polls – one by a conservative think tank and the other commissioned by an environmental group – show that most people in Wisconsin oppose relaxing environmental protections to clear the way for more mining in the state. So why has legislation that does what people say they don’t want already sailed through committees in both houses of the Legislature and why is it on the full Senate’s agenda today? As the Democracy Campaign pointed out recently, pro-mining interests have given legislators and the governor nearly $16 million in campaign contributions. Sixteen million dollars says to hell with public opinion. Sixteen million dollars says do it anyway.

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What’s so special about the road builders?
Governor Scott Walker just unveiled a budget proposal that transfers large sums of money from Wisconsin’s general fund that pays for things like education to the state transportation fund that primarily pays for road construction. That prompted the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to ask in an editorial this week why the governor and state legislators are going to such great lengths to prevent any money from ever being diverted from the transportation fund, even to the point of amending the state constitution to create a sort of lockbox for road funds.

“What makes the transportation fund special? Well, there are 5.2 million reasons,” the editorial says, citing the Democracy Campaign’s research showing campaign donations from road-building interests.

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Supreme Court to take up case challenging political contribution limits
The same legal team that was behind the Citizens United case that led to the legalization of unlimited election spending now has its sights set on doing away with limits on campaign contributions that were central features of Watergate-era reforms. And the U.S. Supreme Court is listening. It’s doubtful the justices will ask this question, so we will: How many people do YOU know who are bumping up against the “limitation” of donating no more than $123,000 every two years?

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Federal court orders computers turned over in redistricting case
A federal court unanimously ruled that computers used by the Legislature to produce politically gerrymandered district maps must be handed over to groups suing the state because “fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct likely occurred” in the 2011 redistricting process.

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If you...
If you value the Democracy Campaign shedding light on why state officials are in such a hurry to push through mining legislation the public does not support, and if you appreciate knowing why education funding and road funding are treated so very differently, please help make sure we can continue to do such research. If you like truth telling about both Republicans and Democrats, please do your part to enable that independent voice to continue to be heard.

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