The blue band muddies the waters
January 24, 2013
Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are doing what they always do when someone tries to create jobs that aren’t on government payrolls: They’re cooking up ways to derail the idea while attempting to obscure their hostility to private business.
As Republicans introduced a new bill revising and reforming Wisconsin law to enable the return of iron mining, Democrats were angling to gum up the works. Last Friday, a half-dozen Assembly Democrats sent a sweet-sounding letter to the Republican chairs of the relevant committees, asking for public hearings and expert testimony.
Since it’s a no-brainer that those things will happen anyway, our guess is that the letter is intended to give Democrats an excuse to oppose the bill claiming the process was tainted because hearings aren’t being conducted in precisely the manner they requested.
Yesterday, the handwringing officially began with a press release from Senator Bob Jauch and Rep Janet Bewley.
“This is just another arrogant show of disrespect to the citizens of Northern Wisconsin, who have had to fight to have their voices heard throughout this process, despite the fact that they would be the ones most affected by the proposed mine” said Jauch. “Not only will this hearing be next to impossible for most north woods citizens to attend, those who are able will have their testimony limited. The chairs clearly have their minds made up about the future of the bill, making this a cruel hoax, not a public hearing.”
We have a question for Senator Jauch.
How easy was it for people from the north woods to attend Democrat Senator Cullen’s hearings in the same room last month? Senator Jauch sat on the committee and never mentioned that his constituents weren’t heard. In fact, they couldn’t have their testimony heard because Jauch wouldn’t allow anyone he didn’t invite to speak. Former DNR Secretary and lefty agitator George Meyer testified twice, but the hardware store owner from Hurley Jauch was supposed to represent never got to speak once.
The fact of the matter is that there were several public hearings on mining legislation last year, including more than one public hearing in Hurley. Of course, things didn’t turn out so well for Senator Jauch and Rep. Bewley the last time they discussed mining with their constituents.
Meanwhile, Janesville Senator Tim Cullen, who’s building a whole second career on seeming to support mining legislation, is complaining that the Republican bill’s 480-day timeline to decide whether permit applications are approved is too fast for the Army Corps of Engineers.
That will allow Democrats to claim they supported mining legislation no matter how relentlessly they oppose it.
It should surprise no one that the early going suggests another straight party-line affair. Democrats will spend the next several weeks bellowing their support for mining jobs, and they’ll kill the bill if Republicans allow them the latitude to do it.