Legislature Adjourns

MNS – [Madison, Wisc…] The Wisconsin Legislature adjourned its regular session without passing controversial legislation to regulate energy production, revamp the  election process or establish non-elected taxing authorities for transit across the state. The Senate and the Assembly most likely will only reconvene next month to take up state contracts and technical corrections to previously-passed legislation.

The State Senate met and adjourned early Thursday afternoon before the State Assembly even began to tackle the bulk of their calendar. This move effectively killed the global warming bill as well as efforts to change the election law and establish several regional transit authorities.

“The Legislature did what was best for families and employers by not voting on the global warming bill,” said James Buchen, Vice President of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. “The bill would have increased utility bills, energy taxes, and hampered job creation without making an impact on global warming.”

The Senate’s action left Assembly Democrats visibly, and quite publicly, upset with their Senate colleagues.

Democrat Helen Kelda Roys (D-Madison) displayed her anger in a post on her Twitter feed. “Wow…I guess Senators get too tired to work more than a 2-hour workday.Tough life for them,” she wrote to her followers on the social media site.

After taking up some initial pro-forma matters in the morning The Assembly remained off the floor until around 5 pm Thursday, took a nearly four hour break beginning at 10:30 pm, and did not conclude their work until after 4 am Friday.

Assembly Republican Leader Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) called the entire session a failure and said the Democrats embarrassed themselves with how they ran the legislature and what they accomplished the last two years.

“With unemployment still ravaging the Wisconsin economy, Assembly Democrats ended the legislative session without meaningful action on jobs” said Fitzgerald. “The session started with $5 billion in tax increases and continued with an agenda popular only in Madison.”

The Assembly was able to pass a few measures onto the Governor for his signature, including a bill to give sweeping new powers to the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction to intervene in some failing schools, a proposal to regulate payday lenders and a bill which legalizes farm-to-consumer sales of untreated, raw milk.

Black and other supporters of the global warming bill said they hope to convince Governor Doyle to call the legislators back for a Special Session to deal, specifically, with that bill. However, Capitol observers believe such an option appeared unlikely given the public outcry in opposition to the legislation.