When playing football against Zombies, don’t reach for the celebratory Gatorade bucket until all the time has run off the clock.
Blame it on a combination of the lack of sleep as a result of monitoring late-night legislative sessions and a healthy cynicism from two decades of working around the Capitol in Madison, but that sentence made complete sense to me as I wrote it this morning.
What’s of primary concern to our readers/viewers/followers/friends/fans today?
- The Global Warming Bill
- The Elections Fraud Facilitation Act
- The Madison Educational Bureaucracy Empowerment Plan
- The establishment of non-elected Regional Taxing Authorities for transit
As of this writing, all four of these proposals are on life support. But they are not dead yet.
As my colleague Brett Healy pointed out in his instant classic on the Silly Season, anything can happen in the waning days (and especially hours) of a legislative session. Most of the action takes place behind the scenes and it will be weeks, if ever, before the citizenry of Wisconsin know exactly what deals were cut and why they were made.
The horse trading, deal making, ego stroking and amendment drafting could be fierce today.
Supporters of each of those aforementioned bills will be pursuing every plausible and many improbable avenues to get their ideas passed by both houses today. While it is possible that all four proposals could stall and die today, it’s also possible that all four could be in the mix with other pieces of legislation (like the wage lien bill) and that Democratic leaders could strike a massive deal behind the scenes at any point in the next few hours.
So, it’s a scary thought but entirely possible that all four proposals could pass in both houses, in rapid succession, over the course of less than an hour. The majority party has extraordinary parliamentary powers to limit debate, and we’ve seen these powers abused on more than one occasion.
At the same time, the Senate could whip through just their publicized calendar and adjourn by 1pm, before the Assembly ever gets to the floor today. The only certainty in Silly Season is uncertainty.
ll let you know.
The center-right coalition, the fiscal sanity caucus and others who are hoping to limit the damage coming out of Madison must forget about the victory celebration until the final gun sounds. The defensive coordinator must remain vigilant and shouldn’t get the Gatorade shower when the undead are on the field and there is time left on the clock.
Oh, and did I mention that even then, it may not be over? There is a limited floor period scheduled for May wherein bills that have passed one house may still be considered, with a little maneuvering*.
Taxpayers need a break, and I clearly need some sleep. Hopefully we can catch a little of both today.
Until it’s over, though, we’ll stay awake. You stay tuned.
By Brian Fraley
A MacIver Institute Perspective
*Clarification about May:
Under Senate Joint Resolution 1, the session schedule for the 2009-10 biennial session period, there are two floor periods in May. The first floor period, from May 4 to May 6, is a limited-business floor period. Under SJR 1 and the joint rules, only the following items are eligible for action: revisor’s correction or revisor’
s revision bills, reconciliation bills to correct mutually inconsistent acts of the session, proposals recalled because they cannot be properly enrolled, state employee contracts, and legislative citations.
The second floor period, from May 25 to May 26, is a veto review floor period. Under SJR 1 and the joint rules, only the following items are eligible for action: gubernatorial vetoes or partial vetoes, pending nominations requiring Senate confirmation, revisor’s correction or revisor’
s revision bills, reconciliation bills to correct mutually inconsistent acts of the session, proposals recalled because they cannot be properly enrolled, state employee contracts, and resolutions and joint resolutions introduced by either committee on organization.
But, and this is a big caveat, the Legislature always has the authority to extend a floor period, call itself into extraordinary session, or otherwise amend SJR 1 such as expanding the jurisdiction of a particular floor period (e.g., creating a list of bills which may be considered or allowing bills which have passed one house to be considered). Moreover, the Governor could always call a special session. If we’ve learned anything it’s that in Madison, anyting (bad) is possible.