Last week the leadership in the State Assembly killed two bills that would have restored Natural Resources Board appointment authority of the DNR Secretary. They did this despite the overwhelming support for the bills by hunters, anglers, and a broad array of legislators. The Senate version of the bill passed by a strong bipartisan 21-12 vote and the Assembly had forty-two sponsors. Virtually all Assembly Democrats supported the bill and a majority of Assembly Republicans also supported it. So why was the bill killed by the Assembly leadership?
Unfortunately, it seems that this happened because of the opposition by powerful business interests, like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and others. So even though a large and bipartisan majority of legislators supported the bill, the Assembly leadership decided to cave to the well moneyed business interests. WMC and the other special interests that objected to this bill spent $1.8 million on legislators in 2006 alone. It seems clear that the Assembly leadership are more beholden to them than to their own members or the 1.6 million hunters and anglers in the state.
This is yet another example in a long list of the corporate interests having a much louder and more powerful voice in the Capitol than the rest of us. In this case their voice was even stronger than a majority lawmakers in Madison. It is another example as to why we need to educate ourselves about these powerful groups and take action to make sure that our voices are heard. Please visit WMCWatch.org to learn as much as possible about Wisconsin’s corporate lobby. Then sign up to be a WMC Watcher so that we can be prepared to confront them the next time they put their narrow interests before the common good.