Thursday, March 30, 2006

More Comments on the Secretive Hearings

As I noted below, there are a few more interesting tidbits from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article today that details the secretive hearings on the revenue amendment.

The most interesting of all is that amendment co-author, Wisconsin Senator Glenn Grothman, made the comment that the earliest this bill could come before the Wisconsin voters is November 2008.

Previously, Republican supporters hoped the amendment would pass the current legislative session, next year's session, and then wind up on a statewide ballot in 2007. It sounds like things might not be going too well in the attempt to muster legislative support for the amendment.

I can't imagine the authors of the marriage amendment ever felt this much resistance, especially considering their own party is in firm control of both the Senate and the Assembly.

Also, in my post below I noted that Grothman probably preferred the invitation-only hearings because he only had to hear those opinions he likes. That, to be fair, isn't accurate because there are certainly anti-amendment speakers who are invited to these hearings.

But what the lack of publicity surrounding these supposedly public hearings does suggest is that Grothman doesn't want to generate more bad press for the amendment.

To be sure, the meeting held yesterday in Germantown--the one largely kept from the media and the public--featured speakers from local government. Since the opposition to the amendment from local officials is well-known, perhaps Grothman didn't want the cameras there while invited speakers were railing against the amendment.

According to the JS article on the Germantown hearing: "Municipal and school officials from across the state have expressed their opposition to the amendment, saying it threatens services, economic development and school quality. The measure was almost unanimously denounced at Wednesday's hearing."

There is going to be another invitation-only hearing on the amendment next week. This one will feature speakers from special interest groups, presumably like the pro-amendment business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. It will be interesting to see if the media and the public are notified of that one.


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