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Have a few beers, get attention from lawmakers

By Joe Yovino

The Wisconsin Legislature worked early into the morning on Wednesday.

They’re tired. I get it.

But there’s another group out there that’s also tired … tired of waiting.

Major pieces of legislation pertaining directly to the construction industry remain on the table.  With debates on regional transit and clean energy lurking in the background, the Legislature is quickly running out of time in this session, which is scheduled to wrap on Thursday. After that, many lawmakers will return to their “day jobs” and won’t convene as a group again until 2011 (unless the governor calls a special session).

The bills, should they still be vetted by the Legislature during this session, would have to clear both the Assembly and the Senate in one day, an unlikely scenario.

And that’s too bad.

The regional transit bill could have meant almost a trillion dollars in stimulus money dumped into Wisconsin’s economy. That translates directly into jobs, almost 13,000 of them, according to a good discussion we have stemming from a letter to the editor on dailyreporter.com.

The renewable energy bill is designed to reduce the amount being spent on petroleum, coal and natural gas from outside the state.

The bill would mandate a quarter of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2025. Everybody agrees on that. What isn’t agreed upon is the result: Some business leaders and Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker say the bill will drive up utility costs and cost thousands of jobs, while environmentalists and Gov. Jim Doyle argue the opposite would occur.

At least the Assembly did pass one piece of legislation Tuesday night. It handed Rep. Jeff Wood, who was arrested for driving under the influence three times in less than a year, a censure.

Whatever that means.

Joe Yovino is the web editor at The Daily Reporter. He was kidding about that “Whatever that means” statement. It means Wood received a severe reprimand, but has no practical consequences on his pay or status, according to the AP. Whatever that means.

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