State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Senate Democrats scheduled an executive session for Tuesday in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Great Lakes Compact legislation. There are 153 pages in the Great Lakes Compact bill, Senate Bill 523. Monday, 33 amendments were added to the bill. Less than 24 hours later, the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources was scheduled to vote on the heavily amended bill.
It was unconscionable to expect the committee, concerned parties and the general public to review and comprehend this complex bill in such a short amount of time.
The committee recessed Tuesday, came back to work Wednesday, narrowly approved the bill on a 3-2 vote, and then the full state Senate voted on the bill, with less than 24 hours to prepare, in addition to a full Senate calendar.
I fully expect the same process to play out next as Senate Democrats unveil their government health care plan.
Having massive bills like the amended Great Lakes Compact dropped in your lap with little time to review is unreasonable, especially during a week like this past week. Consider the following that occurred during Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in addition to the 153 page and 33 amendment compact bill:
- Some of the committees I serve on met at the same time.
- Six committee meetings.
- Executive voting sessions in the committees on 24 bills.
- Public hearings in committees on 22 bills.
- Two days on the Senate floor.
- Votes on the state Senate floor on 42 bills.
This manner of governing, ramming through complex bills abruptly at the last minute without appropriate time to review is extremely unfair to legislators and the constituents they represent.