Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Al Lassee--Daft or Dangerous?

Al Lassee, who evidently thinks that he is an Emperor, doesn't worry about stuff like "open meetings" laws.

You recall that Al Lassee ALSO believes in Taxation Without Representation--the now-dead automatic gas tax increase...

In any case, a committee approved the bill last week by circulating written ballots to the office of the committee chairman, Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), rather than by a vote in a public meeting. The balloting came five months after a Dane County judge ruled the practice violates the state's open meetings law.

It took considerable maneuvering by Senate President Alan Lasee (R-De Pere) to get the measure to a vote.

The first committee he sent it to indicated it would not pass the measure, so he sent it to a second committee. When that committee declined to act, Lasee directed the bill to the Energy, Utilities and Information Technology Committee.

That committee has no oversight of legal and insurance matters, but does have a sympathetic chairman in Cowles.

...In December, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess ruled that legislative leaders violated the open meetings law in 2003 by deciding to fire the Legislature's top two computer workers by ballot. Last week, he ordered the state to pay about $40,000 in legal fees for the fired workers.

Until his ruling, Senate committees routinely voted by ballot. Since then, committees have voted by ballots just twice.

Both times, the votes came from Cowles' committee.

For perhaps the first time in recorded history, I think Ed Garvey is right:

"They ought to be following their own rules and applying them to themselves," [Garvey] said. "Either you believe in open government or you don't."

In effect, the legislation would force insurance companies to pay cleanup costs for the Fox River, regardless of the terms of the insurance policy. This will take the paper companies off the hook. Gee. I guess that there are no casualty-insurers located in Lassee's district!

As observed elsewhere in blogdom, an ethics bill (1188) ... completely ignores a group of people who collect a state paycheck and benefits and do nothing but campaign for the five months prior to the election: state legislators. The tail is pinned on the donkey here.

Scratch "donkey" above. Make it Jackass.

HT: The American Mind

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