Second hand ethanol smog-free zone
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to talk to your senators.”
Paul Zimmerman of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation
First, the good news. My spies (on loan from the National Security Agency) tell me that the rumor is true. There are currently not enough votes to pass the Ethanol Mandate bill. The bad news, State Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz doesn’t care, and by hook or by crook (this is Madison, after all) they will get the Ethanol Mandate to the State Senate floor for a vote. And then the real arm twisting begins.
If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.
– Michael Corleone, Godfather II
If history has taught us anything about Governor Doyle, who wants the ethanol bill, he can find one vote.
Right now there are two key state senators on the ethanol mandate bill.
The first senator is Democrat Judy Robson of Beloit. Normally Robson is the stereotypical “if it could save just one child” Democrat. However, “saving just one child” in this case means voting against the less fuel efficient, more costly, higher polluting ethanol mandate. Tough to do when the governor sends out the heavyweights to twist arms.
Tomorrow, the State Senate Committee on Organization will meet to decide if the ethanol mandate bill should go on the agenda. The committee members are Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz (in favor), Senator Lasee (in favor), Senator Kedzie (against), Senator Hansen (against) and the swing vote Senator Robson.
Now for some more bad news. Even if the committee doesn’t place it on the agenda, Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz may still yank it out of committee onto the floor. For some reason, Schultz and the pro-ethanol mandate forces are determined to have the vote and get their members on record on the issue, even if the bill could fail. I believe it’s because if they get the bill to the floor, they plan to lean on Senator Fitzgerald to get him to support the bill.
Fitzgerald does not want this bill to come to a vote. He does not want to go on the record one way or the other. If he votes for the bill, conservatives will never forgive him. If he votes against the bill, the farm lobby and the ethanol lobby will never forgive him. Fitzgerald needs more pressure from his constituents on this issue. Ring his phone right off the wall (but be polite to his staff).
Update! Owen at Boots and Sabers has an update from his spies on today’s committee meeting.
Here’s a note from another friend:
I have learned that Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz announced in closed caucus to the Senate Republicans last night that he has secured the votes necessary to move the ethanol mandate out of Senate Org and to the floor for tomorrow’s session.
If it’s true that means they got Robson.