Government and Political News: Democrats officially now have control of the State SenateWisconsin News
-- Republicans say they won’t stand in the way of Democrats as they’re about to take control of the Wisconsin Senate.
MADISON - Republicans say they won’t stand in the way of Democrats as they’re about to take control of the Wisconsin Senate. The transfer of power will take place as early as today, when the state Government Accountability Board plans to certify the results of the final recall election from June 5.
Republican Mike Ellis of Neenah will be the Senate’s president. And technically, the GOP will still control the Organization Committee that makes important administrations – including when the Senate will meet. Democrats want a floor session to name one of their own members, Madison’s Fred Risser, as the new Senate president. And Ellis says he and other Republicans will support that change. Ellis says the presidency belongs to the majority. And Democrats will be in control at least through the November elections, when about half the Senate seats are up. Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau says he’s confident his party will regain control in November. And for now, he says the GOP will not block Democrats from adopting their own housekeeping rules for the Senate. Except for some spending approvals by the finance committee, legislative activity is expected to be virtually nil until after November. Democrats secured their new majority yesterday, after Racine Republican Van Wanggaard said he would not file a lawsuit to challenge his recall election defeat to Democrat John Lehman.
Former Governor Jim Doyle will be a resident fellow at Harvard’s Institute-of-Politics this fall. The prestigious Massachusetts university says Doyle will lead study groups each week on a wide variety of issues. He’ll also take part in the intellectual life of the Harvard community. Several other fellows will join Doyle. They include Fortune magazine’s senior editor, Nina Easton – and Brett O’Donnell, a political strategist who worked on John McCain’s White House campaign four years ago. The Democrat Doyle has kept a very low profile ever since he left office a year-and-a-half ago after eight years as Wisconsin’s governor. He has only made rare public comments on issues, most recently after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Democrats’ national health care reform law.
Obama administration officials will host a meeting in Chicago this afternoon on efforts to keep the bloated Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Congress recently ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to speed up a study on possible options – including a closure of the Chicago area’s shipping canal which connects Lake Michigan with the carp-infested Mississippi River. Wisconsin and several other states have renewed their efforts to get the courts to force the closing of the canal, despite the recent congressional action. The Army Corps’ recommendations are now due next year instead of in 2015. Meanwhile, neighboring Minnesota is expressing a growing concern about the possibility that the invasive carp will reach Lake Superior – which is also a concern that affects the Badger State. But Charles Wooley of the U.S. Fish-and-Wildlife Service says it would be “extremely difficult” for Asian carp to get to Lake Superior, if they ever become established in southern Lake Michigan. But Deanna White of the Clean Water Action group says no one knows how long it will take for the Asian carp to get into Minnesota waterways, as they continue to creep up the Mississippi River. Minnesota officials say that if the carp ever get into Lake Superior, they’ll damage commercial fishing and tourism. Wisconsin officials have expressed the same concerns about Lake Michigan.