There’s another attempt at the Capitol to change how the Department of Natural Resources secretary is selected. Lawmakers have reintroduced a proposal that allows the state Natural Resources Board to appoint the head of the agency, instead of the governor.
State Representative Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) says the change is needed because the DNR should not be tied to just the current administration. She says allowing the Board to name the Secretary to a four year term would allow for more continuity in state environmental policies, and would avoid the agency moving solely in the direction the governor wants to take.
The Ashland Democrat says it makes sense for governors to appoint cabinet secretaries in other agencies, but environmental concerns should be free from political influences. She says the governor would still have some say in who heads the DNR because they do get to appoint members of the board during their term.
Lawmakers have made several attempts to enact the change in past sessions. A version of the bill passed last session, but was vetoed by then-Governor Jim Doyle. Bewley believes there’s still strong support for the proposal and she hopes it will see action this session.