State lawmakers are being urged to slow down in developing ethics reform legislation, or they could end up just wasting their time. Public hearings at the Capitol last week on ethics legislation revealed major concerns about the proposal, such as where public officials accused of corruption will be tried and the bill's non-severable clause. Jay Heck with Common Cause in Wisconsin says lawmakers should take some time to fix those problems, rather than just pushing the bill through on the fast track. Heck says there should be no problem with taking an extra ten weeks to pass the correct bill.
At least 15 amendments are currently being considered in the Assembly. However, Republican leadership is sticking by a controversial non-severability clause. It would overturn the entire bill if parts of it are ruled unconstitutional. Heck is joining several lawmakers and District Attorneys who question whether that's a good idea. He even believes it suggests some leaders may not be that serious about passing a bill that can stand up to constitutional scrutiny.
An Assembly version of the bill, along with amendments, is expected to get a vote later today. Heck says the Senate may take more time with their version of the bill, which could help solve some of the current problems.
Leadership has said it wants to send a final version of the bill to the governor later this month.