The recently ended legislative session leaves one Capitol observer unimpressed. Mike McCabe with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says he can't remember a two year session of the legislature that accomplished so little, especially when you consider the number of issues that could have been addressed. “Whether you agree with it or not, there would be a statewide ban on smoking,” says McCabe. “There would be major overhauls to our health care system, there would be some action on dealing at the state level with global warming emissions. There would be action on the Great Lakes Compact.”
None of those things were accomplished, although McCabe notes lawmakers did have time for issues such as what to call the tree in the rotunda. “They'll spend lots of time talking about whether it should be a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree,” notes McCabe. “But when it comes to health care or education or the environment, or issues that really matter to the future of this state, this legislature does absolutely nothing and they're completely paralyzed.”
McCabe blames that paralysis on the influence of special interest groups — and the large amount of money they make available to legislators seeking reelection.