Political watchdog groups are more optimistic than ever about reform legislation. "The Impartial Justice Bill would remake state Supreme Court Elections, and put the candidates in a position of being able to communicate with voters, without jeopardizing their ability to be fair and impartial judges," says Mike McCabe with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Jay Heck with Common Cause in Wisconsin also sees the legislation as essential. "I think it would do what's happened in North Carolina, and this make the judiciary truly impartial, and free to make decisions based solely on the merits, and not with regard to any campaign contributions," Heck says.
Also up for a vote Tuesday in the Assembly Elections and Campaign Reform Committee, legislation that would require the disclosure of donors and regulation of money used in currently so called "phony issue ads." Heck and Mccabe say the fact that committee action is being taken on the bills even before work on state budget is completed, bodes well for reform.
"In the Assembly, it's safe to say we haven't seen legislation of this magnitude, on political reform, in twenty years," says Heck. "These bills should not only end up on the governor's desk this session, they should end up on the governor's desk this year," McCabe says.