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Thursday, February 10, 2011

 1:30 PM 

Senate debating rule-making overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the bill is necessary because the rule-making process has been handled sloppily by legislators.

"When we write bills ... we were doing a poor job of articulating exactly what we wanted our bills to say and what the scope of the legislation should be," Fitzgerald said.

Because of the inexact drafting of bills by lawmakers, the fine details were left up to agency employees, Fitzgerald said.

"Bureaucrats had more power and the legislative intent was not being met," he said.

Sen. Fred Risser said the bill raises a fundamental question about the separation of powers and the role of the Legislature in writing new laws.

"It's really a dictatorial takeover of the rule-making process by the governor," Risser, D-Madison, said.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, said the bill is a "power grab" by the guv.

"If we pass this bill we might as well rename the governor's mansion the governor's castle," Miller said.

Fitzgerald disagreed, saying the bill corrects problems in the current system "sets a course to bring back strong rules that ultimately will protect the integrity of this body."

Sen. Jim Holperin, D-Conover, said the bill continues the trend of "governing by symbolism and brand management" that has run through this special session.

He said if rules were not being promulgated to meet legislative intent, it is the lawmakers' own fault for "a lack of interest or lack of assertiveness" in ensuring they go through the process correctly.

"There is nothing wrong with the administrative rules process we have on the books today," he said.


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