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John Mercure: Mercurey Rising

Come on Mr. Speaker

Come Clean Mr. Speaker

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   So last year the legislature passed and Governor Jim Doyle signed a bill that allows the State School Superintendent to ban Indian mascots, logos, and banners if one person files a complaint saying they find it offensive.


   When Republicans regained control of both house of the legislature last year they indicated they would move quickly to overturn that law.  Now it looks like it's not going to happen and the reason may leave you shaking your head.


   When a bill is being considered, the Speaker of the Assembly, assigns it to a committee .  It's one of the perks of power.  The Speaker, in this case Jeff Fitzgerald, decides which committee will debate the bill, Mark it up, hold the public hearings etc.  Or the committee can decide to do nothing with the measure.


   So in the midst of several recall elections, a Supreme Court Race, and the uncertainty of the Governor's Collective Bargaining Bill, Fitzgerald begins to worry that this is too controversial and that the legislature already has too much on its plate.  He now needs to come up with a a plan to derail the measure without coming out and actually saying he is against it.  He decides he needs to make it go away.


   Guess what he does?  He assigns it to the Homeland Security and State Affairs committee, not the Education Committee where it has traditionally and historically been debated.  That's right, he assigned it to Homeland Security.  Why, you ask?  Great question.  Karl van Roy of Green Bay is the State Rep who chairs the committee.  He is one of only two Rep[ublican Assembly members on record as opposing lifting the ban on Indian mascots.  It turns out Van Roy's district borders the Oneida Tribe of Indians Reservation.  It also turns out that Oneida is the third largest employer in Green Bay.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.  So when the Speaker assigns this measure to Van Roy's committee he effectively kills the measure without getting his hands dirty.


   Come on, Mr. Speaker.  If you don't think this bill should be a priority then just man up and say it.  Kill it.  Don't try to back-door kill it.  Man up and come through the front door.  Either reassign it to another committee or kill it.

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