Thanks to your vast efforts, the state Senate voted on AND approved AB 138, the bill to restore the Independent DNR Secretary yesterday!
Congratulations one and all. This is a huge victory for Wisconsin’s air, water, and open spaces.
A few details of how it all went down:
The Senate added a small technical amendment that would retain the part of the current law that allows the State Senate to approve the choice of the Secretary made by the Natural Resources Board.
Voting in FAVOR of final passage of the bill were Senators: Carpenter, Coggs, Cowles, Decker, Ellis, Erpenbach, Hansen, Holperin, Jauch, Kapanke, Kreitlow, Lassa, Lehman, Liebham, Miller, Plale, Risser, Schultz, Sullivan, Vinehout, and Wirch.
Be sure to contact your Senator to express your gratitude for their vote. You can learn how to contact them at: http://www.conservationvoters.org/Public/index.php?pageID=6
Voting AGAINST final passage of the bill were Senators: Darling, Fitzgerald, Grothman, Harsdorf, Hopper, Kanavas, Kedzie, Lasee, Lazich, Olsen, and Taylor.
Gov. Jim Doyle opposes the measure but he must sign it before it becomes law. If he vetoes it, that would put pressure on the Democratic-controlled Legislature to override it.
Under the bill, the secretary would be appointed by the Natural Resources Board, not the governor. The Senate would then have to confirm the choice.
Supporters say the move would take politics out of conservation decisions. Critics point out the governor still appoints the board and calling for Senate confirmation injects more politics in the process.
"Restoring the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary to the Natural Resources Board has been the long-standing position of Wisconsin sportsmen and women and the majority of other citizens," said Jack Nissen, president of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. "All aspects of the Department functioned better under the Board appointed system and it is time that the Board appointed system be restored."
Said Ralph Fritsch, chair of the Federation’s Wildlife Committee:
"Now the measure advances to Governor Doyle who campaigned for office repeatedly asking for sportsmen’s support, indicating that he would restore the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary back to the Natural Resources Board. Sportsmen and women throughout Wisconsin are respectfully asking the Governor to honor his word and commitment to us."