The End Of The Beginning
The Legislature convened in special session briefly today and passed a joint resolution of both houses adjourning the special session on campaign finance reform until January 15. This was expected and is in keeping with the way the Democracy Campaign and others in the reform community believe the session should proceed.
Between now and January 15 reform plans need to be finalized and drafted for introduction as special session bills, public hearings need to be held and committee work needs to be done to set the stage for the full Legislature to reconvene the special session.
When the governor called the special session for December 11, many mistakenly interpreted that to mean lawmakers would vote on reform legislation today. Not only would that have been impractical but also highly inappropriate because the Legislature would have been voting on measures the public had not had a chance to review and comment on.
Any kind of meaningful overhaul of Wisconsin's broken campaign finance system can't be accomplished in a day. It's been 30 years since the last major reform. Even the most impatient among us can surely wait 30 days so whatever lawmakers do can be done right and done in full view of the public with plenty of citizen input.
Today was the start of the special session. How it began is not important. How it ends is what matters.