Walker, GOP move to ram anti-victim lead poisoning bill through quickly; Must be a lot of money at stake | WisCommunity

Walker, GOP move to ram anti-victim lead poisoning bill through quickly; Must be a lot of money at stake

There must be a lot of anti-recall money at stake, because Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican cronies in the legislature are moving at breakneck speed to pass a bill to take away the rights of children poisoned by lead paint from collecting from the paint companies who manufactured the stuff, as

On exactly 24 hours notice, the State Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a for Thursday, Jan. 19, only on SB-373, the bill that would overturn a State Supreme Court decision allowing the victims to sue paint manufacturers.

UPDATE: Here's a to Wisconsin Eye video of the hearing.

The bill was just introduced on Jan. 10, the day after things went badly for the poison merchants in a federal appeals court hearing in Chicago. Within hours of the hearing, State Sen. Glenn Grothman ordered the bill jacketed and introduced it the next day.

What the bill would do would throw out cases filed by 173 victims trying to collect for injuries done to them by lead paint. Some have been pending for several years, but the bill would retroactively kill those lawsuits.

That certainly doesn't sound fair. Is it constitutional? State Sen. Jon Erpenbach asked the Legislative Council aboiut that.

The Legislative Council is perhaps the most non-partisan agency in state government. Its employees scrupulously remain free from participating in politics. They were created as a reliable reference, and have a spotless reputation.

The replying to Erpenbach was cautious; no one can predict what any court will do. But the memo said:

Although it is impossible to predict how a court would apply this test in a similar circumstance, based on prior holdings of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the retroactive elements of the bill raise significant constitutional concerns.

The memo went on to cite three specific cases in which the court found retroactive legislation to be unconstitutional.

Enter now Scott Walker, heretofore hiding behind Grothman and his cronies. Outraged by the Leg Council's memo, Walker offered by an unidentified author (perhaps someone with an interest in the bill?), arguing the bill was indeed constitutional.

There must be a lot of money riding on swift passage of this bill. He's been in office for a year, and it just got to be a top priority in the last week. Who wants it done, and how much are they offering? Inquiring minds want to know.

The hearing is on Thursday, January 19, at 2:15 PM in 425 Southwest, State Capitol. Expect to see a lot of well-prepared lobbyists and business interests there. Don't expect to see many victims on 24 hours notice.


January 18, 2012 - 8:19pm