Saturday, March 22, 2008

Compact argument

State Senator Mary Lazich has an article in the Small Business Times that explains her vote against the Great Lakes Compact. Lazich gives two reasons: the speed with which the Senate passed it (with 33 amendments on the implementation) and the single-governor veto.

Lazich herself points out that she sat on a committee that looked at the proposed Great Lakes Compact for a year and a half as a way of demonstrating her expertise on the subject. After eighteen months even a slow reader should be able to cite every phrase and comma and footnote in the Compact. To complain about the number of amendments thrown in at the last minute is really to do herself a disservice. Surely Lazich could have turned to her colleagues as each amendment was introduced (even at lightning speed) and said which were the good, the bad and the ugly. That Lazich still cannot point to a single flaw in any of the amendments that would have been fatal to her support even two weeks after they were passed.

As for the single-governor veto, this is an issue which we've discussed here before. But Lazich helps my case, even as she argues against it.

To relinquish our sovereignty to a regional body of governors that can make changes after the compact is adopted is unacceptable. Where else do we have a dictatorial or totalitarian form of government where we give up our decision-making authority?

I do not support a document that relinquishes our sovereignty to another state.
Aside from the misuse of the terms "dictatorial or totalitarian", she does inadvertently find the key to the debate: no state will willingly yield it's sovereignty over the Great Lakes. But Lazich will have a hard convincing any state that it should yield such sovereignty to a majority vote, especially when under current federal law they already have absolute sovereignty - the veto power to which she objects. Does she think that Wisconsin will maintain an absolute veto, but that other states will yield theirs?

More importantly, why should Wisconsin want to yield it's power over diversions from the Great Lakes to a majority vote of other states?

Finally, after 18 months of committee time, two weeks after the vote, despite Lazich's assurance it is so, nobody has stepped forward and said what is so objectionable about the proposed compact that doesn't already exist in current law. Someone with the extensive time spent on this issue Lazich claims as the basis of her expertise should be able to find some flaw in the pact and articulate it, or else she should concede that she is opposed to any compact.