UPDATED: Between Wisconsin Senate And Assembly Vote, Power Plant Sales Reappear

A big thank-you to xoff at UppityWisconsin for this find. Remember that power plant provision? It wasn't in the document passed by the Senate on Wednesday. But guess what! It was changed before the Assembly vote on Thursday to include it.

Thursday, the fiscal bureau was forced to correct its memo describing the bill, after unearthing some more buried treasure. Seems there were a few things the original memo forgot to mention:

There are two items in the LFB's March 10 document that are not reflected in the March 9 document.

1. The March 10 document includes a provision of the substitute amendment on the Earned Income Tax Credit (page 3, #1).

2. The March 10 document includes a provision of the substitute amendment on the Sale and Contractual Operation of State-Owned Power Plants (page 20, #1)


Here are images of the table of contents:

Wednesday's version - PDF (This was the one I used for my analysis):


Thursday's version - PDF (voted on by Assembly as amended):


Here's the language in the second version of the document:

Governor: Allow the Department of Administration (DOA) to sell any state-owned heating, cooling, or power plant or contract with private entities for the operation of any such plant,
with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount the Department determines to be in the best
interest of the state.

As a reminder, that power plant provision points directly to Koch Industries, who is already advertising for power plant managers.

Someone just pulled a fast one in Wisconsin. A fast one that should be illegal for so many reasons I can't count them all. But let's just call it this: Fraud. When will the Attorney General investigate?

In the meantime, Scott Walker makes the specious and disgusting claim that the only dirty tricksters are the heroic Wisconsin 14. He gives the term "sociopath" new meaning.

Update: I just spent a couple of hours going through the Wisconsin statutes, as published today. There were three iterations of the Budget Repair Bill, as published on the site. The March 10th report linked above outlines all three, so for consistency I'm going to refer to them as that report does. There is the Governor's bill, the Joint Finance, and the Conference Committee version.

The Governor's bill had the plant sale provision as originally reported earlier by Heather. The Joint Committee resolution modified that provision in certain respects, but did not materially change the basics. It added a review period and required a cost-benefit analysis, among other things. The Conference Committee version stripped everything out relating to sale or lease of facilities, leaving only the language pertaining to debt service.

According to what I can find on the Wisconsin Legislature site, the version which is now law includes the sale provisions as agreed to by the Joint Finance committee. State Senator Chris Larson confirmed that awhile ago on twitter, too. He also said he thought the two bills were identical as passed.

One of two things is going on here. Either the "Conference Committee" was a sham and they passed a bill which actually required a bigger quorum to pass, given the fiscal impact; OR, they substituted the Joint Finance version in the Assembly to include the broader powers after passing the narrower version in the Senate.

Either way, it's a bait and switch, and if it's the former, then it would seem to me that the Senate action should be easily nullified since they did not have the required quorum to pass such a bill.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.