An esteemed Isthmus veteran recently told me that the Dems have not yet proven that they deserve control of the legislature. They haven't done anything they promised to do, he said. Would he change his mind if they manage to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act?
It's hard for me to believe Democrats are going to get any meaningful energy legislation through during an election year. From what I've heard, the response to this plan mirrors that of the Cap-and-Trade hullabuloo in D.C. No, you haven't heard anything about Cap-and-Trade recently because it doesn't look like it's going to pass anytime soon. Even Russ Feingold said he thought the plan might "rip off Wisconsin." The GOP is using it as a major talking point to paint the Dems as out of touch with the needs of recession-stricken working people.
Similarly, a source who's been working for the passage of the state bill told me it is unlikely there would be any Republican support at all. That means the Assembly and Senate Dem caucuses have to remain almost completely united. In the Senate only one Dem can vote against in the Assembly there are three passes to give out.
Make that two. Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer, a Democrat who has made it his career mission to vocally oppose his party on every major policy initiative for every conceivable reason. Sometimes he cites the opinion of his constituents, and other times he comes to the unfortunate conclusion that the popular opinion is woefully mislead.
So it's not surprising to see the Democrats acquire a more flexible understanding of comprehensive energy reform:
The prevailing sentiment is that transportation fuel standards linked to California vehicle emissions standards and another designed to promote low-carbon fuels will be taken out of the bill.
Also, the 25% renewable energy mandate by 2025 is expected to include language that will count improvements in energy conservation and energy efficiency toward the goal.
It will be interesting to see if the legislature leaders start adding goodies for wavering legislators as well.