State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Ho-Chunk Nation missed its June30, 2008 deadline to make a payment to the state of Wisconsin for gambling operations. Since 2004, according to the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, the tribe has made only one payment, $30 million in 2006. The Ho-Chunk Nation now owes the state close to $100 million at a time when the state’s fiscal matters are fragile at best.
Why is the Ho-Chunk Nation refusing to make its payments? The tribe alleges that under a 2004 ruling by the state Supreme Court, Governor Doyle exceeded his authority by negotiating new Indian gaming compacts that expanded gambling into perpetuity. The Ho-Chunk Nation contends the value of its 2003 compact was reduced by the court’s 2004 ruling and has refused to make payments until a new agreement can be reached.
Some history is in order.
On May 13, 2004, the state Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision in Panzer v. Doyle, ruled that Governor Doyle exceeded his authority by agreeing to certain provisions in the 2003 amendments to the gaming compact between the state and the Forest County Potawatomi (FCP) Tribe by agreeing to expanded games, lengthening the compact to perpetuity, and waiving the state’s sovereign immunity.
After the 2004 ruling, Diane Sykes left the state Supreme Court to become a federal judge and was replaced by Governor Doyle’s appointee, Louis Butler. The change in the make-up of the court proved to be significant.
On July 14, 2006, the state Supreme Court ruled that a 1993 amendment to the state constitution approved by voters in a statewide referendum that stated Wisconsin has enough gambling and should not expand does not apply to Indian casinos. The court also affirmed the governor’s authority to renegotiate Indian gaming compacts, paving the way for a huge expansion of gaming at the Potawatomi facility in Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, the Ho-Chunk Nation continues to fight its case in court and is lagging on payments. The inaction is affecting the state budget. As I’ve written in the past, budgets have been drafted and approved assuming the Ho-Chunk Nation will make good on its payments, but that hasn’t happened. Taxpayers have made up the difference, and the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel reports the state has spent close to $1.4 million in legal bills to settle its dispute with the Ho-Chunk Nation.
It is concerning and very unfortunate that the issue of gambling has created a scenario that adversely affects taxpayers. Budgets adopted crossing our fingers and hoping the Ho-Chunk will come through with their payments is not sound budgeting.
My office prepared a state citation that was presented to Matt Singer at the special ceremony. It reads:
Whereas, Matt Singer is a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 530, and through dedication and commitment, attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and
Whereas, Matt Singer’s Eagle Scout project included creating over 170 hygiene packs for Saint Benedict the Moore Program, by securing soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, lotion, and socks from businesses, churches, and the community; and
Whereas, Matt Singer earned 47 merit badges, served his troop three times in the leadership positions of Patrol Leader, and Assistant Senior Patrol leader, and was elected to the Order of the Arrow; and
Whereas, Matt Singer is a 2008 graduate of Whitnall High School and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater with an interest in business; now
Therefore, the members of the Wisconsin State Senate on the motion of Senator Mary Lazich, commend Matt Singer for outstanding dedication and service to scouting. Matt Singer is further commended for successfully completing the requirements necessary to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honorable rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America.
My office prepared a state citation that was presented to Joshua Liimatta at the special ceremony. It reads:
Whereas, Joshua Raymond Liimatta is a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 40, and through dedication and commitment, attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and
Whereas, Joshua Raymond Liimatta’s Eagle Scout project included planning the expansion and improvement of the Buena Park volleyball courts by removing the sand, increasing the size of the court, putting new sand down, and constructing wooden courtside benches; and
Whereas, Joshua Raymond Liimatta earned 29 merit badges, served his troop in the leadership positions of Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop Scribe, and was elected to the Order of the Arrow: and
Whereas, Joshua Raymond Liimatta is a 2008 graduate of New Berlin West High School, and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering; now
Therefore, the members of the Wisconsin State Senate on the motion of Senator Mary Lazich, commend Joshua Raymond Liimatta for outstanding dedication and service to scouting. Joshua Raymond Liimatta is further commended for successfully completing the requirements necessary to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honorable rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America.
I am proud that Greendale, one of the great communities that I represent in Senate District 28, is competing in this year’s America in Bloom competition.
America In Bloom describes itself as “an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and both personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements, and to providing educational programs and resources to that end.”
Greendale is competing against Bemidji, Minnesota, Bexley, Ohio, Ironton, Ohio, Tipp City, Ohio and Warrenville, Illinois in the 10,001-15,000 population category.
Greendale residents have been busy fixing up their yards, planting flowers and picking up litter.
Judges will be surveying Greendale June 25 and 26.
I wish Greendale the best in their beautification projects and in the America in Bloom competition!