I wondered aloud last week if the Clean Energy Jobs Act, one of Doyle's signature policy initiatives, still has a chance of being enacted this session.
Carol Gruba, a local energy wonk, believes the legislation will be passed on the last day of the session, April 22. Like everybody else I've talked to, Gruba predicts that the final draft will be quite a bit different from the original, including some concessions from legislature Democrats.
On Friday I talked to a lobbyist working on the legislation who told me that the Advanced Renewable Tariffs would definitely be out. These would allow independent producers of alternative energy, whether that's a farmer with a windmill or a co-op of people burning biomass, access to utility company's power grids. The government would pay the small producers a fixed price in return for the energy. Apparently it's worked well in other countries and Carol seems to be a big fan. Oh well.
Politically, this could be tough. The Democrats have appeared very nervous to do anything else big during an election year. However, if I am to believe the numbers released by the Mellman Group, a polling firm that usually works for Democrats, the bill might actually be good politically for the Dems. Majorities in Senate and Assembly swing districts support the Clean Energy Jobs Act after hearing a brief description of the bill. Furthermore, after hearing arguments from both sides, including a tirade against "Governor Doyle and his friends in the legislature," Democrats and Independents support the bill.
But the GOP message, as predictable as that has become, cannot be replicated by pollsters. The coverage in the media is more important, and much less easy to foresee.