Thursday, May 7, 2009

Your Politicians In Action

It may not make it all the way to the guv's desk, but there's a proposal from the powerful Joint Finance Committee to take the state's legal notices of meetings out of the newspaper and put them online.

Since our state has a tremendous open meetings law, when the politicians get together to foist things on us, they have to "notice" their meetings to the public, whether it's the latest scheme to whack CWD, or a plan to change or add business regulations, and scores of other things.

The way it works now is the state agency places the ad in the Wisconsin State Journal, telling us about the meeting. You ignore that section of the paper where the notices run, but that's the way it works. In theory, if a meeting is "big" enough, the hard-working news reporters of the area pick up on it and do a story, which you may actually read. According to the State Journal, this would cost them about 150 grand a year in revenue. The state Newspaper Association doesn't like this idea one bit. And there are a couple Republicans who think this is just horrible, Bert Darling of River Hills, one of the richest suburbs in the state, who claims she's against it because not everyone has access to the internet.

While I’m certain that's NOT the case in River Hills, my guess is she's posturing for the poor folks up north, or whatever. It's true, not everyone has access to the internet to read the notices, if they decide to put them onlne rather than in print. But not everyone has access to transportation to GO to the meetings, either....and - here it comes - not everyone reads English. Putting the state's notices online is fine with me. You're reading this on the internet, and probably getting much of your news here anyway.

Oh, and nice job on the smoking ban - finally. Great-grandpa Risser wanted it to kick in today, but it’s not going to take effect until next summer. Politics is compromise, so much horse-trading was done to get to a deal. I suspect the folks in my old stomping ground in the rural Fox Valley (and points north) will simply ignore the ban, as another one of those “Madison” things….even though the folks in Appleton passed a ban a while ago.

What I don’t like that came out of the compromise with the Tavern League is that it prevents bars and restaurants from prohibiting smoking on outdoor patios. So, two years from now, on a gorgeous May day like today, us non-smokers will have to stay inside our favorite establishments, while the smokers foul the air on the patio.

1 comment:

  1. This expatriate denizen of the great Badger State is glad to learn that some things do not change and that Mt. Effluvius -- that being the chalky-looking pile of stone bifurcating Madison's Washington Avenue -- is still its noxious old self.