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Tuesday - June 13, 2017 9:00 am

WI lawmakers need to step back into the light

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We reasonably expect our lawmakers to conduct the people's business in public. Typically that means committees schedule meetings, providing at least 24 hours notice, so that interested people can attend, and perhaps share their opinions. That is the way our democracy is supposed to be work. But in Wisconsin, our lawmakers are literally mailing it in. A disturbing trend has arisen in Madison, where some committees aren't even bothering to meet in person to decide the people's business. Instead, rather than holding public meetings, committees are using mail ballots to vote on proposed legislation. That is not the way government should function. If votes are conducted by mail ballots, there is no chance for the public to weigh in with their testimony. We don't know what they are voting on, and there is no way to know a vote is even scheduled. And it can be costly to taxpayers. Voting by mail means lawmakers can only cast an up or down vote. There can be no amendments offered, there is no room for debate. When lawmakers in 2013 voted to hire a law firm to defend the state's controversial redistricting, that vote came by mail ballot, so lawmakers couldn't even negotiate the firm's billing rate. Our lawmakers need to stop this secret process and do their work in the light of day.

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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