Friday, January 25, 2013

Wisc. lawmakers crack down on ... citizens

When the going gets weird in Wisconsin, the weird hide from the public.

The Wisconsin Legislature now forbids citizens to photograph, film or audio record public Senate or Assembly hearings. Lawmakers decided to exempt themselves from the state's open meetings law, which says:
Whenever a governmental body holds a meeting in open session, the body shall make a reasonable effort to accommodate any person desiring to record, film or photograph the meeting.
The Appleton Post Crescent isn't pleased:
Can you think of any place in the world where you aren’t allowed to sit quietly and check your email on a smartphone, browse the Web on your iPad or even read the newspaper?
We can: Wisconsin’s Senate and Assembly galleries. 
You be the judge. Their new rules say visitors can’t use any electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops; can’t have newspapers or books; can’t photograph anything; and can’t display signs... 
Wisconsin residents must be allowed to record their government’s proceedings. What if a senator falls asleep at his desk and a voter wants proof? What if a representative makes a speech that’s so inflammatory, a voter thinks others should know about it?
Then there's this (thanks to blue cheddar):
At present, when the Governor signs a bill, the Secretary of State has 10 days to publish the new law, which then goes into effect. 
The Governor wants to change the rule so that new laws go into effect the day after he signs them, published or not. 
You wonder what they're afraid of. Oh wait...