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Monday, November 14, 2016

Wisconsin Voters Deliver Mandate: Dismantle State's Open Record Laws

Not too long ago twelve Wisconsin legislators, all republicans, voted in committee to gut Wisconsin's good government open record laws. The push back from the media market including ordinary citizens was fast and furious, almost to the intensity of the Act 10 protests in 2011. The committee assignment was quickly scrapped.

A few of those legislators recanted saying it was a mistake to go there in the first place and that they have no plans to revisit the idea in the future. However, most of them either held back a response or played word games about the subject claiming on one hand they support open government, but on the other think their office privacy needs to be protected. They still insist to this day that "reform" is needed.

On Election Tuesday, eight of the twelve legislators were up for re-election in their respective districts and every one of them won easily. Granted, state legislative districts in Wisconsin are deeply gerrymandered, but that still doesn't explain why voters would ignore their earlier attack on open records. Apparently, the majority wants those rules dismantled.

Now, some might say they have polls showing the opposite, that a majority of Wisconsinites want to keep existing records laws intact. But the only poll that counts is on election day. For whatever reason, given what we know about certain legislator's desires to gut open records laws, voters did not connect that issue to the candidates. Could it be that it's just not that important to voters?

To ice that cake even further, Wisconsin democrats who oppose changes to the state's open records laws - as a party - lost more seats on Tuesday!

The message is clear. Voters are telling state legislators they can plant the seed, initiate the process and there will be no repercussions at the polls. So with that, I believe those twelve legislators were given the green light on the state's open record laws where they left off.


JB said...

How many of those legislators ran on the issue? None is my guess. Far more important to the vote were ads run against Dems by out-of-state interest groups and by the Widow Hendricks, and the R after a candidate's name.

Lou Kaye said...

Of course none of those GOP legislators ran on the issue. But that's exactly what made it even more important for Dems to run on it AND run ads hard against them on it.

Wisconsin Dems could have easily put together a 30 second TV or web ad with the names of the twelve scrolling all points bulletin style asking voters to beware of these person's intentions to gut open records. And run those ads in those twelve district markets with GIF google ads targeting local newspapers.

"Far more important to the vote were ads run against" THAT is so important because negative campaigning, so long as they are not personal attacks - work. Democrats including Feingold played nicey-nicey with their opponents and got shellacked.

Honestly, current officials of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin should resign and turn it over to me and about a half-dozen bloggers of my choosing. We could not do any worse. That's a fact.

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