You can’t have it both ways with SB55
By Ben Rodgers
Hypocrisy is a funny thing, especially when it’s staring you in the face.
I live in Brown County, but not in Green Bay, and as a concerned citizen, I recently called my state senator to express my displeasure in Senate Bill 55 (SB55).
This is the bill that could allow for less governmental transparency and at the same time take away revenue from small newspapers (like the one you are currently reading).
His staff member said it’s a bill to save municipal governments money because they would no longer have to publish public notices in print and could just put them on their own websites.
Never mind the fact that this opens a slew of doors for possible contamination of those notices, and makes following your municipal government that much more difficult.
We also rely on those public notices to help pay the bills, and publishing them is an honor and responsibility we take very seriously.
We currently publish these notices for the Green Bay, Ashwaubenon, Howard-Suamico, De Pere and West De Pere school districts, along with the village governments of Ashwaubenon, Howard, Suamico and Hobart.
I was told the senator would vote in favor of the bill, and lo and behold, he was one of 20 senators to do just that.
To me, this is water off a duck’s back. He voted the way most in his party wanted him to vote and ignored my concerns as a constituent.
So you can imagine the look on my face was that of shock when his office audaciously sent a column to be published in these pages.
A state senator votes to restrict government transparency and hurt small newspapers at the same time, and then wants us to publish his column in a small newspaper at no cost?
“I voted to hurt your business and undermine the entire reason for your existence,” he just as well could have said. “Please run my column.”
Sorry senator, it doesn’t work that way, especially when so much is at stake.
I understand we have a duty to inform readers, so here are his talking points so I can rest confidently: We can’t roll back Act 10, the governor wants to implement too much in taxes, and we need more election integrity (i.e. measures to make it more difficult to cast an absentee ballot).
His vote to hurt newspapers and decrease government transparency was supported by all but two senators in his party.
Contact your state representatives and tell them to vote against SB55.
Let them know Wisconsin’s Legislature can’t ignore the concerns of constituents and act like it’s business as usual.
Tell them this has to stop, tell them to vote against SB55.