LETTER: Here’s a way to end lame-duck legislating that afflicts state

To Ozaukee Press:

To Duey Stroebel, Rob Brooks, Tony Evers and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities:

Esteemed colleagues, one of the benefits of being on our local Village Board is that I see political flow just a bit differently than as one moves up the political chain from “level 1” (local) to “level 4” (federal). My vision expands to “level 5” (global/ambassador/diplomat). When we are elected locally, our office takes effect the next time our body meets and the newcomers assume voting right immediately. There is no “lame-duck” session.

From my vantage point as a fellow citizen, I am concerned, at a minimum, about the poor optics of the lame-duck legislation in Wisconsin to alter the powers of governor and attorney general. It at least appears that the outgoing legislative body made some choices based on assumptions, however reasonable they felt those assumptions were. We, the electorate in Wisconsin, elect individuals to our understanding of the job on election day. To change
the job between election and inauguration is patently unfair to us.

I’m sure in the lame-duck session our legislators felt in their hearts they were doing the right thing for Wisconsin. But they were also sowing seeds of polarization that is unhealthy in a democracy. It is unwise for us to continue this way and still maintain a stable, productive political system in our state.

We don’t all think alike, and we need to respect our differences and do our level best to be, or at least appear to be, fair and mutually respectful. That includes how each of us acts as both an incoming elected official and an outgoing elected official.

I would like each of you to take a leading role in changing how Wisconsin does this. I propose newly elected officials take office before any legislative decision commences. Bottom line, all voting post-election should be limited to newly elected individuals and voting should cease immediately for outgoing legislators. If, and I can understand some of the arguments against this, this notion is abhorrent to you, then voting by outgoing members should be restricted so as to exclude changes to job definition during the lame-duck session.

Please consider collaborating on this, and take our state to the better place each of you said you would before you were elected.

Jim Nowlen
Saukville

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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