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Editorial: Stifling voters' voices isn't Madison's job

Publication Date: 2008-01-25
  • Publication:Wausau Daily Herald

You would think they would want to at least pretend to earn those checks by attacking the critical problems facing our state: a failing economy, families and businesses being crushed by health care costs, a school finance system that gets an F only because there is no lower grade, a biennial state budget that bleeds red ink before the books even are opened and a state law that allows one class of workers to be exposed to the known carcinogens in cigarette smoke every day.

But no. Assembly Republicans -- you know, those small-government, local-control advocates -- are instead squandering their precious time by using the heavy hand of government to squelch voters' voices.

The Assembly approved earlier this month a bill that would curb citizen-driven initiatives on the Iraq war and other issues by allowing municipalities to ignore grassroots ballot initiatives...

The Wisconsin Alliance of Cities supports the proposal because member municipalities fear being bogged down by the hassle and expense of such initiatives.

But that's not a good enough reason to compromise democracy.

And if the law were passed, who would get to decide what is and isn't a matter of local government concern? ...

And what about health care, or a statewide smoking ban, or campaign finance reform? None is a matter of local government control. But all are of paramount importance to some voters.