Friday, March 04, 2011

This is open government in Wisconsin. (Publicus Proventus)

Wisconsin Constitution, Article IV, §10:

Journals; open doors; adjournments. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings and publish the same, except such parts as require secrecy. The doors of each house shall be kept open except when the public welfare shall require secrecy. Neither house shall, without consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days.

Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law:

19.81 Declaration of policy.

(1) In recognition of the fact that a representative government of the American type is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of this state that the public is entitled to the fullest and most complete information regarding the affairs of government as is compatible with the conduct of governmental business.

(2) To implement and ensure the public policy herein expressed, all meetings of all state and local governmental bodies shall be publicly held in places reasonably accessible to members of the public and shall be open to all citizens at all times unless otherwise expressly provided by law.

On my way back from a court hearing today, I cut through the Capitol building, something I do routinely, because I like to walk through there. I had no business in the Capitol other than enjoying the way it looks, and wanting to stay out of the drizzle.

To get in, I was reminded by signs on the door that carrying a weapon into the building is a crime; those handmade signs were new.

I then had to empty my pockets and consent to have my briefcase searched and have a metal detector waved over me.

I then walked past the 20 or so police officers doing that to find another group of police officers standing outside the rotunda, where a group of protesters was -- I'm not making this up -- being reminded by an organizer to be polite to the police there.

On my way out, I had to go past another group of 10 or so police officers, one of whom escorted me to a designated exit.

Outside, I saw yet more police officers -- outside the Capitol they outnumber protesters 2-to-1 -- and a K9 unit van, and I walked past this quote on the steps:

The full quote is this:

These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland ... They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.

That was said by Ronald Reagan, in his Labor Day address in 1980.

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