Monday, April 4, 2011

Democratic Legislators Schedule Another Series of Public Hearings on the Budget

Public hearings on the budget require a substantial commitment of time -- hours of travel and waiting to earn your 3 minutes of microphone time.  They have never been a particularly effective way to deliver a message and connect with legislators.  Even more so this year.

How important are the 4 public hearings scheduled by the Joint Committee on Finance?  (Note.)

Here's a summary of what co-chair Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has to say:   Greater emphasis will be put on e-mails and other technology. For example, he does not intend to sit through a 36 hour public hearing when those comments could have easily been presented in writing. Every statement that is submitted will be read by the Co-Chairs. 

In other words, he's really not that into you -- or what you have to say in a public forum.

Though well-intentioned, the 11 public hearings sponsored by Democratic legislators are nothing more than, pardon my bluntness, a series of feel-good exercises. 

As an alternative, the Wisconsin Library Association encourages its members to schedule meetings with legislators at a library in the district..  Connecting with Republicans legislators is particularly important at this time.   In at least four recent examples -- Bill Kramer, Evan Wynn, Amy Loudenbeck, and Tom Tiffany -- our message seems to resonate more strongly in small-group settings.

It's all about relationship-building.  Better to have a conversation than read testimony.

Stay tuned for specific talking points.  LD&L is still in the process of piecing together a final version and coordinating a series of partnership approaches to our advocacy efforts. 

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