State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Editorial writers at the Oshkosh Northwestwern support a statewide smoking ban. However, even they were outraged at the decision by the Democrat-controlled state Senate Committee on Health to "barely" give 24-hour notice of an important public hearing on Senate Bill 181, a statewide smoking ban. The editorial says, in part:
"The short-notice satisfies, barely, the 24-hour meeting notice provision of Wisconsin' open meetings law. If it meets the letter of the law, it certainly slaughters its spirit by making it difficult for supporters and opposition alike to get to Madison to offer testimony. Although political opposition has weakened over the past years, smoking bans are still highly controversial and this bill is sure to generate considerable interest.
While we support the ban, we cannot support a process that prevents residents — no matter their view — time to prepare travel to the capitol and make their case to their elected representatives.
Perhaps Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, who chairs the committee and called the meeting, saw it as an opportunity to catch opposition to the measure off-guard. Maybe he figures lobbyists on both sides of the issue will have no issue preparing and getting to the meeting. It could be innocent and innocuous on his part. But it smacks as the worst in state politics."
I would agree. Here is the editorial.
UPDATE: The Wisconsin State Journal also objects.