Thumbs down to proposed Edgerton anti-bullying ordinance. The city of Janesville flirted with adopting a similar ordinance but backed down because these proposals threaten free speech rights with their overly vague language. The proposed Edgerton ordinance cites state statutes prohibiting harassment and disorderly conduct but enters murky legal territory by also attempting to prohibit conduct, including speech, that would create an "offensive environment." When government gets involved in policing speech for offensiveness, that's a red flag. The Edgerton City Council should tread carefully in expanding the definition of bullying to include behaviors that aren't already illegal.
Thumbs up to Sun Prairie childcare experiment. The city has a plan to offer childcare during most government meetings to encourage more public participation. Whether a lack of childcare is preventing some residents from attending meetings (or whether Netflix is to blame) is open for debate, but childcare is worth giving a try. Sun Prairie would offer childcare as part of a pilot program expected to cost up to $23,012, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. We'll keep an eye on Sun Prairie to see whether this program brings more people to meetings. If it works, the city of Janesville might consider conducting a similar experiment.
Thumbs up to new Trump administration pricing rule. We've criticized the administration many times for its protectionist trade policies. But when it advocates for free markets, we take notice. In particular, we applaud its proposed rule to require more pricing transparency from hospitals and insurers. Consumers expect to know the price of everything from vehicles to ground beef before buying. Why shouldn't transparent pricing be part of health-care purchases? Hospitals and insurers claim such transparency will raise prices, but that's nonsense. When has pricing transparency ever been bad for consumers? We challenge this rule's critics to name an example.
Thumbs down to Gov. Tony Evers' closed records operation. His reputation for transparency is getting worse by the week. In August, Republican Rep. John Nygren, a member of the Legislature's budget committee, sent requests under the state's open records law to the governor's office and to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The department reportedly provided its records, but the governor's office did not, claiming Nygren's request was overly broad. Now, Nygren is suing the administration, which also recently rebuffed a records request from a Milwaukee TV station. In that case, the station wanted all of Evers' emails from one day, while the administration said the request had to include a subject topic. Maybe Evers has nothing to hide, but some of his record denials suggest otherwise.