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As I See It

Keep proposed changes to Wisconsin’s Stewardship Program



If history is any guide, lawmakers in Madison won’t just tweak Governor Evers’ proposed two-year state budget, they will gut it. The final document they approved looked nothing like what the Governor sent them. That will likely be the case again this summer when the budget gets done. But one element the Legislature should keep in the budget are improvements to a state program that protects public lands. It is known as the Wisconsin Stewardship program, originally created by Governor Tommy Thompson. The program acquires public lands and creates recreational opportunities for Wisconsinites. That includes areas for hunting, fishing and hiking, all very popular activities in the Badger state. The problem is the way the Stewardship program is administered. It is overseen by the Joint Finance Committee, where just one vote can prevent a stewardship program from going forward. Only one member has to object, and the project is finished. Worse, they can object for no reason, and can do so anonymously. In just the past year, two stewardship programs were killed by anonymous objections. Governor Evers wants to change that, so members must have good reasons for objecting, and must make those objections public. One lawmaker should not be able to hold up a project that could be good for the entire state.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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