Monday, February 21, 2011

Librarian: Inform thyself! Read SB11, the bill that is causing all the fuss.

The crowds of protesters inside the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda
SLIS Library strongly urges all students to get informed about Wisconsin Senate Bill 11 (the "Budget Repair Bill").  This is the legislation that has caused Madison to erupt in massive protests from workers from around the state who oppose Governor Walker's proposed cuts and has initiated unprecedented procedural stalls on the part of Wisconsin Democrats.

As future information professionals, and as librarians who are likely to have public service jobs, it is of utmost importance that each of us understands the documents associated with this legislation.  We need to be able to access and provide accurate, non-partisan information about what is happening so that we and our patrons can form knowledgeable opinions.

You don't necessarily have to read all 144 pages of SB11 (though if you want to, you should!). The first 7 pages of the Bill constitute the Legislative Reference Bureau's official analysis, and offer an excellent summary of both the proposed actions and the working groups that will be affected.

Below is a list of links to nonpartisan references about this piece of legislation, how it came to be, and its repercussions. Many thanks to Prof. Louise Robbins, who is teaching Government Information Sources this semester and contributed this list of resources.

Wisconsin Senate Bill 11 "The Budget Repair Bill"

Wisconsin State Legislature - Legislative Fiscal Bureau
Recent publications associated with the budget

The Wisconsin State Legislature

Wisconsin State Legislature - Documents
A link to to 2011-2013 Wisconsin State Budget Overview (Overview of State Agency Major Request Items) 

Wisconsin State Legislature - Joint Committee on Finance
Includes description of the Committee's responsibilities as well as a list of Senate and Assembly members.

Wisconsin Eye
An excellent nonpartisan news outlet that has a series of good videos about the bill and the current political battle.

Note On My Door 
Prof. Greg Downey of the SLIS and Journalism departments provides a comprehensive guide for understanding what's going on and how to determine your position.

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