Congratulations to DeForest Village President Judd Blau for getting the Joint Finance Committee to remove the measure in the pending state budget that would have kept local governments from passing ordinances to regulate noxious odors in their jurisdictions.  (“Air emissions language scrapped in 11th hour,” June 4.)

This is a good example of a tactic known as preemption. It is a tactic we are seeing regularly in Republican controlled legislatures and governors’ offices around the country, Wisconsin being one of them.  Preemption means that the legislature passes a law that forbids a local government from doing something. The state legislature preempts local authority.  We’ve seen it done in other areas such as forbidding a municipality from passing a minimum wage law.  It seems to be done usually to aid a special interest that has lobbying influence in the state legislature.

Local control used to be a defining characteristic of conservative political philosophy.  The new Republicans, however, have made a concerted effort to concentrate power at the state level.  Ironically, when confronted with it, our Republican state representatives stood up for local control and removed the offending words from the pending state budget.  Good for them.  They might be returning to the more reasonable Republicanism of the past.

John Scepanski


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