The Tyranny of the Two Minute Time Limit

Woe to the citizen who is not a practiced public speaker coming before the Joint Committee on Finance in one of the four hearings on the state budget. The two-minute limit awaits you, and comes faster than you can ever imagine.


Introducing yourself takes 10 to 15 seconds, depending on your affiliation. That is one-eighth of your time. Identifying your subject is another 10 seconds, and if you tell a joke, you’ve spent more of that time.


When they don’t have simple statements to make, people who approach Joint Finance want to tell a personal story, about the impact of a specific program on an individual, or something nuanced, about how a program works. Unfortunately, you cannot tell much of a story in two minutes, and even less about a complex program.


There’s little room for passion in front of Joint Finance, and virtually no place for nuance. The timer goes off, you may be interrupted in the middle of a sentence, and your testimony is over.


After today, the remaining Joint Committee on Finance hearings are at University of Wisconsin-Barron County Fine Arts Theatre in Rice Lake, on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and at Reedsburg High School CAL Center Auditorium, Reedsburg, on Thursday, March 26, 2015, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. Written comments can be emailed to the Committee at, or sent via U.S. mail to: Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702. It is unclear whether those comments must be submitted by the end of testimony on Thursday, March 26.


Related Articles

3 thoughts on “The Tyranny of the Two Minute Time Limit

  1. Ed, thanks.

    No surprise that Republicans are ignoring the First Amendment, especially the last eight-words.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    1. John, this wasn’t written by Ed; this was written by Joanne, who just happens to be the newest member of the Blogging Blue team.

      Joanne, nicely stated! I think it’s ludicrous for our elected representatives to expect citizens to limit themselves to just two minutes, given the complexity of the state budget. I know Republicans are anxious to ram this awful budget down our collective throats before many wake up and realize how truly terrible the budget really is, but two minutes?

Comments are closed.