State Representative Joe Sanfelippo recently had an op-ed piece published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explaining his authoring of a bill to limit the issuance of township and county IDs. There are probably a lot of things to talk about related to the purported issuance of such IDs but I am not going to go into that point with this post.
But what I am going to pull out of the context of the piece, is a bit of dullardry on the part of Rep. Sanfelippo. There has been a ton of interference in local government by the state legislature since the initial election of Governor Scott Walker and particularly since the Republicans solidified their control over both houses in the state legislature. So they are getting a little bit sensitive when the opposing Democrats or local government elected officials or local school boards or local school districts or agencies complain about interference in local affairs from Madison. But here is what the good representative wrote:
Since we began circulating the legislation in December, opponents and various media outlets have falsely labeled our proposal as an “attack on local control” (Journal Sentinel editorial, Jan. 1). But the bill only prohibits the issuance of municipal IDs by counties and towns, which are extensions of state government. So local control does not apply there. Since cities and villages are allowed to issue IDs under the bill, there is no issue there, either.
His bill will only interfere with the local officials elected to run counties and towns because they are extensions of state government. Rep. Sanfelippo is legally and (state) constitutionally correct. But that probably isn’t how his constituents actually see it or understand it. They actually expect their locally elected officials to act in the best interests of their local towns and counties. They don’t expect them to be plenipotentates of the powers that be in Madison.
So I suggest despite the legal niceties, we all still see these little interventions as attacks on local control. And I would think it would be a solid bet that if his predecessor had introduced any number of these bills, that former Milwaukee County Supervisor Sanfelippo would be hot under the collar at the interference in local governance…