The state legislature is back in session and rather than focus on fixing the economy or improving the business climate in the state - as suggested in a brilliant column by Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer - the legislature chose to shoot us in the foot, again.
Three of the bills passed yesterday are just bad law. Pure and simple.
First, there is AB 227. It's a seemingly innocent bill that requires all doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, dentists and optometrists to report prescriptions to the Pharmacy Examining Board. I assume that the purpose is to crack down on doctor-shopping or abuse of prescription drugs. Sorry, but no. The doctor-patient privilege is too important. Creating a database of this kind is asking for abuse or privacy violations and is none of the government's business.
Next, we have SB 123. A bill that makes it illegal to have any aquatic plant or animal on any watercraft. The bill is written in such a way that I shudder to think about the zero-tolerance madness that could come from it. The bill prohibits "transporting" a watercraft with any plants or animals on it, but does this include driving to the nearest car wash to clean the craft? Common sense says yes, bureaucracy and the wording of the bill say no.
I'm all for environmental protection, but only if it makes sense, and this doesn't. It goes far beyond the invasive species that we normally write legislation to eliminate.
Finally there is SB 107. This bill is a complete disaster. This bill - again, in the name of environmentalism - heaps more and more regulation on businesses in Wisconsin. It requires all manufacturers of computers, TV's, and the like who wish to sell their products to register with the DNR and collect and recycle used products.
The bill creates quotas for disposal and new fees and fines for manufacturers. Is anyone so naive as to think that this won't cost consumers? This is absurd. We are in a deep recession and we're going to raise the cost of doing business in the state for the tech industry? When I talk about the business climate in the state, this is what I mean.
This type of legislation does not improve our economy or the lives of our citizens. These bills empower government, not entrepreneurs or individuals. We can talk about freedom and individual choice all we want, but if in the end we pass bills like these, it is no more than cheap lip service to the principles of Liberty.