Thursday, May 26, 2011

Go West, Young Children, Go West!

Can You Identify this State Capitol?

The fourth-graders from Eau Claire's Meadowview School will have a chance on their annual state capitol  field-trip to see where democracy plays out in the creation of state laws, just not in the city where Wisconsin laws are created (and litigated). The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports this morning:
Instead of the annual trip to Wisconsin's Capitol, fourth-graders of Eau Claire's Meadowview School will instead be touring Minnesota's Statehouse on Friday.
Heightened security measures in place at the Madison Capitol since massive late winter union protests over collective bargaining rights caused field trip organizers and school leaders to change plans in mid-April, principal Del Boley said.
"Since we cannot possibly predict the political climate and events in Madison in mid-May, we had to either develop another plan or risk losing the field trip (altogether)," she wrote. "We decided it would be far more disappointing to cancel the trip than to develop another plan."
The traditional Wisconsin trip would have included a tour of the Capitol and a stop in in Wisconsin Dells for a "duck" boat tour, which serves as a science lesson. Instead, the Minnesota trip includes a tour of the Capitol in St. Paul, visit to the nearby Science Museum of Minnesota and stop at Crystal Cave in Spring Valley to learn about geology.
The enhanced security measures limit the Madison Capitol to just two public entrances, with standard practice to have all visitors screened by law enforcement officers with metal detectors, said spokeswoman Carla Vigue of the state Department of Administration, which oversees Capitol security.
"(Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch) does believe the measures in place should continue for the time being," Vigue said.
The measures keep the building secure while allowing people to go about their business, she said.
Vigue said there has been a reduction in the number of school tours planned this spring to the Capitol as compared with last year.
 The kids will undoubtedly have fun no matter where they go.  Kids usually do.  I just hope the Minnesota Tourism Department doesn't pick up on this.

Look for "the time being" of current Capitol access restrictions by the DOA to be at least until the Budget Repair Bill, Act 10, is either blessed by the courts, or until after the legislature does a "do-over" of the union-busting provisions by inserting the provisions of Act 10 into the 2011-2013 budget this summer.  I know which of those two alternatives the restaurants around the square in Madison favor.  And it won't bother the restaurateurs if Wisconsin fourth-graders stay away this year since they bring their own PB&J sandwiches.

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