KATHLEEN VINEHOUT
PEOPLE FIRST

Living with Lobbyists

“We are big, powerful and you had better listen to us” the large man said before he sat down in my office. His handshake told me he wasn’t kidding.

Today was lobbyist day. A day I limit to once a week, when I schedule visits with lobbyists. The list is long and the meetings tell me more about what’s wrong with government than what’s right.

Today my visitor and his friends represented two of the three large insurance groups. He never mentioned health care reform specifically, but his warning was clear. Don’t mess with the insurance industry. From his perspective, my ideas on making the health insurance system more efficient were not good ideas.

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Ban Smoking in Bars?

“Ban smoking in bars? What are they thinking?” a farmer told me last week.

Yes, that is exactly what some folks are thinking. There has been a flurry of activity around efforts to impose a state-wide ban on smoking in every public place, including bars.

The city of Madison has a ban on smoking. Locals have moved their socializing out to the communities surrounding Madison. The establishments in Madison saw a dramatic drop in business. Madison legislators are now proposing a ban state-wide.

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