Discussing climate change is out of bounds for workers at a state agency in Wisconsin. So is any work related to climate change -- even responding to e-mails about the topic. A vote on Tuesday by Wisconsin's Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, a three-member panel overseeing an agency that benefits schools and communities in the state, enacted the staff ban on climate change.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) recently generated national headlines after officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection claimed they were ordered not to use the terms "climate change" or "global warming" in any official communications.
As is turns out, Florida isn't the only state hoping to narrow the scope of the climate discourse.
Matt Adamczyk, the Republican state Treasurer who sits on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, said concerns about the climate crisis fall outside the board's "mission."
The Bloomberg Business report added that the new policy, banning the phrases GOP officials don't like, leaves staffers at the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands "in the unusual position of not being able to speak about how climate change might affect lands it oversees."
Wisconsin Secretary of State Douglas La Follette (D), said this week, "Having been on this board for close to 30 years, I've never seen such nonsense.... We've reached the point now where we're going to try to gag employees from talking about issues."
And what happens if the board's executive director, Tia Nelson, receives an on-the-job email with a public inquiry about climate change? The Bloomberg report added that Adamczyk said "she can forward it to us" -- the board -- "and we can all look at it."
Tia Nelson oversaw a global warming state task force under former Gov. Jim Doyle (D) in 2007 and 2008, before becoming the executive director at the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. This, apparently, is the basis for much of the conservative freak-out and the reason the board's staff will no longer be able to use climate-related phrases Republicans find objectionable.
Nelson, incidentally, is former Sen. Gaylord Nelson's (D-Wis.) daughter. He's perhaps best known for establishing Earth Day in 1970.