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Blue Book comments to:
Blue Book Editor
The production of each edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book is a cooperative undertaking made possible by the combined efforts of many individuals throughout state government. Although the Wisconsin Legislature publishes the Blue Book, and responsibility for editing the book is assigned to the Legislative Reference Bureau, individuals in all 3 branches of government contribute to the final product. Legislators and legislative staff contribute biographical information and photographs; executive department personnel describe the organization and functions of their respective agencies and compile a wide variety of statistical data; and judicial branch staff help profile the judicial branch of government.
This, the 87th edition, is no exception. The feature article in the 2005-2006 Blue Book exemplifies the cooperative approach. The aptly titled article, “The Wisconsin Court System: Demystifying the Judicial Branch”, is coauthored by Robin Ryan, legislative attorney with the Legislative Reference Bureau, and Amanda Todd, public information officer for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The authors describe in considerable detail the structure and functions of the judicial branch. However, the article offers more than a description of offices, officials, and officialdom. By outlining the relationship among the various courts and the roles that judges, attorneys, and jurors play in the judicial system, it provides readers with a readable and comprehensive primer on our legal system and an understanding of how the judicial branch of government impacts our lives and safeguards our shared values. The text is augmented by a generous number of photographs, charts, and graphics which were largely the work of LRB photo editor Kathleen Sitter. As the first Blue Book main article to focus exclusively on the court system, it occupies a unique place in the historical series of articles on Wisconsin state government. As such, it is a valuable addition to our knowledge of the judicial branch.
The covers and divider pages that introduce each section of the book continue the judicial theme. The front cover design highlights the four mosaics depicting Justice, Government, Legislation, and Liberty, which adorn the rotunda in the State Capitol Building. Each of the 12 divider pages include a photograph of a county courthouse and reveal a diverse and eclectic range of architectural styles. Several of the photos by L. Roger Turner were originally published in Wisconsin’s Historic Courthouses montage of historic county courthouses reflecting the grandeur of an earlier age graces the back cover.
As noted, many people, including the LRB staff, work together produce the Blue Book. Legislative attorneys, in addition to coauthoring the main article and contributing articles on significant court decisions and significant legislation, edit and review large portions of the text. Publications editors format text, take photographs, and incorporate graphics to create the final layout of the Blue Book. The legislative analysts compile the statistical section and are involved in almost every part of the production of the Blue Book. Two recently retired members of our research staff who shared a combined 48 years of experience merit special mention. Richard Roe, Blue Book associate editor, compiled and edited the executive branch agency descriptions, among other responsibilities, for a number editions. He tackled this daunting task with perseverance, aplomb and good humor and amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of state government organization in the process. Peter Cannon, senior legislative analyst, resident historian and computer expert applied his considerable expertise designing legislative district maps and compiling the history and population and vital statistics sections of the Blue Book. Both Rich and Pete will be missed not only for their contributions to the Blue Book but for the dedication and professionalism they demonstrated throughout their careers in support of the Wisconsin Legislature. We wish them both a happy and fulfilling retirement.
As always, we hope that you find the latest edition of the Blue Book useful and valuable resource. The editors encourage readers to contact with comments and suggestions on how to make the next edition even better.
Lawrence S. Barish
Blue Book Editor