FOOD FREEDOM: An Amish farmer in Wisconsin is being put on trial ostensibly not for selling raw milk, but for running his business without some required licenses. But case watchers and raw milk advocates say the trial of Vernon Hershberger has a lot more to do with raw milk and the freedom of consumers to make their own food choices than it does simple licensing issues. I've commented before that I'm a big believer in the "waiver system." A consenting adult should be free to drink a beverage like raw milk, but I think they'd have to sign away their right to litigate if they got sick. Our country is litigation-happy and the last thing needed is to clog the courts with needless liability cases. What do you think, are you in favor of raw milk sales or not?
BEARD-CUTTING AMISH: Beard-cutting Amish breakaway sect leader Sam Mullet and his followers have been protesting the mandatory education requirements imposed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons on all inmates without a high school diploma. Since Mullet was raised in the Amish faith he does not have an education beyond the eighth grade, a right that was upheld in the landmark Supreme Court case, Yoder vs. Wisconsin. And since he still holds on to many aspects of the Amish faith, Mullet objected to the educational requirement. His attorney raised the issue this past week and apparently the Federal Bureau of Prisons agreed and waived the GED requirement.
BUILDING PERMIT BATTLE: This is a periodic issue that raises its head whenever an Amish population seems to increase in an area. We've seen skirmishes like this is New York, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and now we are seeing it in Wisconsin: an influx of Amish in the western part of the state and local authorities are scrambling to keep up with the crowd. Many Amish don't want required smoke detectors and other building permits required by law, claiming it infringes on their religion. Eau Claire County administrators held a public meeting with area Amish to try to resolve some of the issues, but it's unclear if any substantive progress was made.