It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the law
--Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumim, who issued a temporary restraining order (!) barring the publication of the union-busting bill. This is in response to the complaint filed by the Dane County DA that Republicans violated the open meeting law last week.
Peter Barca, my new hero, brought out a megaphone. A megaphone is necessary when your Republican colleagues are known for turning off your microphone, ending debate without making a separate motion and closing the roll within seconds, and violating open meeting laws.
With 19 people still waiting to speak, debate was closed. Wisconsin workers lost their rights in a 53-42 vote.
WTF Wisconsin 3.0 (With Link to Video)
You can watch what happened here. The link should take you to essentially the WI. version of CSPAN and you can watch it on that site. Please, please, please take 5 minutes to watch it. It is a tragedy you have to see to believe.
This special committee was convened to essentially move the collective bargaining elements of the “budget repair bill” into a separate bill that could be voted on without any Senate Democrats; quorum was not needed because stripping people of collective bargaining rights is apparently not considered “fiscal.” In the clip posted above, Democratic Rep. Peter Barca tells it like it is. Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald allowed no discussion, no motions, gave no notice (which would seemingly violate the open meetings law?) and took roll while Barca was still talking. In less than five munutes, this committee passed the bill, moving it to the Senate, which then passed it, as well. The Assembly will likely vote on it tomorrow. I am heartbroken.
Is this really happening?
Attached is a video of state assembly Republicans’ unprecedented and undemocratic behavior.
On Friday, Republicans in the assembly started voting before the session was scheduled to begin (and before the Democrats arrived). When Democrats arrived (again, before the session was supposed to begin) and tried to speak, they discovered that their microphones had been shut off. Jeff Fitzgerald continued to ignore Democrats as they shouted to be heard. The vote was later rescinded.
It’s like watching our rights disappear right before our eyes.