Tag Archives: Wisconsin Protests

Walker’s New Plan: Charge Protesters Big Money

So much for First Amendment rights in Wisconsin…

TPMDC

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is rolling out a new strategy to deal with the waves of protests that have fallen upon the state Capitol, ever since he rolled out his anti-public employee union legislation, and which have given rise to the recall campaigns targeting him and other Republicans: Make the protesters pay for all the costs of the increased event security.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the Walker administration announced the new policy on Thursday, and it will be phased in by Dec. 16. Under the policy, groups of four or more people must request permits at least 72 hours in advance, for events at the state Capitol or other state buildings.

In addition, organizers would have to pay for the extra Capitol police officers, at a rate of $50 per hour per officer — plus costs for police officers brought in from outside agencies, according to the costs billed to the state. The police payment would have to be tendered in advance, as a requirement for getting a permit. Afterwards, organizers would then be charged for any clean-up costs.

The new rules have First Amendment experts asking some questions:

Edward Fallone, an associate professor at Marquette University Law School, said the possibility of charging demonstrators for police costs might be problematic because some groups might not be able to afford to pay.

“I’m a little skeptical about charging people to express their First Amendment opinion,” he said. “You can’t really put a price tag on the First Amendment.”…

Bob Dreps, a lawyer who handles First Amendment cases including work for the Journal Sentinel, noted that the state can put some restrictions on the “time, place and manner” of free speech. But he said it was “laughable” to define a rally as four or more people.

“They still have to be reasonable on their face,” Dreps said of the rules.

When asked for comment, state Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski told TPM: “This is more evidence of Scott Walker running Wisconsin like a Banana Republic, with no regard for our traditions or norms. This is an administration obsessed with quashing dissent and demeaning all democratic tools available to citizens who right now are rising up against it. It is un-American.”

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Recall Efforts

That’s Enough, Now Walker: WI Doesn’t Want More Recalls (Against Me)

TPMDC

Coming off of Tuesday’s state Senate recall elections, Democrats remain determined to recall Gov. Scott Walker next year, though they were unsuccessful in their ambitious goal of taking a majority in the state Senate. But for his part, the prospective recallee Walker says the people of Wisconsin don’t want yet another election.

“I think setting aside me, if you went around and talk to the average voter, the best thing they like about today is the ads are gone, at least outside of these two remaining Senate districts,” Walker said, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“I’ve heard repeatedly from people who are just disgusted at all the ads, disgusted at all the money. They’re tired of seemingly year-round campaigning, and whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin.”

Democrats had hoped to flip the Republicans’ 19-14 state Senate majority by gaining at least three seats. When the votes were counted in the six Republican incumbents’ districts, though, the Dems gained two seats for a 17-16 GOP majority, with two remaining recalls next week in districts held by Democratic incumbents.

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Recall Efforts

Gilbert Brown, Famed Green Bay Packer, Urges Wisconsin Voters To Recall Republicans

Today may just turn out to be a pivotal moment for the progressive movement across the nation.  All eyes are on Wisconsin and the re-call efforts of its citizens.  Go Wisconsin!

The Huffington Post

As Wisconsin voters head to the polls Tuesday for the first of two critical recall election days, the labor backed coalition We Are Wisconsin is pulling out the big guns.

The group released a robocall campaign on Tuesday featuring mammoth former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Gilbert Brown. The call urges voters to replace six Republican state Senators who supported Governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget bill.

“Hello this is Gilbert Brown, defensive lineman for the ’97 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, calling on behalf of We Are Wisconsin. I have a message for you about Tuesday’s election, I know a little bit about playing defense and right now it is time to defend Wisconsin. We are holding the line, putting our children’s education before big corporate tax giveaways. It is up to voters like you to make the difference. Please gather your friends and neighbors and go to the polls on Tuesday from 7 am to 8 pm and support Nancy Nusbaum for Senate.”

Famous for his girth — he weighed in, by conservative estimates, at 340 pounds during his playing days — Brown anchored a Green Bay defensive line that led the Packers to two Super Bowls, one of which they won. Nicknamed the Gravedigger, Brown wasn’t exactly known for getting involved in progressive political causes. But perhaps his time as a member of the National Football League Players Association compelled him to help push back against a Walker budget that stripped collective bargaining rights from public sector unions.Tuesday is a big day for union forces on the ground in Wisconsin. Picking up three seats would give Democrats control of the state Senate. More broadly, losses by multiple sitting Republicans would send a message to other state legislatures that there are consequences for pushing harsh anti-union measures.

With those stakes, there are few spokesmen in the state more revered than beloved former Packers. Current Packer cornerback Charles Woodson spoke out forcefully against the Walker budget when it was being debated in February.

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Filed under Wisconsin Recall Efforts

Americans For Prosperity Accused Of Voter Suppression In Wisconsin Recall Elections

In my opinion, voter suppression is an insult to every American who believes the Constitution has set guidelines to avert such activities.  Once again the GOP usurps the same Constitution they claim to “love”.

Huffington Post

Patch.com reported that Charles Shultz, a Democrat who lives in the 10th Senate District, received an absentee ballot application form last week from AFP that contained incorrect information on it. The form instructed him to mail it back to the wrong location by Aug. 11 — two days after the recall election in his district between Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R) and Shelly Moore (D) is set to take place, on Aug. 9.

Politico obtained a copy of the AFP mailer, which was also distributed to voters in the 2nd District.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party filed a formal complaint Tuesday with the state’s Government Accountability Board over the issue, accusing AFP of “falsely representing the time frame” for the upcoming August 9 recall election. Shultz filed his own complaint with the GAB on Saturday.

AFP may also be getting involved in the increasingly heated ad wars that have been leading up to the recall elections. According to One Wisconsin Now, AFP has reportedly purchased over $150,000 in television ad time in the Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee areas.

A spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity did not respond when asked for comment on the purchase, but One Wisconsin Now, a non-profit statewide progressive communications network, says the ad buy appears to be an effort to help the six Republican state Senators who were challenged by recall elections after supporting Governor Scott Walker’s anti-collective bargaining legislation in early 2011.

Scot Ross, the Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, said at least one of the AFP-backed ads will air in support of two Republicans, Sen. Luther Olsen (District 14) and Sen. Robert Cowles (District 2). The group has also confirmed a $90,000 AFP ad buy in District 12, currently represented by Sen. Jim Holperin, a Democrat who is being recalled.

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Palin Headed To Madison, Wisconsin This Weekend

There will be interesting goings on in Madison Wisconsin this week-end…

TPMDC

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be headlining a Tea Party rally this weekend, at a venue that has served as the stage for some very high-profile protests of late: The Wisconsin state Capitol building in Madison.

The state Capitol, of course, was the site of massive protests both outside and inside the building, as tens of thousands of people gathered to show (and shout) their opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union agenda. But now, as the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Palin will be coming to town to rally the other side.

And check out this nugget from the paper’s report:

Americans for Prosperity is organizing busses to the event. Last year’s gathering featured former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and others.

Americans for Prosperity is, of course, a Koch financed group. The Koch name has popped up quite a bit in the Wisconsin protests — most notably after Walker’s 20-minute phone call in late February with blogger Ian Murphy, who was posing as David Koch. During that call, Walker discussed his ideas for tricking the Democrats into coming back by pretending to negotiate, his ambition to bust the public employee unions in the mold of President Reagan firing the air traffic controllers — an event that Walker said had led to the downfall of the Soviet Union — and that he had considered (but ruled out) planting troublemakers in the crowds of protesters.

Palin’s presence could provide useful measure of activist motivation on each side at this point in the saga. Back in February, a pro-Walker Tea Party rally at the Capitol featured an all-star cast that included Andrew Breitbart and Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher.

However, out of the tens of thousands who showed up that day, only a few thousand were on the pro-Walker side — with several times more demonstrators on the other.

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Filed under Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Sarah Palin, Wisconson Capitol

Wisconsin Debate Shifts To Recall Elections

To paraphrase a famous (often misquoted) saying:  Hell hath no fury like a populous scorned!

Huffington Post

Nearly a month after the Wisconsin standoff over union rights ended, some of the fervor from that debate has shifted to recall efforts targeting lawmakers in both parties – Republicans who voted to cut back collective bargaining and Democrats who fled the state to try to stop them.

Now that the law has passed, organizers are focusing on signature-gathering efforts. But of the 16 state senators who were originally targeted, only six appear likely to face an election threatening removal. And before recall elections can be held, supporters need to find candidates to run against the incumbents.

Still, voter outrage remains high in many places, helping to stir interest in the recalls.

“A lot of legislators are going to be looking over their shoulders a little more in the future,” said Michael Kraft, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay. “And if they are in the middle of a recall effort, they might be nervous about that. They might moderate what they say and how they approach the budget.”

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Filed under Wisconsin, Wisconsin Anti-Union Legislation, Wisconsin Recall Efforts

Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Morphs Into Intense, Expensive Contest

It’s going to be a long process in determining the winner.  Here is a pretty up to date and dynamic tally.

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin Supreme Court election that offered the public its first formal opportunity to weigh in on the national fight over union rights was very close in the early Tuesday.

Initial returns showed incumbent Justice David Prosser locked in a virtual dead heat with challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. An assistant state attorney general, Kloppenburg began her campaign with almost no name recognition and faced what looked like an uphill fight against Prosser.

But her campaign has surged in recent days as her supporters worked to focus anger over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive collective bargaining law onto the conservative-leaning Prosser. The law’s opponents hope a Kloppenburg victory will tilt the Supreme Court to the left and set the stage for the court to strike down the law. Election officials in Madison and Milwaukee have noted higher voter interest in what would have been an otherwise sleepy contest.

The measure strips most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Walker has said the move is needed to help balance the state’s budget. Democrats say it’s designed to cripple unions, which are among their strongest campaign supporters, and tens of thousands of people spent weeks at the state Capitol protesting the plan.

The law eventually passed, but is on hold as legal challenges make their way through the courts. Many expect the state Supreme Court ultimately will decide the issue.

The seven-member high court is officially nonpartisan. But Prosser, who is seeking a second 10-year term, is seen as part of a conservative four-justice majority. Kloppenburg’s allies have presented her as an alternative that would tilt the court’s ideological balance to the left.

Prosser has told The Associated Press he doesn’t necessarily agree with the law. Still, bitter Democrats have portrayed him as a Walker clone, helping Kloppenburg’s campaign gain traction over the last few weeks.

Pat Heiser, 76, said the union struggles weighed heavily on her decision to vote for Kloppenburg.

“I think collective bargaining should be a human right,” Heiser said. “We’re not slaves anymore; that ended in the 1860s.”

Continued here…

Prosser’s campaign: http://www.justiceprosser.com

Kloppenburg’s campaign: http://www.kloppenburgforjustice.com

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Filed under Wisconsin Democrat Senators, Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Wisconsin Union Law Court Ruling, Wisconson Capitol, Wisconson GOP

Wisconsin Judge Halts Further Implementation Of Union Law

So suddenly, once again, the Emperor Walker has no clothes…

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin judge on Tuesday barred state officials from any further implementation of a law that strips most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued an emergency injunction prohibiting enactment of the law earlier this month. But the Legislative Reference Bureau published the law anyway on Friday.

Publication is typically the last step before a law takes effect, but it’s unclear if the bureau’s action amounted to that; the law’s supporters say it did, but opponents say the secretary of state had to designate a publication date.

Sumi stopped short of issuing a declaration saying the law was not in effect during a hearing Tuesday but said her earlier order had either been ignored or misunderstood. She said anyone who violates the new order would face sanctions.

State Department of Justice spokesman Steve Means said the agency believes the law was properly published and is in effect.

Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, who wrote most of the collective bargaining law, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, Walker’s top aide, issued a statement saying the agency will evaluate the judge’s order.

“We will continue to confer with our legal counsel and have more information about how to move forward in the near future,” Huebsch said.

The law requires most public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance. It also strips away their rights to collectively bargain for anything except wages.

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Anti-Union Legislation, Wisconsin Union Law Court Ruling

Wisconsin Union Law Should Be Considered By State Supreme Court: Appeals Court Rules

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin appeals court says the state Supreme Court should decide whether a law that takes away nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers should be allowed to take effect.

A majority of the seven-member Supreme Court must agree to take it or it would remain in the appeals court.

The 4th District Court of Appeals said Thursday it is appropriate for the state’s highest court to take the case because it presents significant issues that are likely to end up before the Supreme Court anyhow.

A Dane County judge issued an order last week preventing Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, saying Republicans violated the state open meetings law when passing it.

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Anti-Union Legislation, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson Capitol, Wisconson Fiscal Crisis, Wisconson GOP

Deja Vu all over again?

 Huffington Post – Max 1

Then:

“First they came for the Socialists­, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

==========­==========­==========­==========­=========
Now:

First they came for the Democrats calling them Socialists­, and I did not speak out -
Because I am not a Socialist.

Then they came for the organizing power of Unions, but I did not speak out -
Because I’m not a Union member.

Then they came for the Hispanics and Muslims, but I did not speak out -
Because I am neither Hispanic or Muslim.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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Filed under Trade Unionists, WI Union Workers, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Public Service Employees' Protests, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson Capitol