Wisconsin Recalls

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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Wisconsin Recall Election Results: Democrats Keep State Senate Seats

 

It’s great to see that in this recall election, the Dems succeeded!

Huffington Post 

Both of the Democratic Wisconsin state senators up for recall elections have survived.

The Democrats targeted in Tuesday’s election were among the 14 senators who fled the state in February in opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal curbing public employee collective bargaining rights.

Both won in recalls against Republican challengers.

Democrats picked up two seats through the nine recalls but were unable to wrest majority Senate control away from the GOP, which now holds a narrow 17-16 majority. Before the recalls, Republicans had a 19-14 edge in the chamber.

Democratic Sen. Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie defeated Kenosha attorney Jonathan Steitz, and Sen. Jim Holperin of Conover beat tea party Republican Kim Simac of Eagle River.

A third Democrat won a recall election last month. Two Republicans were defeated in six recall elections last week.

Even though they remain in the minority, Democrats were savoring Tuesday’s victories.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said Democrats have “fundamentally changed the face of power in the Wisconsin Legislature” through the recalls. Even though Republicans remain in the majority, Tate said Democrats’ picking up two seats and making gains in Republican districts sets the table for big wins next year.

“It’s really hard to go five for nine and not be pleased of the progress that we made,” he said.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement that he was proud the GOP maintained its majority through the recalls. He said Tuesday’s results were a rejection of the recall process.

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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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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.

Democratic State Sen. Dave Hansen Wins First Wisconsin Recall Election

Yes! This is just the beginning…

Huffington Post

Wisconsin state Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) handily won Tuesday’s recall election, giving Democrats a victory in the first of nine contests being held this summer.

With 65 percent of the vote in, the Associated Press called the race for Hansen, who had more thandouble the votes of his Republican challenger, David VanderLeest.

Democrats quickly put out statements declaring the race a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) agenda.

“Scott Walker and his cronies pulled out all the stops trying to defeat Dave Hansen, and the people of the 30th Senate District said loudly and clearly Tuesday, ‘Enough,’” said the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

“Sen. Hansen’s victory is a validation of the lengths he and the rest of the ‘Wisconsin 14’ went to in their efforts to stall the Wisconsin GOP’s extreme right-wing, anti-working family agenda,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Michael Sargeant. “His constituents understand that he fights for them, not for extreme ideologues.”

Former Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold also tweeted, “Congratulations to WI Senator Hansen on his victory. We are one step closer to stopping Gov. Walker’s agenda. Forward.”

Throughout the campaign, VanderLeest was dogged by questions about his legal and personal troubles. He has $25,000 in unpaid property taxes and a history of domestic abuse.

On Monday, he announced he was planning to file a “slander lawsuit” against Hansen and several left-leaning groups.

Six Republican and three Democratic state senators are facing recall elections this summer, withmost of the elections taking place in August. The efforts to change the make-up of the state Senate came after Republicans passed Walker’s controversial measure stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Senate Democrats left the state for 21 days in order to delay their colleagues from pushing through the bill.

Democrats need to pick up three seats to win control of the upper chamber, which would give them the power to block many of Walker’s proposals. Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse), whose district has a strong Democratic presence, is widely considered the member most vulnerable to recall. Sens. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) and Jim Holperin (D-Conover) are also top targets.

VanderLeest, who organized the recall petition drive against Hansen, was never the Republican Party’s first choice as a candidate. Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), who was expected to challenge Hansen, did not receive enough valid petition signatures to quality for the ballot.