John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

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Today at the Reclaim Wisconsin rally

I went to the Reclaim Wisconsin rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol today! Here's what happened, Twitter-style!

Yesterday, AFSCME put out a press release announcing their endorsement of Leslie Knope for Pawnee City Council. Knope is, of course, fictional—she's a character on the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation—but the DC office made "AFSCME for KNOPE" signs. Would it have killed them to send a few to Wisconsin?

Whoops, I meant Mifflin. Also, I spelled Pinckney wrong. We regret the errors.



MTI = Madison Teachers Inc., the Madison teachers' union.

Scott Fitzgerald is the Senate Majority Leader. See below.



I was on the sidewalk on the Mifflin side of the Capitol, close enough to hear everything very clearly but far enough away and at an angle that made it impossible to see the speakers.



True fact: I had no idea what this sign said until I got home. The camera in my phone is so slow, I had no idea what would be visible in the frame when it finally got around to taking the picture. And the screen is so small I couldn't make out the details.

Let me expand on this a little for those of you who don't live in Wisconsin. After Scott Walker was sworn in as Governor, his allies in the legislature introduced Act 10, the "budget repair bill." The claim was that this bill was necessary to solve the state's budgetary woes, and one of the provision included was a revocation of collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. Republicans controlled both houses of the legislature, and they refused to negotiate with Democrats or consider any amendments to the bill. Under Wisconsin law, budget bills require 2/3 of the members to be present before they can be voted on, and lacking any other way to slow down passage of the bill, the 14 Democratic members of the Senate left the state, leaving the Senate two members short of a quorum. Things remained at an impasse for a couple of weeks, until the Republicans stripped out the budgetary provisions and passed the revised bill while the Democratic Senators were still out of the state.

Having had a chance to look it up, I can report that Shilling defeated former Sen. Dan Kapanke in a recall election last year.

As previously mentioned, the argument put forth by the Governor and the legislature was that collective bargaining needed to be revoked to solve the state's budget problems. Everyone knew this was bullshit—Walker admitted as much when testifying under oath before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee—and it was proved so when the Republicans removed the portions of Act 10 that really did have budgetary impact so they could get around the problem of not having a quorum in the Senate. Then they called a conference committee meeting with only two hours notice, in violation of the state's open meetings law, which requires 24 hours notice for public meetings. And since the original bill had never been voted on in the Senate, there's some question as to how they could have a conference committee in the first place. So I think "shenanigans" is fair.

Actually, it turns out he's from La Crosse, which is north of Madison but not really "up north." He didn't actually say where he was from, and he sounded like he was from up north…

The actual quote is, "If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool." And the actual person who said it wasn't Abraham Lincoln, apparently. Good quote, though.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party and the unions weren't planning to try to recall Fitzgerald; his district was considered too conservative and his personal popularity too high. Compas, who lives in that district, thought he was vulnerable, so she took on the task of organizing the recall effort on her own with no support from the Dems or labor. She and her volunteers ultimately collected 20,600 signatures, nearly 25% more than were required under Wisconsin's recall rules. Fitzgerald claimed he would challenge enough signatures to prevent the recall from going forward, but yesterday the Government Accountability Board announced there were enough valid signatures for the recall election to be held. Whoo!

She's referring to the Open Meetings law. Technically, the legislature has exempted themselves from the Open Meetings Law. There's an argument to be made that the exemption is unconstitutional under the Wisconsin Constitution, though that argument has not been fully tested in court.

Nichols is the associate editor of the local liberal newspaper, The Capital Times, and a political correspondent for the liberal magazine The Nation.



As I stopped on State Street to take this picture, the Solidarity Singers were singing their version of "This Land Is Your Land," and as I took it, they started in on the last verse:

This house is your house,
this house is my house!
From the rotunda,
to the Governor’s office!
Scott Walker...
will never push us out!
This house was made for you and me!

Which made for a pretty good note to go out on.

For more Tweets and photos by other people who attended the rally (which, full disclosure, contains a few of the Tweets and pictures seen above), take a look at the "One year longer, one year stronger" Storify the AFL-CIO put together.

Tags: excursions, pictures i took, politics, social media: twitter, wisconsin, wisconsin: madison
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