Thursday, March 10, 2011

Comment Time

After you toss your cookies, wipe your mouth off and toss your comments over here about tonight's zany doings down at the Dome. Here's mine.

Just when you think these folks can't come up with any more bad ideas, they do!

The Wisconsin Senate GOP suddenly realized tonight that the destruction of collective bargaining did not belong in the budget repair bill. "Gosh, how did that policy item get in there???" So, they did the only thing that a group of honorable and esteemed statesmen and stateswomen could do: They snatched it out of the budget despair and Presto! Change-O! It's a new bill, all by itself. It was such a wonderful idea, they just couldn't wait more to pass it.

So, they called a conference committee meeting late this afternoon or early evening on very short notice, yanked the collective bargaining stuff out. Sent that new bill to the Senate and the Senate approved it tonight and the Assembly will approve it tomorrow and then The Right Honorable, His Esteemed Smirkiness, Dear Leader Governor Walker signs it.

Gatherings around the water cooler are now banned, prohibited and verboten.

The headline on this story is incorrect (link below). The budget repair bill did not pass. They still don't have a quorum for that vote. The bill they passed was not the budget repair bill, it was a separate new anti-collective bargaining bill..

Did the Senate comply with the Open Meetings Law??? I don't know, but it sounds like maybe not.

Why the indecent haste? Maybe because the Democrats just might have come back to debate the separate bill and the GOP feared slippage. Schultz voted no. Two more votes and the collective bargaining bill would have failed. As a separate bill, it might have been easier for a couple more GOP senators to vote no.

Given some time, this maneuver just might have gotten the Dems to come back to fight the fight on this bill. Of course, that would have allowed the GOP to pass the budget repair bill.

On the other hand, why would they the Dems come back now?

Did the Senate comply with the Open Meetings Law??? I don't know, but it sounds like maybe not. And, yes, the law does apply to the legislature.

Think they complied with the spirit of the law:


19.81 Declaration of policy. (1) In recognition of the fact

that a representative government of the American type is dependent

upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of

this state that the public is entitled to the fullest and most complete

information regarding the affairs of government as is compatible

with the conduct of governmental business.

19.84 Public notice. (1) Public notice of all meetings of a

governmental body shall be given in the following manner:

(a) As required by any other statutes; and

(b) By communication from the chief presiding officer of a

governmental body or such person’s designee to the public, to

those news media who have filed a written request for such notice,

and to the official newspaper designated under ss. 985.04, 985.05

and 985.06 or, if none exists, to a news medium likely to give

notice in the area.

(2) Every public notice of a meeting of a governmental body

shall set forth the time, date, place and subject matter of the meeting,

including that intended for consideration at any contemplated

closed session, in such form as is reasonably likely to apprise

members of the public and the news media thereof. The public

notice of a meeting of a governmental body may provide for a

period of public comment, during which the body may receive

information from members of the public.

(3) Public notice of every meeting of a governmental body

shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of such

meeting unless for good cause such notice is impossible or

impractical, in which case shorter notice may be given, but in no

case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of

the meeting.

(4) Separate public notice shall be given for each meeting of

a governmental body at a time and date reasonably proximate to

the time and date of the meeting.

19.87 Legislative meetings. This subchapter shall apply to

all meetings of the senate and assembly and the committees, subcommittees

and other subunits thereof, except that:

(1) Section 19.84 shall not apply to any meeting of the legislature

or a subunit thereof called solely for the purpose of scheduling

business before the legislative body; or adopting resolutions of

which the sole purpose is scheduling business before the senate or

the assembly.

(2) No provision of this subchapter which conflicts with a rule

of the senate or assembly or joint rule of the legislature shall apply

to a meeting conducted in compliance with such rule.

(3) No provision of this subchapter shall apply to any partisan

caucus of the senate or any partisan caucus of the assembly, except

as provided by legislative rule.

(4) Meetings of the senate or assembly committee on organization

under s. 71.78 (4) (c) or 77.61 (5) (b) 3. shall be closed

to the public.

History: 1975 c. 426; 1977 c. 418; 1987 a. 312 s. 17. 


  1. From the beginning the Democrat senators have asked for the collective bargaining section to be split off from the rest of the bill but Walker said that wasn't possible because it was integral to reducing the deficit. Now that Republicans have abruptly severed it they've proven that this has nothing to do with the budget but has always been about busting the unions.

    Walker will go to any lengths for his corporate patrons.

  2. Simply stunning. Where ARE we?

  3. Excellent objective sure beats the other sides explanation of it. They are basically using the " I know you are but what am I?" defense.