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Guest Post: Wisconsin GOP Jams Revised ‘Budget Repair Bill’ Through Democrat-less Senate by Justin Wedes

2011 March 9
by The Busy Signal

This is the new Tea Party-inspired GOP style of government: ‘Democracy-So-Fast-You-Won’t-Know-What-Hit-You’.

At 7pm in Madison, Wisconsin, Republican legislators held a hurried “special committee” session with a revised Budget Repair Bill that nobody seemed to have a copy of. When the only Democrat present in the session, Rep. Peter Barca, arose after role call to exclaim that the meeting — and the inevitable Senate vote to follow it — were a violation of Open Meeting Law and that he had not received a copy of the revised bill, the session sounded more like a shouting contest. But again, this is the new flavor of democracy unfolding before my Twitter-affixed eyes.

The Open Meetings Law of Wisconsin says:

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.

In committee, Barca also made reference to an Attorney General’s memo that clarified this last clause, and declared that tonight’s shenanigans did not at all merit good cause in any case. And after the rushed approval of the revised bill and vote, Republicans left to the deafening ring of “shame” from the countless protesters who had amassed on half an hour’s notice from Twitter. (No one from the public was able to enter the meeting.)

Governor Scott Walker applauded the event, union leaders met in emergency meeting to plan a general strike, and I’m left with my dizzying head contemplating these senators words:

“In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin,” Democratic Sen. Mark Miller said in a statement. “Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten.”

Justin Wedes originally posted this at OurSchoolsNYC.org

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