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I live and attend college in Wisconsin. Both of my parents are public school teachers in Wisconsin. I do not live with my parents, nor do I receive financial assistance from them. Even if my parents were not public sector employees, I would find myself in support of the public employees fighting for their right to organize.

I was wondering if any lawyers or other legal experts could answer a few questions regarding the legality of some of the actions taken by the State of Wisconsin against protesters and the Wisconsin State Senate against its own membership...

1. How can Scott Walker and the state legislature restrict open access to the State Capitol when the Wisconsin State Constitution guarantees free access during normal hours? The State's half-hearted reaction to an earlier ruling forcing open access to the Capitol does not square with full open access.

b. Why do you think that the state court in question has not re-issued their previous ruling opening access to the state capitol?

2. I understand that both chambers of the state legislature have the right, under the state constitution, to set rules and regulations regarding the conduct of their members. I do not see how the state senate can pass a bill fining absent senators $100/day for unexcused absences from the capitol. This fine appears to violate a Wisconsin State Constitutional provision which does not allow the pay of state legislators to be reduced during a session.

b. How come their has been no mention of anybody filing a lawsuit against the state regarding the $100/day fine?

c. Aren't there 1st Amendment issues raised when the state legislature, through its own rule-making process, punishes the political speech of state senators who leave the state to deny a quorum and prevent the passage of extreme bills?

3. I do not see how the state senate can pass a bill finding the absent state senators in contempt and ordering their forcible attendance at senate proceedings when the Wisconsin State Constitution explicitly disallows for the arrest of any state legislator on any charges except for murder, treason, and the like?

If there are any legal experts out there, I would like to hear your opinion on these issues.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the thugs think they (0+ / 0-)

    can get away with it.

    in the absence of a court order with a police willing to enforce it, they can apparently.


    and i think the 14 senators involved would need to come back to WI to file a legal claim against the fines.

    this is how fascism comes.  it is that simple.  whomever has the raw power and the will to use it: wins.

    that is will to power.

    I am awaiting delivery of my new DK4 signature

    by BlueDragon on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 04:22:19 PM PST

  •  Not Exactly..... (0+ / 0-)

    Yesterday, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Chris Larson gave an interview to TPM DC.  Larson is one of the Wisconsin l4.

    He said the $100 dollar fines didn't even faze the Wisconsin legislators.  He said their lawyers will deal with the legality when they return to Wisconsin.  He said they question the Constitutionality of the fines since the Wisconsin Consititution states diminishing salary in this type of dispute is not allowed.

    They thought the fines, the removal of parking privileges, etc were petty & a sign of desperation on the Governor's part.  

    Whether the fines are legal or not, they are not having the desired effect.  And....Senator Erpenbach has granted Power of Attorney to his staff to pick up his paycheck.  

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