Wisconsin’s State Senate Republicans took an unprecedented step towards becoming a police state today when they unanimously passed a resolution calling for police to take 14 Democrats into custody for contempt after they fled to Illinois to avoid voting on a bill that would strip public-sector unions of nearly all their collective bargaining rights.
The GOTPs voted 19-0 to give Democrats until 4 p.m. to return to the chamber or be found “in contempt and disorderly behavior.”
The vote comes two weeks after the Democrats left, effectively delaying the vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to kill collective bargaining for Wisconsin’s state employees – vile people like teachers, police officers and fire fighters.
GOTP Senate Obersturmführer Scott Fitzgerald said the action is legally different from an arrest, but “definitely a shift from asking them politely.”
A private ambulance chaser, James Troupis, hired by Fitzgerald, argued that the move is legal, because the state Constitution allows each house to “compel the attendance of absent members,” thus, this “resolution” supposedly gives the State Senate’s Sergeant at Arms, Edward A. Blazel, the authority to take “any and all steps, with or without force and assistance from police”, to bring the senators back.
Good luck with that Mr. Blazel. Oh, you might want to confer with the State Attorney General’s office before you proceed, and not necessarily rely on some local hack hired privately by the GOTP leadership. After all, it’s the Attorney General who will be defending you – and the GOTP Senate members – from multimillion dollar law suits when this blows up in your face, which it will.
Of course it means little to the regime in Wisconsin that its state Constitution prohibits the arrest of lawmakers while in session unless they’re accused of committing felonies, treason or breach of peace. And it doesn’t say anything about the Senate Sergeant at Arms being invested with the authority to arrest the missing Senators, or anyone else, for alleged “contempt and disorderly behavior”. It’s indeed an interesting line the Senate GOTP leadership has decided to cross.
Walker has made a very transparent move designed to fulfill his desire to break the backs of the state employee’s unions and to gain favor with his sugar daddies, the Koch Brothers (isn’t that a German name?). The GOTP leadership in the Senate has become his dupes and lackeys and are enacting rules and passing resolutions for which it lacks authority.
The 14 Democratic members of the Wisconsin Senate did the only thing they could do when confronted with Walker’s scheme to destroy the ability of the working class in Wisconsin to take part in collective bargaining; they left the state to prevent the state’s senate from having a quorum, thus derailing the plan. These Senators have not forgotten that the Democratic Party stands for the middle class, and the working men and women of Wisconsin. They’ve not forgotten that FDR stood for the rights of the workers, and supported the ideals of collective bargaining. They’re not the criminals in this, they’re the heroes. The criminals are hiding behind edicts and resolutions, using the Wisconsin State Police as their own private palace guard or polizei. Everyone can plainly see what – or whom – the 14 Senators stand for. If you want to know what – or for whom – Walker stands for, just follow the money. There’s more going on in Wisconsin than meets the eye, and there’s much more at stake than collective bargaining.