February 18, 2011

"By Roberts rules couldn’t the President of the Senate... just gavel the session to order, take a voice vote, declare the measure passed and slam the gavel?"

An emailer asks (with respect to the impasse in the Wisconsin legislature, with all the Democratic senators fleeing the state)...

With no Dem I the room to ask for a quorum call and no Aye and Nays there is nothing but the chairs opinion to pass this.

Dirty pool, but as I remember my rules of order, completely within the rules of order.

The reason for the quorum requirement is to insure for minority participation... When one group purposely decides not to take part, I have no real problem with using parliamentary process to get things done.

I also thought that this afternoon once the media had the Dems in sight, that the Rs should have taken 16 or 17 to Rockford, found one of the Dems in the parking lot on his phone, gaveled the session back in order and taken the vote on the spot.  Is there a location requirement in the State Const?
I'm no expert on parliamentary procedure, so... discuss!

79 comments:

madawaskan said...

Republicans are just one senator short of being able to do it without the Dems.

I read that somewhere late last night...

Somebody and everyone is welcome to prove that assertion wrong!

Still next time WI just one more Republican senator and this mess-literally-would have never happened.

Scott M said...

What are the requirements for changing the state Constitution to remove the quorum rule? With majorities in both houses and the governorship, they could easily get it done. Not right this minute and not involving this current kerfuffle, but to prevent future trips to the Tilted Kilt.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


No Althouse it wouldn’t work. IF the bill was passed in this manner, the Unions could go to court and have the vote ruled illegal, BECAUSE IT VIOLATES THE RULES OF THE SENATE…IMO. A court could intervene, even though each chamber can make its own rules, because the court would simply be saying that the Senate violated ITS OWN RULE. In my home state people challenge passed law because certain legally established requirements for passage have been violated…I think you could do the same in Wisconsin. Don’t get me wrong I don’t support the Union thugs and the idea SOUNDS great, but It think it is fatally flawed.

former law student said...

Senate Rule 15. Roll call, quorum. Before proceeding to business, the roll of the members shall be called, and the names of those present and those absent shall be entered on the journal. A member present during any part of a roll call day shall be included in the official attendance roll call for that day. A majority of the membership presently serving must be present to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business; a smaller number, however, can adjourn and may compel the attendance of absent members. When a roll call discloses the lack of a quorum, further business may not be conducted until a quorum is obtained, but the members present may take measures to procure a quorum or may adjourn.
[am. 2001 S.Res. 2]

ark said...

Wisconsin constitution, article 4, section 7, paragraph 7: Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members; and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.

So if the Dems are in the minority, I'm not sure I understand how their leaving can deprive the legislature of a quorum.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rocketeer67 said...

Moving the session to the Tilted Kilt or the Clock Tower Resort (Republicans can charter buses too) is the most intriguiing of the two approaches...but I don't care enough to research the "locational requirement" aspect of the question...

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


To amend the CONSTITUTION would require:
1) A Constitutional amendment followed by;
2) A vote of the People of Wisconsin in a general election, most likely one will not be held until 2012.

former law student said...

Senate Rule 90. Creating, amending, or repealing rules. Senate rules may be created, amended, or repealed by resolution adopted by a vote of a majority of the senate membership presently serving. The vote is taken by ayes and noes. The resolution shall set forth the precise detail of the proposed creation, amendment, or repeal. After the senate rules have been established at the commencement of the biennial session, any resolution to change the senate rules must lay over one week.
[am. 2001 S.Res. 2]
[am. 2003 S.Res. 3]

So the first thing the Senate must do is establish the presence of a quorum by roll call. And the rules cannot be amended until 1. there is a quorum; and 2. the majority decides to change it.

Class factotum said...

What are the requirements for changing the state Constitution to remove the quorum rule?

Not to mention you live by the sword, you die by the sword. I doubt Republicans would want there not to be a quorum rule when the Dems have the majority again.

Mary said...

Interesting how some are in such a hurry to ram the legislation down the throats of the citizens of Wisconsin. If the shoe were on the other foot - and the Dems were doing this - would the Republicans think it is just fine and dandy to twist the process to get what the Dems want?
This is why we have constitutions - and they are not easy to amend. Otherwise the US and the 50 stats would be banana republics.

Jim Gust said...

What am I missing. A quorum is a majority, per the above comments, not a supermajority. There are 33 Senators, right? So a majority is 17, right? Why can't the 19 Republicans proceed without any Democrats?

MadisonMan said...

I believe Constitutional Changes have to pass two votes in consecutive Legislatures, and then they go the voters.

IOW, they take a long time.

former law student said...

Ah, here it is. Fiscal bills require a quorum of 3/5 of the membership of each house.

Joint Rule 11 (2)
(2) Three-fifths of the members elected is the quorum necessary for passage (or concurrence) in either house of any fiscal bill under section 8 of article VIII of the constitution. The votes shall be taken by ayes and noes and shall be so recorded in the journal. A fiscal bill is any bill which:


Joint Rule 11 (2) (a)
(a) Imposes, continues, or renews a tax.


Joint Rule 11 (2) (b)
(b) Creates a debt or charge.


Joint Rule 11 (2) (c)
(c) Makes, continues, or renews an appropriation of public or trust money.


Joint Rule 11 (2) (d)
(d) Releases, discharges, or commutes a claim or demand of the state.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I think the Democrat Senators are making asses of themselves, and they're embarrassing your state.

But I also think the quorum rule means what it says.

If you're going to criticize the teachers for violating the rules by calling in sick so they can protest, then we can't decide to ignore the rules just because it gives us a tactical advantage.

This entire protest is an effort to say, "Fuck the rules! Fuck voting! Give us what we want!" You don't counter that by saying, "Fuck the rules! You can't have it!"

Instead, you have to follow the rules to the letter. And if that means all government business in Wisconsin comes to a screeching halt because the Senators refuse to show up, well, so be it. These Senators can't vote on any bill until they vote on this bill.

Meanwhile, it would be a fine time for the Wisconsin House and Senate to vote on any bill that doesn't require the 2/3 quorum. Someone posted yesterday that only fiscal bills require that 2/3 quorum.

Come on, Wisconsin Republicans! You must have a laundry list of items you'd like to promote while the Democrats aren't around to say "no". I haven't kept track: do you have good gun laws? Maybe now is the time to improve them. Property rights laws? Yeah, it's a good time to strengthen property rights. Campaign finance reform?

The Democrats have handed you one-party rule on everything but the budget. Use it while you've got it!

madawaskan said...

What does it say when the LAW makers-skirt or the law by going out of state lines.

It's a lovely example-no?

Sure "technically" it's legal but could any other citizen have the law not apply to them by simply skipping over the border?

Heck-I really don't know the answer to that-maybe parking tickets. Thing is the average citizen isn't a law maker-so the example they are making of themselves-especially when they are bringing "the children" to watch is questionable.

[Add to that that any average citizen would lose their job if they acted this flaky.]

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Interesting how some are in such a hurry to ram the legislation down the throats of the citizens of Wisconsin.


Do you mean the CITIZENS THAT RETURNED THIS REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE? By ramming down I assume you mean, ramming down legislation that a MINORITY of citizens oppose…unlike Congress which rammed down a huge catastrophe that 60% of America OPPOSED…funny how one’s definition of “democracy” can shift, depending on whether you’re in the minority or not…

1) WI NOT a Democracy for majority party pushing thru majority-supported legislation;
2) US a DEMOCRACY for pushing thru bill opposed by its citizenry.

Superdad said...

My understanding is that the 20 th senator is needed for a quorum because it is a fiscally bill. The quorum for all other legislation is just a majority. If this is correct (and I think it is), the Republicans should just take this opportunity to pass the rest of their agenda. Concealed carry, conscious clause for pharmacists, loosening DNR regs. Shoot the moon. Either you get everything you want or the democrats come back.

Scott M said...

IOW, they take a long time.

As well they should. I was just interested in knowing the process. A constitution that is difficult to change willy-nilly is a hallmark for stable democratic government.

former law student said...

I think over the long run Republicans would resist having fiscal bills brought up and passed by a bare majority (of Democrats).

rocketeer67 said...

If the shoe were on the other foot - and the Dems were doing this - would the Republicans think it is just fine and dandy to twist the process to get what the Dems want?

Um, yes...if the Dems were removing benefits from items negotiable under collective bargaining, bringing public employees contribution to their own health care and retirement more in line with (but still well below!) the private sector, and saving the state $140 million, Republicans would indeed be just fine and dandy with it.

madawaskan said...

Mary

It's the democrats who ran to Canada or who knows where to thwart the process.

F said...

The fact that a group of Democratic senators met in a motel or bar somehwere sounds to me like a violation of the open meetings law, which requires an agenda be published and minutes be taken. Is there no open meetings law in WI? Hard to believe. Go after them for violating the open meetings law. F

Raul said...

Wisconsin's new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker's collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.

The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures -- service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money -- rolling back worker's bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker's doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state's fiscal bureau -- the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin isn't even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

"Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control," says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future -- a public interest think tank. "He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts... so he could rush through these other changes."

"The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed," Norman adds.

PaulV said...

The Rs have enough for a majority quorum. Is the 60% quorum just for spending/tax bills? Could unions be decertified and rules changed with a 50+% quorum?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Oops! It's 3/5, not 2/3. former law student has all the details. Nice job researching there!

Hey! How friendly is Wisconsin to home schooling? Might be a good time to improve that.

How about authorizing more charter schools? I think school vouchers would veer into the fiscal territory; but simply authorizing charter schools? I dunno.

Heck, maybe a bill saying anyone with a 4 year college degree is qualified to teach in the public K-12? That's not fiscal, and it would make it easier to replace some of these chronically ill teachers.

Lincolntf said...

This just keeps getting better (worse?). Not only has the national Democrat Party been forced to bus in outsiders to give the illusion of public support for their grubby Union tools, they've simultaneously bussed all of their Senators out of the State.
It would be funny if Wisconsin was a third-world shithole, but it's tragic coming from an American state.

Joe said...

The Crypto Jew)

The fact that a group of Democratic senators met in a motel or bar somehwere sounds to me like a violation of the open meetings law, which requires an agenda be published and minutes be taken. Is there no open meetings law in WI? Hard to believe. Go after them for violating the open meetings law.

No, it’s not, because it’s NOT a “Meeting.” OR rather it’s not a “public meeting” or “public hearing.” Any number of legislators can congregate together, as long as no “OH-fish-yul bid-ness” is considered. The Senate Minority Floor Leader’s weekly poker game or the Senate Majority Caucus Night at Lambeau Field is NOT a “Public Meeting” and as a member of the Public you are NOT “entitled” to admission. The meeting at the Tilted Kilt is NOT a Public Meeting…though having seen the advertisement I encourage you to go, and “observe”.

Henry said...

@Martin L. Shoemaker -- Excellent series of suggestions.

bgates said...

the members present may take measures to procure a quorum

If they were Democrats, they could deem a quorum into existence. Deeming is a measure.

Unfortunately, it's hard to think of any solution to the present abuse of process by the Democrats that wouldn't open the legislature to further abuse of process by the Democrats.

rocketeer67 said...

"The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed," Norman adds.

And God knows, you shouldn't take responsible pre-emptive action to avoid problems you know are coming soon, right? I mean, why would one ever prepare for a problem before it shows up on his doorstep - that's just crazy.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shiloh said...

Obviously WI Dems will return at some point in time, sooner rather than later as they all have families back home, eh.

They wanted to call attention to this situation ~ mission accomplished!

When they return Walker and the Reps will do/pass whatever and the consequences will be evident in 2012. Taking into account most American voters have short term memories and ain't that bright. ;)

>

After the Gulf War, Feb. 1991, Bush41 had an (89%) job approval rating ~ (21) mos. later Bush, an incumbent president received (37.5%) of the vote in the '92 election.

All fame is fleeting ie things change quickly in politics, just ask Giuliani who was DOA until 9/11 saved his butt!

carry on

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

So, hey. Do these people who have refused to do their jobs and have skipped town still get paid, or will their salaries for their *cough* public service *cough* be prorated to reflect time actually working?

wv: woomis - Planned Parenthood's Armored Car service

MadisonMan said...

Heck, maybe a bill saying anyone with a 4 year college degree is qualified to teach in the public K-12?

Someone else mentioned the other day that this would run afoul of NCLB.

Of course, the state doesn't have to accept all the Fed Education money.

madawaskan said...

The best thing to do politically is to wait them out.

The 14 Dems are looking ridiculous.

Plus their districts cannot be 100% Democrat.

I think soon their constituents will demand that they act like adults.

One thing is for sure the people that they represent, even if it is Wisconsin can't all be union, but they sure as hell fire are all tax payers.

Coketown said...

Republicans, quick! Introduce some over-reaching public safety legislation named after a 7 year old girl. This will compel the Democrats to rush back to the capitol for a vote. Then as soon as one steps onto the floor, lock the door, withdraw the legislation, and call for a vote on the union legislation! It's so devious, it has to work.

PaulV said...

No recounciliation in WS senate. Worked for ObamaCare

Old Patriot said...

I think it's time to start making it hurt the Democrats holed up across the border in Illinois. I think the Assembly should pass a law, or institute an order, that any lawmaker absent during a legislative session for other than severe illness or other qualified (but limited) reason should forfeit all pay and allowances for the days absent. I would also have the State begin fining them, say, $100 per day for each day they're absent beyond a reasonable number, which I would consider to be five days. Anything else during a legislative session is dereliction of duty, and should be punished. Make it heart enough, and they'll come home - fast.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The point of requiring a quorum is to insure that a law is not passed by a majority of a subset of the legislature that would not pass if voted on by the entire legislature.

I think it would be entirely reasonable for the republicans to use their majority to change the rules to allow legislation to be passed without a 3/5 quorum as long as it is voted for by a majority of all of the legislature, which would happen in this case.

Almost Ali said...

Doesn't Wisconsin have an extradition treaty with Illinois?

And if you think I'm joking, think again.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Madison Man,

If that's true, then not taking the federal money would probably make that proposal a fiscal bill. Too bad, I kinda liked it.

Oh, heck, here is the Wisconsin GOP platform. Time to start combing through it for non-fiscal items you can pass while you have one-party rule.

alan markus said...

Madawaskan, that puts an idea in my head. How about if the vacant seats are allowed to be occupied by potential candidates for those seats for a "photo opportunity".

Imagine during the next election, the photos & videos being used in ads, "I was there, your representative (insert name of missing Dem) was not there. Elect me and in the future I will be there" Maybe at the end fadeout to a close-up of the missing Dems name plate, and "x" it out.

Lincolntf said...

I suppose that it's foolish to hope that a single Democrat Senator would buck the will of his Party and actually do his fucking job, right? Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. If it did, that Democrat would be viciously attacked by everyone from the President to the illiterate scags "teaching" his/her kids.
Still, it would be great theater watching my hypothetical "maverick" Dem stroll into the Statehouse.

Patrick said...

If one Repubican, in a safe district resigns, wouldn't that change what is necessary to reach a quorum?

Sofa King said...

In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

Really? The fiscal bureau said that? Cite please.

Anneliese Dickman said...

It's because it's a budget repair bill and an appropriations bill must be passed by a super majority. With 19 votes, they don't have enough.

F said...

Joe:

The presumption that official business is not taking place at the Tilted Kilt is a long reach. In this state (NV) the only time an official body can gather without presumption that official business is taking place is if the gathering is accidental (we just all decided separately to go to the Tilted Kilt) and that once there, they decided NOT to talk about official matters. These presumptions would clearly NOT be extended by any fair-minded journalist to a group of Republicans gathered 75 miles away when a partisan fight is brewing at home. I think the threat should be made that they will be charged with an open meetings law violation. F

madawaskan said...

alan markus-

Dude! I like the way you think...

Hmmmm the campaign commercial potential....

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

I think the threat should be made that they will be charged with an open meetings law violation.

Good Luck with that…each state’s Open Meetings Law vary…In my state you’d be laughed at with that charge, in YOUR state you might stand a chance. What happens in Wisconsin, Althouse might be the best prepared to answer.

madawaskan said...

How long should Walker wait them out?

I still think Walker is winning the visual while they're away.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Now one solution MIGHT be to charge the Senators with Nonfeasance….in my state Misfeasance, Malfeasance, or Nonfeasance of office are crimes.

shiloh said...

This makes all politicians look bad! Which is why the Dems/Obama accomplishing a lot in the lame duck session w/their give and take w/Reps made everyone look good ie compromise.

Results are what matter, not the process er lack thereof ;) Nobody remembers the process!

>

When you find yourself in the majority, it's time to pause and reflect! ~ Mark Twain

Fen said...

This is why we have constitutions

Like article 4, section 28. Where the fleeing Dems took an Oath to "faithfully discharge the duties of their respective offices to the best of their ability."

They are in violation of their oath of office. Their seats should be deemed vacated. The Governor should appoint replacements until a special election can be held.

madawaskan said...

Apropo of nothing I just found this at wiki

Sewer Socialism was a term, originally more or less pejorative, for the American socialist movement that centered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and existed from around 1892 to 1960.[1] The term purportedly was coined by Morris Hillquit at the 1932 Milwaukee convention of the Socialist Party of America, as an ironic commentary on the Milwaukee socialists and their perpetual boasting about the excellent public sewer system in the city.

Wow-maybe there are more commies in Wisconsin than I thought. heh.

I think some of the first and most successful Socialist presidential candidates came from WI.

madawaskan said...

shiloh

When you find yourself in the majority, it's time to pause and reflect! ~ Mark Twain

Have you shared that with Obama,Pelosi,or Reid?

I think Pelosi might have more time now for reflection.

shiloh said...

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union a comedian at an awards show mentioned America was one of the few countries which still had a Communist Party! ;)

junyo said...

The point of requiring a quorum is to insure that a law is not passed by a majority of a subset of the legislature that would not pass if voted on by the entire legislature.

I believe the point of a quorum is to prevent a non-representative number of legislators from passing laws by waylaying the opposition. As such, it's probably a good thing.

Interesting how some are in such a hurry to ram the legislation down the throats of the citizens of Wisconsin.

I get the feeling that Mary (please correct me if I'm wrong) believes that:
1. The Republican threat of filibuster in the previous Congress was obstructionist.
2. That the HCR bill was a good thing, and passing it via reconciliation was fine.
3. Doesn't see the irony of that.

wv: subrep - A WI Dem legislator

Rob said...

If all the Democratic senators have to absent themselves in order to deny a quorum, then no one will be there to suggest the absence of a quorum. Without a quorum call, the measure can be voted on and passed. Right?

shiloh said...

madawaskan

Again, Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way ~ Thomas Paine

The Dems lost the House in the mid-terms because of the economy ie no easy fix as boehner/cantor are now discovering.

And probably would have won the senate if not for teabagger ineptitude ie angle/o'donnell/buck/macmahon etc.

>

Did I mention all fame is fleeting as American presidential politics is really quite basic ie one party screws up and is replaced by the other party:

LBJ/Vietnam beget Nixon

Nixon/Watergate beget Carter

Carter/high inflation/gas prices/Iran hostage crisis beget Reagan

Bush41/it's the economy stupid beget Clinton

ok, I'll give the U.S. Supreme Court credit for cheney/bush lol

cheney/bush/the list is too long to mention beget Obama.

As D.L. Hughley said early 2008, Bush has screwed up soooo bad, America may elect a Black man president!

>

This is not rocket science ...

MadisonMan said...

Walker is winning the visual while they're away.

Agreed. And I'm not sure how this changes the outcome.

I wonder if there are any (R) Senators happy not to have to vote on the Budget Repair bill for a while.

Jason said...

"It's because it's a budget repair bill and an appropriations bill must be passed by a super majority. With 19 votes, they don't have enough."
-------------------

That's not true. For a budget bill, 20 senators are needed to be present for debate to begin. It doesnt matter which party...which is why only one Dem. Senator is needed to be found for debate to begin. And a simple majority vote will pass the legislation.

Its obstructionism at the highest level. If I hear one more person whine and compare this to a filibuster, which is a fundamentally different thing, Im gonna puke.

shiloh said...

Jason, just go ahead and puke anyways and get it out of your system.

take care

Jim said...

Live by the rule of goons, die by the rule of goons.

When Republicans approached Obama after his election to ask HIM to make compromises to HIS electoral priorities, his response:

"I won. I will trump you on that."

All the resident Lefties here thought that was an awesome answer.

Now all of a sudden it's a dictatorial abuse of power, Stalinesque, etc.

Republicans may have opposed the Democratic policies, but they never tucked tail and ran away like cowards. They continued to show up for work and do what they were paid to do.

They played by the rules and beat Obama at the ballot box in 2010.

Democrats think the rules are only for OTHER people.

Why do Leftists hate democracy?

edutcher said...

Why can't a bench warrant be issued and these slugs extradited?

Make them do the perp walk back to the State Capitol.

Frog march them.

shiloh said...

Obviously WI Dems will return at some point in time, sooner rather than later as they all have families back home, eh.

They wanted to call attention to this situation ~ mission accomplished!

When they return Walker and the Reps will do/pass whatever and the consequences will be evident in 2012. Taking into account most American voters have short term memories and ain't that bright. ;)


Well, he's still channeling Albert Sidney Johnston. There was plenty of attention on this already.

All the Demos did was make their party look like fools. All the union slugs have done is raise resentment in the average American taxpayer - which will bite them they next time they want someone to bail out their sorry asses or to, "Buy American".

PS "Taking into account most American voters have short term memories and ain't that bright."

Uncle Saul in a nutshell. This is the real concern the average Lefty has for all those poor, downtrodden, abused masses they tell us motivates their cause -

American voters have short term memories and ain't that bright

madawaskan said...

shiloh

I think you mean the republicans could have won the Senate....

And "begetting" to the new thread....it's got pictures and everything!

Steven said...

As a quorum on fiscal bills is part of the state constitution, there is no way to bypass it with procedural rule changes.

The legislature could, of course, pass various non-fiscal bills, but as this is a special session of the legislature, the state constitution requires that "when so convened no business shall be transacted except as shall be necessary to accomplish the special purposes for which it was convened."

As a regular quorum exists for regular purposes, and there is a majority of serving members, theoretically the Senate could pass new rules, including (per the state constitution) penalties to be assessed against those who refuse to answer a quorum call. As far as the special session restrictions, the argument here would be that a quorum is necessary to accomplish the purposes of the special session.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)





A Special Session you say..OK, try this adjourn the Special, TODAY. Reconvene it the next day as ANOTHER Special Session. I believe the absent Democrats would be, legally compelled, to show up…

junyo said...

All the Demos did was make their party look like fools. All the union slugs have done is raise resentment in the average American taxpayer - which will bite them they next time they want someone to bail out their sorry asses or to, "Buy American".
I'm wondering how sympathetic the taxpayers who have had their retirement accounts gutted or taken private sector haircuts, who are incurring extra childcare costs and/or schedule disruptions, are to the teachers right about now?

Real American said...

Walker should just send some bounty hunters after the Senators, $50k for the first one returned to the state. Tie the SOB to his senate floor desk and form the quorum and then vote.

Juba Doobai! said...

The Republicans ought to pass the following legislation:
1. all public schools become merit-based charter schools requiring an academic degree for employment (and start hiring with salaries at $35K) and with one year contracts subject to performance review

2. defund Planned Parenthood

3. home schooling support

4. redistricting to eliminate safe Democrat seats

Greg said...

This has happened before in Texas:


Quorum-busting

The tactic of quorum-busting—causing a quorum to be prevented from meeting—has been used in legislative bodies by minorities seeking to block the adoption of some measure they oppose. Rules to discourage quorum-busting have been adopted by legislative bodies, such as the call of the house, outlined above.

A prominent example of quorum-busting occurred during the 2003 Texas redistricting, in which the majority Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives sought to carry out a controversial mid-decade congressional redistricting bills which would have favored Republicans by displacing five Democratic U.S. Representatives from Texas (the "Texas Five") from their districts. The House Democrats, certain of defeat if a quorum were present, took a plane to the neighboring state of Oklahoma to prevent a quorum from being present (and thus the passage of the bill). The group gained the nickname "the Killer Ds."

Similarly, the minority Democrats in the Texas Legislature's upper chamber, the Texas Senate, fled to New Mexico to prevent a quorum of the Senate to prevent a redistricting bill from being considered during a special session. The "Texas Eleven" stayed in New Mexico for 46 days before John Whitmire returned to Texas, creating a quorum. Because there was now no point in staying in New Mexico, the remaining ten members of the Texas Eleven returned to Texas to vote in opposition to the bill.

Greg said...

Sorry, previous post referenced undefined term: "call of the house" (another Wikipedia paste):

The call of the house procedure may be used if necessary to obtain a quorum in legislatures and other assemblies that have the legal power to compel the attendance of their members. The procedure does not exist in ordinary societies, since voluntary associations have no coercive power. The call of the house "is a motion that unexcused absent members be brought to the meeting under arrest." The call of the house procedure is governed by the rules of the assembly, which may provide that one-third, one-fifth, or some other number less than a majority present may order a call of the house by majority vote. Under Robert's Rules, when a quorum is not present, the motion takes precedence over every motion except that to adjourn. But "if the rule allows the call to be moved while a quorum is actually present (for the purpose of obtaining a greater attendance), the motion at such times should rank only with questions of privilege, should require a majority vote for adoption, and, if rejected, may not be renewed while a quorum is present."[8]

When a call of the house is ordered, Robert's Rules provides that the clerk should call the roll of members and then call the names of absentees, "in whose behalf explanations of absence can be made and excuses can be requested." Following this, the doors are locked and no member is permitted to leave, and "the sergeant-at-arms, chief of police, or other arresting officer is ordered to take into custody absentees who have not been excused from attendance and bring them before the house," done on warrant signed by the presiding officer and attested by the clerk. Once arrested members are brought in, "they are arraigned separately, their explanations are heard, and on motion, they can be excused with or without penalty in the form of a payment of a fee." A member may not vote or be recognized by the chair for any purpose until he has paid the fee assessed against him.[8]

Once a call of the house has been ordered, "no motion is in order, even by unanimous consent, except motions relating to the call." However, motions to adjourn or dispense with further proceedings under the call can be entertained "after a quorum is present or the arresting officer reports that in his opinion a quorum cannot be entertained." Adjournment terminates the call of the house.[8]

In the United States Senate, the procedure was used in the early morning hours of February 25, 1988. Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, then the Senate Majority Leader, moved a call of the house after the minority Republicans walked out in an attempt to deny the Senate a quorum after Senate aides began bring cots into the Senate cloakrooms in preparation for an all-night session over campaign finance reform for congressional elections. Bryd's motion was approved 45-3 and arrest warrants were signed for all 46 Republicans. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Henry K. Giugni and his staff searched the Capitol's corridor and Senate office buildings for absent Senators, and after checking several empty offices, spotted Senator Steve Symms of Idaho, who fled down a hallway and escaped arrest. After a cleaning woman gave a tip that Senator Robert Packwood of Oregon was in his office, Giugni opened the door with a skeleton key. Packwood attempted to shove the door closed, but Giugni and two assistants pushed it open. Packwood was "carried feet-first into the Senate chamber by three plainclothes officers" and sustained bruised knuckles.[9]

former law student said...

I had another couple minutes: The three-fifths rule comes from the Wisconsin constitution. Courts have ruled that fiscal bills passed on a voice vote alone are not valid, according to the online annotations.

Article VIII, §8
Vote on fiscal bills; quorum. Section 8. On the passage in either house of the legislature of any law which imposes, continues or renews a tax, or creates a debt or charge, or makes, continues or renews an appropriation of public or trust money, or releases, discharges or commutes a claim or demand of the state, the question shall be taken by yeas and nays, which shall be duly entered on the journal; and three-fifths of all the members elected to such house shall in all such cases be required to constitute a quorum therein.

Milwaukee said...

madawaskan: The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District is either FUBAR or SNAFU. They have home gutters linked to it, they have storm water sewers mixing with waste water, and every big storm turns Lake Michigan brown with ... sewer stuff. Milwaukee and Chicago both built big Deep Tunnel projects. In Chicago, they lined the entire thing so ground water can not get in to it. They failed to do that in Milwaukee, so when it rains hard, the soil gets saturated, and fresh rain water goes into the soil and then into the Deep Tunnel. Practically worthless. So no, the sewers in Milwaukee are nothing to write home about.

They recently noticed that the laterals from many homes to the sewer main in the street leak, and need to be replaced. Most of those homes are in the older parts of town, where people can least afford it.

Leland said...

Having seen this game played before in Texas, you just have to wait it out. Really, this is just gravy for the Republicans and don't think otherwise. All they have to do is show up and not make any concessions. That leaves the only legal option for the Democrats to do exactly what they are doing; avoid quorum call.

There are lots of illegal things that can be done; particularly a violent revolt and attempted coup. But otherwise, this is all that can be done until the next legislative election.

In the mean time, no legislation can be passed. Eventually Wisconsin's government will close down. But more likely is that a family event will encourage at least one Democrat to come back to the state. That's what happened in Texas.

There's no reason for Walker or the President of the Senate to modify the rules. It really is a bad idea to do so, both short term and long term. Do you think those teachers are going to keep calling in sick through next week? Or amazingly start getting sick in cycles? Do you think people will be impressed with the out of state bussing in of supporters? Do you care if those organizations empty their coffers supporting this silly protest? Hell, this is an economic boom for Madison hotels and restaurants.

Bring it on!

Brad said...

There's another, "non-fiscal" approach available.

Typically, unions operate under some sort of collective bargaining agreement which has an "end date" (at which time new negotiations take place).

If the Republicans don't need any Democrats for non-fiscal legislation, then they can adopt whatever legislation is to shut the public employee unions down. Even if they were never able to adopt another fiscal bill, those union contracts WILL come to an end someday - at which time their ability to continue leeching off the taxpayers will also come to an end.

C.D. said...

@Brad: Many of those union contracts have automatic renewal provisions of some sort. Might not be the full deal, but it's possible.

As to the open meetings question, the leading Wisconsin case appears to be Showers (135 W.2d 77), in which the state Supreme Court held that there's a two part test to determine a violation: "First, there must be a purpose to engage in governmental business, be it discussion, decision or information gathering. Second, the number of members present must be sufficient to determine the parent body's course of action regarding the proposal discussed." (at 102). The second element is clearly met, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. For the first to apply, it would have to be construed negatively; that is, not attending the session would have to be considered government business. That's a lot tougher, and the party bringing the complaint would have the burden of proving the violation (there's a rebuttable presumption of government purpose if the gathering is of a majority of the members).

Arguing that would be kind of like arguing that regulating commerce among the states means forcing people to engage in otherwise non-existent commerce.

Shawn L. said...

Does Robert’s Rules even apply in Wisconsion? I’m searching, but I cannot find out for sure.

Probably not, as according to the National Conference of State Legislatures:

" Seventy of the 99 legislative chambers in the United States use Mason’s Manual [of Legislative Procedure] as their parliamentary authority. Thirteen use Jefferson’s Manual [of Parliamentary Practice], and only 4 use Robert’s Rules of Order. '

Robert’s Rules are generally more for civil organizations, not legislative assemblies.

The only thing I can find from the Wisconsion legislative site is this PDF, which gives as “further reading,” both Jeferson’s Manual and Robert’s Rules.

wv: pretzsl - presumably a reference to how the rules are being twisted by the Dems. And the teachers' spelling ability