February 17, 2011

"In a last-ditch effort to stop the passage of Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill, all 14 Senate Democrats staged a walk-out Thursday..."

All 14. Wow.
The missing legislators traveled across state lines, spending at least part of the day at the Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Ill. — just far enough away that state troopers could not force them to return. They then spent the rest of the day in a cat-and-mouse game with members of the media, sometimes speaking by cell phone but not revealing their location....

"Their actions by leaving the state and hiding from voting are disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of public employees who showed up to work today and the millions of taxpayers they represent," [Gov. Scott Walker] said.
ADDED: Legislator on the run...

98 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

The 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats then did a taste test of Wisconsin and California cheeses, and declared California cheese to be hands down the best! They intend to go hide in California, where they can have more of that good California cheese, wine, and enjoy the weather there.

Mark O said...

Mann Act? Was one of them a woman?

Fred4Pres said...

The 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats then declared how much they enjoyed being in "civilization" when they visited Illinois and then declared their alligence to the Minnesota Vikings. Go Vikings!

MadisonMan said...

All there really millions of taxpayers in Wisconsin, a state of 5.6 million?

Perhaps if you include sales tax. I doubt it if he's talking about Income Tax.

edutcher said...

Anybody wanna bet it'll be a lot less than 14 after 2012?

Michael said...

Cowards. All of them who run and will not fight for their beliefs...oh wait...do they have beliefs other than the almighty dollar?

chickelit said...

I'll tell you, one thing we have to stop dead in its tracks are those name and words--words!-- that end in "er".

"Er" is an "operative" suffix --you know, operative, as "work"?

Wayne said...

Liberals never stay for the fight. They talk big, call names, lie, whine, cry, and then run when someone like Walker stands up to them.

Seven Machos said...

I think the thing to keep in mind here is that this is theater. Apparently, there is a quorum rule that says that a certain number of senators must be present to hold a vote. If that's the case, and if the bill would pass if they showed up, this show of unity says to hardcore Democrats (the ones who give money to campaigns: we did everything we could, given the circumstance.

It's not like these elected officials are going to stay camped in border states.

So I say, cool your jets.

Synova said...

See now... if this was TEXAS the governor would be expecting the tactic and been ready to stop them at the border of New Mexico before they could slip across and hole up at the Best Western in Albuquerque.

Seven Machos said...

Yeah, Synova, nobody's getting into or out of Texas illegally these days. Don't even try.

madAsHell said...

When do republicans run across state borders?

I dunno...I'm just axing!?!?

Sofa King said...

They are saying they did it to try to force Walker to "negotiate."

Why would he do that? He doesn't need to negotiate. He holds all the cards. He has absolutely nothing to gain by "negotiating."

somefeller said...

See now... if this was TEXAS the governor would be expecting the tactic and been ready to stop them at the border of New Mexico before they could slip across and hole up at the Best Western in Albuquerque.

Actually, something like this happened in Texas back in 2003, with the legislators going to Oklahoma. And the Governor at that time (Rick Perry, same Governor as now) didn't seem to expect the tactic.

EDH said...

Not sure the image of so many "public servants" all on one side of this debate not going to work is going to help their cause in the eyes of the taxpayers.

Synova said...

Actually, the Texas people taking off has happened more than once, and at least once they did manage to intercept some of them before they made it out.

My comment was tongue-in-cheek.

I thought the whole thing was side-splittingly funny when I heard.

Mary said...

The Mann Act! I love it!

This is nothing short of pathetic, however, on the part of this gang of 14. The call to CNN from one of the members of this gang was truly astounding. Demands to be met before they come back! So let me get this straight: Those involved in this "movement" are either: 1. Not showing up for their teaching jobs forcing the local schools to close; or 2. Not showing up for their jobs as duly elected officials of the state of Wisconsin. This is a full-blown temper tantrum.

EnigmatiCore said...

"All there really millions of taxpayers in Wisconsin, a state of 5.6 million?"

I would hope that almost all of the adult population would be taxpayers (and not just of sales taxes).

If not, well, that explains plenty.

traditionalguy said...

If Scott was to promise a ten million dollar earmark for the relatives and friends of the first Democrat who comes back in by 9:00 tomorrow morning, then they would all be lined up at the door by midnight tonight.

ALH said...

What are the chances that 2 or more Republicans get cold feet and cave in (which I believe would kill the bill?)?
I wrote my state senator Kapanke to ask him to stay strong, even if I couldn't show my support by faking to be sick, skipping work & bringing my misspelled signs to Madison.

BTW, caught a snippet of Rachel Maddow nearly blowing an aneurysm tonight..."this is an existential fight for the survival of the Democratic Party". It amazes me how well the left plays the victim. Even under this bill, they will pay far less into their retirement and health insurance then I will.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

See now... if this was TEXAS the governor would be expecting the tactic and been ready to stop them at the border of New Mexico before they could slip across and hole up at the Best Western in Albuquerque.

Actually, something like this happened in Texas back in 2003, with the legislators going to Oklahoma. And the Governor at that time (Rick Perry, same Governor as now) didn't seem to expect the tactic.


Probably because he expected them to act like responsible adults elected to represent their constituents, not thieves in the night.

somefeller said...

I thought the whole thing was side-splittingly funny when I heard.

That's because it was funny. I'm kind of surprised that it looks like no one on the Governor's team in Wisconsin anticipated this tactic. It's not like the Texas gambit was a long time ago. But in any case, it's all theater, for the reasons cited above by Seven Machos.

MnMark said...

Well if the Left is going to make this out to be the apocalypse, then Walker ought to push for a hell of a lot tougher bill than he's pushing for. Get rid of public employee unions altogether. Fire all the teachers and make them reapply for their jobs. Really get something out of it.

MadisonMan said...

I would hope that almost all of the adult population would be taxpayers (and not just of sales taxes).

Well, the 14 who left don't even represent half the state. That's at 2.8 million total, and I'm thinking maybe 2/3rd of those are adults? How is that millions of taxpayers?

I can't stand innumeracy in pubic officials.

Roger J. said...

The democrats in Wisconsin should be standing proud! /s

What a a sorry bunch of scum sucking asswipes--these douchebags have done the impossible--given democrats a bad name.

Congratulations Wisconsin democrats. Great job.

MadisonMan said...

Fire all the teachers and make them reapply for their jobs.

Again with this.

Who would want to live in a state where the Governor can fire a local employee? I thought Conservatives were for local control.

Jason said...

Yes, Im sure Scott Walker is going to negotiate the biggest part of his budget bill just weeks after taking office with a new majority in both houses. Especially after campaigning on it for over a year.

The unions played a staring contest with Walker, and he didnt blink. And now these Democratic Senators are gonna have a hell of a time getting any money for their districts and consituents after pissing off a new governor and majority by heading to Illinois of all places to avoid a vote.

What a foolish, short-sighted move.

Quayle said...

Having a tantrum.

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seven Machos said...

I can't stand the insufferable demand for factual accuracy -- especially by the side you don't like as much -- in an atmosphere of political rhetoric, which itself requires a narrative and elements of poetry and even fiction.

Jason said...

Walker should do exactly what he said he would do if this bill didnt pass...lay off state workers.

Start firing people at 8 AM if the Democrats arent back, and keep going until they actually show up. I bet it wouldnt take long.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

If I were an aspiring Republican Senate candidate in Wisconsin right now, I would be filming lots of footage of the empty chairs in the chamber. Not sure what the script would be, yet, but that image should be good for some ads.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you're allowed to compel them to return, and the law does not specify how, why not compel them by announcing that failure to return will be taken as resignation?

Seven Machos said...

Freeman -- My guess is that the law does specify how.

Michael said...

Today's democrats are yellow bellied cowards...all of them. I grew up in a home of Scoop Jackson's democrats. In 2011 Scoop Jackson would be a Republican.

Wayne said...

Liberals never stay for the fight. They talk big, call names, lie, whine, cry, and then run when someone like Walker stands up to them. How do they keep getting elected?

Oh, yeah. Talking big, calling names, lying, whining...

Freeman Hunt said...

I read somewhere that it did not specify.

MadisonMan said...

Seven, what's one of my favorite books?

Freeman Hunt said...

Or, first guy back gets $1 million cash.

Ann Althouse said...

Stuck inside Wisconsin
Off to Illinois forever
Never seeing no one nice again like Doyle
Jim Doyle, Doy-oy-oy-oyle

If I ever get out of here
Thought of giving it all away
To a registered PAC
All I need is a cheese a day
If I ever get out of here
If we ever get out of here

The budget exploded with a mighty crash
As we fell into the sun
And the first one said to the second one there
I hope you’re having fun

Legislator on the run
Legislator on the run...

Meade said...

It's not like everyone doesn't already know where they are.

They're in Illinois.

They've locked themselves in a closest and they refuse to come out. They just want everyone to leave them alone. But we can't leave them alone because THEY won't come out of the closet.

Shanna said...

They've locked themselves in a closest and they refuse to come out. They just want everyone to leave them alone. But we can leave them alone because THEY won't come out of the closet.

Are they perhaps Trapped in the Closet? I bet that's it.

If you're allowed to compel them to return, and the law does not specify how, why not compel them by announcing that failure to return will be taken as resignation?

I've been wondering how long you have to be gone before you are no longer a State Senator. There has to be some kind of provision in case of someone skipping out. I mean, we all know they're going to come back after they finish throwing their hissy and this is mostly a delaying tactic, but still.

Irene said...

"[S]pending at least part of the day at the Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Ill."

Haha. A famously sad place since the mid-1960s.

David said...

edutcher said...
Anybody wanna bet it'll be a lot less than 14 after 2012?


Perhaps one or two, but they are mostly from safe districts.

ALH said...

The best way to handle the "gang of 14" is to do what works with my kids when they have an occasional meltdown.....benign neglect.

Ignore them for a few days and they start to look more and more childishly pathetic.

Irene said...

But at least Senator "Bush-is-like-a Nazi" Durbin welcomed them.

Seven Machos said...

Freeman -- I am basing what I am saying on some hazy memory of when this happened before in another state, and reading about the process whereby some other officials have the power to bring legislators in for a quorum. The way I recall it, there needed to be subpoenas or some such -- something that by nature is a very limiting document.

But I don't know the answer here. From a political perspective, if I am the Governor of Wisconsin, I am constantly communicating with the people whose votes I do have, and otherwise sitting tight because time is definitely on my side.

edutcher said...

If Walker did fire all the union slugs (in the manner of you-know-who), it probably wouldn't take a week for every job to be filled.

By people from Illinois and Michigan.

PS In OH, all it takes to home school is a college degree - in any discipline. Is the same true in WI?Could all those union teachers be replaced by out-of-work programmers, lawyers, stock brokers, or whatever?

Seven Machos said...

Madison -- The Great Gatsby? The Odyssey? Catcher in the Rye? The David Story in the Bible? Those are some good ones. But you have me stumped.

David said...

Leave them in the closet. Someone will start farting.

Mark said...

Who would want to live in a state where the Governor can fire a local employee? I thought Conservatives were for local control.

Let's play by your rules for one more day, okay? Then we can go to that "local control" thing.

realwest said...

I'm sorry, I just don't understand this at all.
Gov. Walker (and apparently even the Democrats agree) says that the State is in a $3.5 Billion budget hole. So, if I understand this correctly, Gov. Walker has basically two choices: he can lay off tens of thousands of government workers or ask government workers to contribute SOMETHING to their pension plans and the cost of their healthcare insurance.
Or is it just the teachers that he's asking to contribute to their pension plans and health care costs?
And if a Union's choice is to give back something (pension, healthcare) that they won in collective bargaining OR see tens of thousands of their members laid off, wouldn't a responsible Union do the give back bit - if for no other reason than to keep collecting dues from members who would otherwise be laid off?!
And why doesn't Gov. Walker and the GOP use Obama, Pelosi and Reid's tactic when accused of being unfair: Just say We WON.

Beldar said...

Actually, in two different legislative sessions in 2003 (the latter being a special session called specifically for redistricting), first the Texas House and then the Texas Senate saw the flight of Democrats to prevent a quorum -- House members to Oklahoma, then Senate members to New Mexico.

The purpose of the quorum was to pass a redistricting bill, which was the legislators' collective sworn duty under both the federal and state constitutions. The Dems had forced a deadlock in 2001; and they wanted to continue that deadlock in 2003 because no bill meant that the radically pro-Democratic gerrymander of the 1990s would remain in place (with the federal courts being counted on to do the minimum necessary, upon the State Legislature's default, in order to create the new districts allocated Texas in the 2000 Census).

The required legislative redistricting in Texas was finally completed when the state senate boycott was broken: Dem state senator John Whitmire from Houston (who's a pretty savvy courtroom lawyer as well as the "dean" of the Senate Dems) actually read the hearing transcripts from the Dems' federal lawsuit challenging the GOP map, and realized immediately that the Dems' own lawyers had been badly misrepresenting to the exiled state senators the actual status of the case, including their side's chances of success. (They were actually getting their butts kicked methodically.)

So yeah, there's a pattern here: The Democratic Party is demonstrably anti-democratic. It's actually harder to think of anything more anti-democratic than marching to stave off the consequences of last November's loss at the polls, except for -- well, legislators fleeing the state, breaking its law and putting themselves outside its jurisdiction, in order to prevent said consequences.

Jason said...

If the actions of the Democrats today dont unite the GOP behind Walker stronger than ever, nothing will. If the GOP congress cant feel good about Walker saying on TV tonight that "I wont be bullied", I dont know what will.

The Dems spit in the face of every taxpayer by bailing on an important vote. They basically just gave the GOP any political ad they want to run for the next election cycle.

Seven Machos said...

I remember playing In the Closet as a kid. That was fun. Spin the Bottle was also good, as long as you didn't get the fat girl.

Freeman Hunt said...

If they keep hiding, hopefully those protesters will keep protesting. They make a nice face for the pro public sector union side.

Anita said...

Well, here's a hint that the media will now start referring to the protests as "largely peaceful", which is what they do when lefty protests start getting physically violent:
http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/02/nine-violent-protesters-arrested-in-madison-wisconsin/

David said...

Tomorrow will be a bigger demonstration, by the way.

My daughter, a teacher from Northern Wisconsin, is one of several from her district coming. She thinks there will be a big teacher turnout from across the state.

edutcher said...

David said...
edutcher said...

Anybody wanna bet it'll be a lot less than 14 after 2012?


Perhaps one or two, but they are mostly from safe districts.


Ordinarily, you're probably right, but this is the sort of thing that changes minds, and affiliations.

How many kids end up missing out on all sorts of opportunities because of the time lost with this?

Were I a parent, that might be something of a transformative experience.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Considering the bill that is being debated right now has nothing to do with the teachers (no teachers are employed by the state of Wisconsin), it is funny that the vast majority of protestors are teachers.

Meanwhile, as far as I know, every state agency that truly is affected by this bill was open today.

Its just laughable on so many levels.

Roger J. said...

As Madison Man points out the gov cannot fire local school district teachers--ahem--local school districts are sovereign

Now a potential strategy for the governor (whose powers, I suspect, to hire and fire are somewhat limited): Start with senior state administrators whose jobs are beholden to the gov--use the roman strategy of decimation--every department head has a deputy who can step in--when the pain becomes a bit more intense in the senior levels perhaps the message will get throough

Seven Machos said...

Sorry, Madison. That would have been the thing to do.

MadisonMan said...

Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos.

I thought you would click through to my profile.

Anita said...

"Anybody wanna bet it'll be a lot less than 14 after 2012?"

http://thebadger14.wordpress.com/

Jason said...

"As Madison Man points out the gov cannot fire local school district teachers--ahem--local school districts are sovereign"
--------------------

Its been widely speculated that Walker's full budget proposal next week will include a provision that local school boards and administrators must make cuts to school budgets or be forced to lay off school employees in an effort to balance their budgets. He is effectively going to give them permission to do the same thing he is doing now with the state workers.

Ive heard in private conversations with my state representative that this Budget Repair Bill is just the tip of the iceberg. People are going to be amazed the cuts Walker is going to propose next week when he unveils his budget.

Roger J. said...

Jason--thanks for the information--sounds like the only strategy the Gov has to rein in teachers unions--your insights are much appreciated

Seven Machos said...

Ive heard in private conversations with my state representative that this Budget Repair Bill is just the tip of the iceberg.

If true (a substantial if), it helps us understand why Walker would want even more to bide his time. Let the protests go full throttle. Let the schools be out. Let the legislators flee. Let all the energy of opposition expend itself. Then bring out the serious stuff.

At some point, this mobilization of public employees and union supporters begins to grate excessively on the vast majority of people. We are not Greece. We had our elections. We cast our civic fate.

Anita said...

I'm sure glad the president (once the media had done his dirty work of linking Sarah Palin and Rush to the Giffords shooting) lectured us on on civil discourse.

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/115215/

Roger J. said...

From my experience in the military hierarchy (and fairly far down) the usual bureaucratic response when asked to cut is to offer up the essential jobs that simply cannot be cut--if the gov starts with senior administrators whom he can fire the next person up will soon get the message.Using my military as an example, its much easier to fire the general because the army runs just fine without them.

Mary said...

Despite our horrible fiscal problems, Illinois still has some wonderful places to visit -- Chicago lake front, Little Italy downtown, the museums, beautiful countryside in the Barrington area. But Rockford isn't one of them. They should be fired for not having the good sense to at least abandon their jobs by going to a better place!

As I said in a prior post, can we borrow the Governor for just a year?

Seven Machos said...

Roger J. -- Yes. Standard operating procedure is to yell Don't Kill Big Bird any time anyone proposes limiting public television funding.

Say, how about the totally boring and useless shit that runs the other 23 hours a day?

Full disclosure: I am an avid consumer of public television, so I don't think it's really 23 hours of shit, but the point is made. Not factually, sadly for Madison Man, but made nevertheless.

garage mahal said...

What a a sorry bunch of scum sucking asswipes--these douchebags have done the impossible--given democrats a bad name.

Translation: I HATE Democrats with spines that won't bend over and take it up the ass from a Republican.

Roger J. said...

Garage--seriously--what did the democrat controlled congress do to republicans? I think the issue is that republicans won--democrats can try to regain political power--but if you think the Wisconsin democratic senators are being valiant, then thats your privilege

full disclosure--I honestly dont give a flying fuck what happens to wisconsin--but I think democrat actions do not reflect favorably on any political process. YMMV

Charlie Martin said...

Translation: I HATE Democrats with spines that won't bend over and take it up the ass from a Republican.

Well, they put out for the unions, they put out for George Soros, they put out for the newspapers....

My guess is that we're just haggling about the price.

Roger J. said...

My guess is the 14 senate democrats in wisconsin will rewrite the definition of Phyrric Victory--it will be a phyrric defeat. But time will tell.

Anita said...

What a a sorry bunch of scum sucking asswipes--these douchebags have done the impossible--given democrats a bad name.

Correct Translation: The behaviour of these gentlemen and ladies has shown that Democrats have problems dealing with the democratic process when things don't go their way.

That's why they're a bunch of scum sucking asswipes.

Steven said...

I peer into the Wisconsin Constitution and see . . .

Rats. Expulsion doesn't require a 2/3 vote of members meeting, but a 2/3 vote of all elected members.

But . . . a majority constitutes a quorum for ordinary business. And the house "may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide."

Which means, in principle, the Senate, which has a majority, which constitutes a quorum, could choose to amend the rules to impose serious penalties for failure to attend a quorum call.

There may be rules to prevent such an amendment of the rules, but in most legislatures such rules require that a member invoke them . . . which would produce the quorum just as effectively, if the Rs were united. And "Courts have no jurisdiction to review legislative rules of proceeding".

Roger J. said...

This contretemps raises a very salient issue in democracies--procedures (eg constitutions, rules of the legislative bodies etc, assume that participants play by the rules--when participants fail to play by those rules, their scorning of rules reduces democracy to nothing.

that is the democrat legacy here--perhaps Wisconsin needs its Lord Protector--Oliver Cromwell, who dealt with the rump parliament--in the name of god go.

Roger J. said...

Regretably Wisconsin does not have Cromwell's new model army

Fen said...

Actually, in two different legislative sessions in 2003 (the latter being a special session called specifically for redistricting), first the Texas House and then the Texas Senate saw the flight of Democrats to prevent a quorum -- House members to Oklahoma, then Senate members to New Mexico... So yeah, there's a pattern here: The Democratic Party is demonstrably anti-democratic.

Happened in Texas much earlier than your examples - the "Killer Bees" in 1979.

http://www.billhobby.com/bhobby-how-excerpt.htm

PatCA said...

Some tea party guy down there found one of them and got video. (BigGovernment)

shiloh said...

Anybody wanna bet it'll be a lot less than 14 after 2012?

Logically, if any Dem in any state survived the low turnout 2010 midterm, the worst wave election for the Dems since Truman ~ one would think that Dem would be safe in 2012/2014 whatever.

Especially since voter demo trends are all in the Dems favor ie the youth vote, minorities etc. and older Rep voters are passing on daily.

Interesting generically Reps won the 2010 midterm by (5) million votes as (29) million 2008 Obama voters stayed home.

>

2012 should be very interesting as America continues to self-destruct.

>

As a reference one should look up the reasons behind the Fall of the Roman Empire ie

1. Christianity

Over time, Church leaders became influential and took away power from the emperor. Christian beliefs conflicted with the working of empire.

2. Barbarians and Vandals

Rome embraced the barbarians but also lost territory and revenue to them, especially in Carthaginian Africa, which they lost to the Vandals.

3. Decay

ie lack of military discipline.

4. Inflation

By the time of Claudius II Gothicus (268-270 A.D.) the amount of silver in a supposedly 100% silver denarius was only .02%. This led to or was severe inflation, depending on how you define inflation.

5. Lead

The presence of lead in the drinking water leached in from the water pipes, from glazes, and food preparation could have contributed to heavy metal poisoning. Lead was associated with contraception and recognized as a deadly poison.

6. Economic

* Poor management,
* The dole (bread and circuses), and
* Hoarding.

Also: Environmental change and decaying infrastructure.

7. Division of the Empire

The Roman Empire was split not just geographically, but culturally, with a Latin Empire and a Greek one, the latter of which may have survived because it had most of the population, a better military, more money, and better rule.

8. Hoarding and Deficit

Causes of the fall of Rome include economic decay through hoarding of bullion, barbarian looting of the treasury, and trade deficit.
~~~~~


btw, this is my feel good post for February!

take care

shiloh said...

but, but, but the Romans didn't have nuclear weapons ;)

Interesting during Nixon's '72 landslide and Reagan's '84 landslide Republicans couldn't take control of the House of Representatives ...

carry on

Bartender Cabbie said...

Call "Dog" the Bounty Hunter to get them back? Might work.

Beldar said...

@ Fen: Yeah, I was at UT when the "Killer Bees" made their dash, led by "El Patron" Lloyd Doggett, the pasty white male who -- after his seat disappeared in the redistricting -- changed residence into a newly drawn district expected to be won by a Hispanic, and then steamrollered a female hispanic in the ensuing Democratic primary. He's some piece of work. But I can't remember what their boycott was over, frankly, and I can't believe it was over anything as consequential as redistricting.

Beldar said...

Heh, Wikipedia refreshes my recollection, and it was worth the effort:

"[Doggett] first gained notoriety in 1979, as a member of the "Killer Bees" — a group of 12 Democratic state senators who opposed a plan to move the state's presidential primary to March 11. The intent was to give former governor John Connally a leg up on the 1980 Republican nomination. The Killer Bees wanted a closed primary. When this proposal was rejected, they walked out of the chamber and left the Senate two members short of a quorum. The bill was withdrawn five days later."

Yeah, the John Connally Presidential Juggernaut, I remember it well.

invention13 said...

Why doesn't one of the republicans just change party affiliation (temporarily, of course) so there will be at least one democrat present?

Christopher said...

Because they still need a quorum, which requires 20 people.

I believe they only have 17 right now.

Crimso said...

Does the Senate have to meet at the Capitol? Could the Repubs go to where the Dems are and VERY quickly call the Senate into session? Now that would be really funny. The WI Senate meeting at some fleabag motel in IL.

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

Under standard parliamentary law, members who refuse to respond to a "call" may be fined. In fact, the Wisconsin Constitution specifically provides that each house "may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide" (Article IV, Section 7). The Democratic members are absent without leave of the Senate--in flagrant violation of Wisconsin Senate Rule 16. The Senate Republicans have a quorum for conducting regular business (as opposed to the special quorum needed for fiscal bills), so they need not wait for the Democrats to return to be able to start imposing penalties. I think that the threat of making them forfeit a month's pay (or more, if necessary) would be enough to compel at least one of them to return. Don't you?

Politically, I think, the voters would be pretty receptive to this. If you don't show up for work, you don't get paid. It's pretty simple. State senators should be no different.

(Interestingly, the Wisconsin Constitution provides no limits for these penalties. The only limit is that it must be within the jurisdiction of the State of Wisconsin. Theoretically, if the Republicans were feeling particularly malevolent, it seems to me that they could even seize all of the missing senators' assets. These senators have fled the state to escape the jurisdiction of the Senate Sargent-at-Arms. There seems to me a rather delightful irony in them discovering that his jurisdiction still has an awful lot of bite.)

Fen said...

I would support a law that declares "fleeing the state to prevent quorum is considered abdication". The offending congress-critter is stripped of his office and the Governor appoints his replacement until special elections are held.

Also, teachers should not be allowed to involve their students in poltical protests that affect their interests. Its exploitation. Its child abuse.

Fen said...

Article 4, Section 28. [Oath of office.]

Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, except such inferior officers as may be by law exempted, shall before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Wisconsin, and to faithfully discharge the duties of their respective offices to the best of their ability."

Thorley Winston said...

I think that while they’ve fled the State, the entire contents of their offices should be moved into a broom closet. When / if they return, that’s all they get for an office for the remainder of their term.

And dock their pay for every day that they’re gone.

Thorley Winston said...

Question: as one of the penalties to those members who are absent without leave, could their legislative house cancel their health insurance?

Loren said...

Wonder if those cell phones are being paid for by the state of WI?

dick said...

Can the Republicans at this point get together and change the rules of the Senate to lower the requirement for a quorum?