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Working In These Times

Thursday, Mar 10, 2011, 11:04 am

Live From Madison!: Updates From Inside/Outside Capitol

BY Jacob Wheeler

Watch live streaming video from theuptake at livestream.com

 

Action inside and outside the Madison capitol building has accelerated since last night, when 18 of the state's GOP senators pulled a procedural trick to push through a bill stripping most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

We'll be updating this post throughout the day with live reportage from Jacob Wheeler, who's on the ground in Madison with The UpTake; its video from outside the capitol is above. —Jeremy Gantz, Working In These Times editor

12:23 p.m. CST:

• Approximately 300 demonstrators slept in Wisconsin State Capitol last night to protest yesterday's Executive Session at 6 p.m. when GOP-controlled Senate pushed through Gov. Walker's union-busting bill — minus legislation that the Republicans say is related to the state budget.

• As many as 5,000 protestors gathered at King St. entrance to Capitol by 9:30 a.m. this morning, chanting "this is what democracy looks like" and "kill the bill". Everyone, including journalists and assembly members (who didn't enter earlier in the morning) barred from entering "people's house".

• Rev. Jesse Jackson and delegates from Rainbow-Push coalition, denied entry into Capitol, speaks instead to the crowd. Uses calming tone, asking them to vote in future elections, and asking them to be kind to, and stand with, local law enforcement. Jackson later leads march around perimeter of Capital square.

• State Assembly convenes behind closed doors in Capitol at 11 a.m., ostensibly to pass Senate's union-busting bill. No word yet out of there.

• Signatures are being collected from Wisonsin citizens to file an open meeting complaint. The crux of that complain would be that by only giving two hours notice for the Senate conference committee that met at 6 p.m. yesterday—rather that the 24 mandated by law—GOP senators broke the law. The Capitol Times has details.

• By 11:30 a handful of journalists (and Rev. Jackson) admitted entry into Capitol. No more than 500 people in there now, relatively quiet. Jackson speaking to demonstrators. No sign of Assembly members. Our videographer Sam Mayfield capturing video, which we'll replay within the hour.

• During protest march around State Capitol, calls by some leaders to boycott M&I Bank, which is located across street from east side of Capitol. One fireman carries copy of receipt from $182,000 check that M&I gave Scott Walker for Governor campaign. Calls on account holders to withdraw their money from M&I today.

12:47 p.m. (CST): Assembly still in session. Democratic Assemblyman Joe Parisi makes request that Rev. Jesse Jackson (in the building) be allowed to give prayer on floor of Assembly.

1:00 p.m. (CST): Leader of Democratic Caucus in State Assembly, Peter Barca (who the Uptake interviewed yesterday; video here) calls for removal of GOP Assembly Speaker Fitzgerald.

• Rev. Jackson addressed Assembly with a prayer. All members reportedly held hands.

• Demonstrators outside in Capitol Rotunda faintly audible from inside Assembly.

(The UpTake will have video of all of this in a couple hours...)

1:23 p.m. (CST): Dem. Assemblyman Peter Barca asks "please uphold the law." Speaker Fitzgerald moves from his seat. His temporary replacement, the pro tem, reportedly drinks Mountain Dew. (from fellow UpTaker Sam Mayfield, who is inside the Capitol's Assembly space).

2:22 p.m. (CST): Assembly vote on the bill the Senate passed last night is expected at 3:30.

3:17 p.m. (CST):
Crowds a little smaller outside Capitol. Back and forth speeches in Assembly. Dems speak, then Republicans.

3:19 p.m. (CST):
Assemblyman Vos (R) says people from Wisconsin and rest of country are emailing 7 to 2 in favor of the bill.

3:21 p.m. (CST):
Rev. Jesse Jackson is in the Assembly chamber watching quietly.

3:26 p.m. (CST):
Protesters audible from within Assembly hall, growing louder: "Kill the bill!" "Kill the bill!" "Kill the bill!"

•4:05 p.m.: The bill has passed the Assembly. Angry protesters chant "Shame!" Dems stand in silence with two fingers raised. Republicans file out quickly. Rev. Jesse Jackson comes over and shakes Barca's hand. Says "Keep your head up." Kids are outside chanting "Recall Walker!"

•4:38 p.m.: I just overheard a protester in the Capitol rotunda tell his son, "Never again. Never forget. The Republicans are evil."

Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at In These Times.

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