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Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Barca Upbraids Republicans

February 22, 2011

Elected Democrats in Wisconsin find spine.  Might it spread to Washington?

As a side note, back in the years when I worked in the Wisconsin Assembly this behavior by the majority party would never have happened.  That the Republicans feel so emboldened to act in such a blatantly irresponsible manner now says a great deal about the political culture that is elected and serving in Madison.

Debate began testily Tuesday in the state Assembly, with the Democratic leader accusing Republicans of illegally meeting Friday and telling them he would move to remove the body’s presiding officer if procedural rules are violated.

Republicans began voting Friday on a controversial bill to take away most union rights from public workers – when most Democrats weren’t in the room and before the 5 p.m. starting time of session. Republicans relented before taking final votes and agreed Friday to restart debate Tuesday.

“You started before the appointed time,” Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said Tuesday. “It’s illegal. Do you not understand that? It’s illegal.”

Barca, basing his comments on video of the session, said four procedural rules were violated Friday in a few minutes. He said that if any other rules are violated he will move to remove Rep. Bill Kramer (R-Waukesha) as speaker pro-tem.

Kramer is elected to that position by the members of the Assembly, and his job is to conduct debate. Kramer reviewed a booklet of rules as Barca spoke.

One of Barca’s chief complaints is Kramer did not initially recognize Barca and another Democrat when they charged into the chamber to prevent the adoption of the bill without debate.

During his speech, Barca accused Rep. Kevin Petersen (R-Waupaca) of snickering. Barca promised to make an issue of Friday’s session in Petersen’s district, as well as the districts of any other Republicans who tolerate procedural violations.

“I’ll be visiting your editorial boards,” Barca said. “I’ll bring the tape and I’ll show them.”

Petersen agreed to meet with Barca before those editorial boards.

Barca also called for some Republican staff to have their floor privileges suspended and to be suspended without pay or terminated. Staff told Republican members, “Keep going, keep going,” as they tried to vote on the bill Friday without recognizing Democrats.

  1. February 22, 2011 7:42 PM


    You seemed to have missed the whole point of this post….I am talking about a process…you seem to have confused matters with the issues that are being dealt with through the process.

  2. Patrick permalink
    February 22, 2011 6:37 PM

    Wisconsin democrats are on the wrong side of history on this one. After watching countless workers in the private sector give concessions during this recession, public employees still have a far superior deal than they do, so how is one to feel sympathy the public union workers?

    As far as “busting the unions” goes, I for one would love the chance to vote for the union each year so that I know they will serve my needs and not what someone in Madison or Washington claims are my needs. I want better and more accountable service from my union because I don’t ever seem to take the positions I embrace. As a taxpayer, I have as little respect for a monopoly in labor as in any other area.

    As a professional teacher I look forward to the opportunity to get ahead based on my merit, not years of service or empty credentials. I have goals and ambitions.

    The reality here is that Mary Bell and her buddies in the state employees unions are scared to death that given the choice a large number of teachers will decide that it is not worth the money spent on dues to stay in her union. Without the money who will pay her lavish salary? Who has asked what sacrifice she is willing to make in terms of wages and benefits? What about WEA Trust which scams districts by over charging for policies and then giving that money to who….?

    But if the childish democrats what to keep hiding out in Illinois, let them. Each day they are gone Walker will become more popular, gain more support, and more power. I predict that in the next election cycle democrats will lose even more seats–certainly if they continue past friday and people get layed off.

    The elections of 2008 seem a long time ago, don’t they. Thanks libs!

  3. buckyblue permalink
    February 22, 2011 4:32 PM

    If you know anything about Bill Kramer you know that he is not the guy to put in charge of any of this. He has gotten to his post, I would suspect, because of his fealty to the Republican party line. He has a law degree from Duke but does not have the common sense, nor any sense of decency, that would be needed for such a position. He’s my rep, though I have nor would I ever, vote for him. Everyone in Waukesha has a Bill Kramer story, most of it related to his obnoxious and boorish behavior.

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