Capitol will close on Sunday, voices remain unheard

Feb. 25, 2011

The Department of Administration announced that the Capitol will close at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, after 13 days of demonstrators being in the building.  The closure of the Capitol sends the wrong signal about democratic participation and open government. This move goes against a longstanding Wisconsin tradition of keeping the state Capitol open for Wisconsinites to exercise their democratic right to free speech. Protestors from the TAA were not consulted and did not agree to leave the building, despite the implication from the Department of Administration’s release.

The steady stream of demonstrators through the Capitol also reminds state legislators of a sustained opposition to the proposed restrictions on collective bargaining rights.  Protesters have worked closely with the Capitol Police, lawmakers and Capitol staff to maintain a peaceful presence until their voices are heard.  On Friday, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association announced they are encouraging their members to spend the night in the Capitol this weekend.

“We are here in the Capitol to remind the Senators voting on this bill and Governor Scott Walker that the process in which this bill has been pushed through has been undemocratic and strips the ability of workers to collectively bargain,” said Alex Hanna, co-president of the TAA. “Removing the citizens who have occupied this public building is undemocratic and obviously politically motivated despite claims regarding public health and safety.”

The Teaching Assistants’ Association provided momentum for maintaining a presence in the building after this first night. Since then, the TAA along with other unions, including those representing firefighters, teachers, and nurses, as well as students and other people from around Wisconsin, have coordinated to stay overnight in the Capitol.

The Teaching Assistants’ Association established around-the-clock demonstrations on Tuesday, February 15, in order to provide testimony on the Budget Repair Bill during a public hearing that was cut off by Republicans in the middle of the night with many people still waiting to give testimony.

Contact TAA Co-Presidents:

Alex Hanna, 765-404-6996
Kevin Gibbons, 813-466-0952