Open the Capitol Doors Now: Move to Keep Capitol Closed is Another Republican Attack on Democracy

March 10, 2011

After the legislature’s surprise move yesterday to ram through the union-busting measures of the budget-repair bill, the TAA encouraged its members and others to stay in the Capitol building to continue having their voices heard. About 200 people remained in the building overnight to express their indignation at the Republicans’ move to undermine the democratic process. Today, those people are calling for the doors of the Capitol to be opened to all so that the democratic process can continue.

Last night, TAA members joined thousands of concerned Wisconsinites who ran to the Capitol to express their outrage after learning that Senate Republicans, despite promises of open democracy, planned on ramming through the union-busting components of the budget-repair bill right as the Capitol was set to close at 6:00 p.m.

“What Senate Republicans did last night was outrageous and shows to what extreme lengths they will go to trample on workers’ rights,” said Alex Hanna, TAA co-president, said from inside the Capitol building this morning. “Shutting the doors to the Capitol this morning once again proves how unwilling Republicans are to listen to dissenting voices.”

The Wisconsin State Senate passed the union-busting provisions of the Budget Repair Bill yesterday by separating them from the fiscal measures in the bill. The assembly is expected to convene at 11:00 a.m. this morning to take up the amended bill.

“I think what the Republicans did last night is undemocratic, hypocritical, and cowardly. They went behind the backs of the Wisconsin people and pushed through this bill. They voted in favor of the non-fiscal provisions of a budget repair bill, going against their expressed position that this is about the budget,” said Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) co-president Kevin Gibbons. “They did not inform the citizens of Wisconsin about the session. They actively avoided hearing the voices of people who disagree with them. This is not what democracy looks like.”

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-64, called the move a violation of state law and one senior Senate Republican, Dale Schultz, R-17, showed his disgust by breaking ranks with his colleagues and voting no on the bill. No Senate Democrats were present.

The TAA members, along with members of other unions and disgusted Wisconsin residents from around the state will be present in full force to have our voices heard at the Capitol and at rally locations throughout Wisconsin starting at 9:00am today.

Contact TAA co-presidents:

Alex Hanna, 765-404-6996
Kevin Gibbons, 608-520-3560