Repair bill protesters rally on Hastings
The Wisconsin Senate Republicans voted 18-1 Wednesday to pass Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget repair bill. Only Republican Senator Dale Schultz voted against the bill. The Senate Democrats remain in Illinois, having not returned for three weeks to avoid voting on the controversial bill and buy more time for debate.
The Republican senators moved the vote to Wednesday and no Democratic senators were able to attend the vote in time.
As stated in Senate Rule 93, no advance notice is required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, said Senate Chief Clerk Rob Marchant in a news release. A two-hour notice was provided by posting on the bulletin board. Marchant’s staff emailed a copy of the notice to all legislative offices at 4:10 p.m.
“The notice appears to have satisfied the requirements of the rules and statutes,” said Marchant in the release.
The Assembly Democrats plan to debate the bill Thursday. The Senate Democrats plan to return Thursday.
“They’re doing what the people that voted for them asked them to do,” said sophomore and president of UW-Eau Claire College Democrats Alex Zank of the Senate Democrats decision to remain in Illinois.
Zank was one of many students and community members who gathered at the Hastings Way and Brackett Avenue intersection at 8 p.m. Wednesday night to publicly protest the passing of the bill.
“They created more time for people to voice their opinions on the Capitol since Scott Walker and the Republicans tried cutting them off,” he said, “so they’re doing exactly what I would have asked them to do.”
Carolyn Dunning, a member of the Democratic Party and another protest attendee, felt similarly about the Democrats’ decision, calling them brave. Dunning said she felt the manner in which the bill was passed was appalling and shocking.
“We have to recall the Republicans. We’ve got to recall Scott Walker,” said Dunning. “This is a government that is not of or by and certainly not for the people.”
Zank says the College Democrats will definitely be supportive of recalls. While Walker is ineligible for recall until November, as he must have been in office for at least a year, other Senate Republicans are eligible to be recalled immediately.
“There are some eligible for recall in the River Falls area and in Menomonie and La Crosse,” said Zank, “We’re going to be working on those recalls.”
Zank added that the College Democrats will be working on Walker’s recall just as soon as he is eligible.
Recent Eau Claire graduate Becky Sabelko stood on one of the Hastings Way intersection street corners holding an anti-Walker sign and joined in the chants. She received her teaching license just two weeks ago and has been long-term substitute teaching in Eau Claire ever since, knowing that the bill will directly affect her.
“As someone who grew up in Wisconsin, got a good education in Wisconsin, it’s disheartening thinking that you don’t know where education’s going to go with all of this,” she said. “It scares me and makes me wonder if I should stay in Wisconsin.”
Sabelko noted that she is most afraid for Wisconsin’s kids.
“I fear for the children who have to go to school in Wisconsin,” she said.
Protesters were hopeful that the coming weeks will be full of democratic debate and recalls of the eligible Republican senators. The Madison protests are expected to continue at least through the weekend.
“I hope they keep fighting just like they have been,” said Sabelko of the people who are protesting the bill. “Keep going. Keep fighting.”