Wisconsin GOP votes to remove protesters. Paging Governor Qaddafi…

How un-American can you get. Having the GOP legislators pass a law requiring the protesters to be removed. In the old days we’d call that a bill of attainder – it’s something Henry VIII liked to use, a lot, when he wanted to behead a wife or a top aide.

And some folks raised the issue of “how did this happen if they didn’t have a quorom?” (because the Dems were AWOL).  They did have a quorom.  Here’s how.  I just spoke with Terry C. Anderson, the Director of Legislative Counsel over at the Wisconsin legislature.  He’s non-partisan staff.  He explained that the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, that took this vote, is made up of ten members: 6 Republicans, and 4 Democrats.  Basically, the committee is made up of the President of the Senate (R) and the Speaker of the House (R), the majority leaders of the Senate (R) and House (R), the minority leaders of each body (D and D), the Asst Majority Leaders (R and R) and Asst Minority Leaders (D and D).  Thus you have 6 R and 4 D because the Rs control each body.  The committee circulates “ballots” through public notice posted in the Capitol Building, and the ballots are also delivered by mail to each office.  When six ballots are received back, that’s enough.  In this case, all the members voted – all the Rs on one side, all the Ds on the other.  And that’s how the Rs won this vote.

More from Defend Wisconsin:

Today’s vote to ban protestors from legislative offices and hearings rooms at the Capitol starting Saturday is a blatant attack on our democratic rights to be heard on the very important matter of the union-busting budget repair bill. Protestors, supported by up to 60,000 protestors outside, have occupied the Capitol for more than a week, slowing down the vote on the bill and forcing the state government to hear the voices of workers on a bill that would crush the ability of public sector workers to unionize. Offices and hearing rooms have been used to organize the protest, and removing us from them cripples our ability to continue to make the voices of the people of Wisconsin heard.

Without the presence of the protestors, it is likely that the bill would have been voted on by the Senate last Thursday, after the Republican Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee cut off debate early Wednesday morning despite having promised on Tuesday to hear everyone who wanted to speak. The presence of vast numbers of anti-bill protestors encouraged Senate Democrats to make the highly unusual move of leaving the state to slow down the vote in favor of debate. That has allowed Democrats to hear more than 100 hours of testimony, lasting well through the weekend and into this week, from people who are opposed to the budget repair bill.

The vote by the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization to remove from hearing rooms and legislative offices everyone other than legislators and legislative staff between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., effective Saturday, is a blatant move to end the democratic occupation of the Capitol, which is the only thing that is making time to debate this bill. We call on the State to protect our democratic rights to be heard.

The ballot vote:

“I vote (yes|no) that it is the policy of the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization that no one, other than legislators and legislative staff who possess a valid legislative identification card, may be in any legislative office or hearing room between the hours of 6:00 PM to 8:00 AM. This policy is effective beginning at 6:00 PM on February 26, 2011, until modified by joint directive of the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly.”

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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