“They are terrified that democracy is returning to Wisconsin. They are terrified that 2018 is not the end of anything, but only the beginning.” - @NicholsUprising
“This is our Capitol. This is the people’s Capitol. This is Robert M La Follette’s Capitol, who said that ‘The will of the people is the law of the land.’”
I’d be tweeting more from this awesome rally if my thumb weren’t an icicle
Full video of the protest outside the Capitol tonight. With wind chill, about 20°. I spoke last, and I think the crowd had only grown even bigger over the hour. As I said: In Wisconsin winters, your fire has to come from within.
Illuminators with a concise and on-point message tonight.
Back in the hearing room.
Speaking: @IronStache! “This isn’t a bill. This is a coup. I ran for office, and I lost. I can accept that. Scott Walker ran for re-election, and he lost. The people didn’t vote for him. Republican leaders today said they don’t trust Tony Evers. Well, the people voted. They do.”
If you care about what’s happening in Wisconsin, if you want to support the folks on the front lines, join me in chipping in a few bucks for @IndivisMadison. They do amazing things with very little.
To explain what’s happening: today’s hearing had two parts. In the first part, state legislators asked questions of Legislative Reference Bureau staffers and legislative lawyers. Now it’s part two, where constituents give two-minute testimonies. Folks’ve waited 7+ hours to speak.
I’m about to speak myself. Gulp!
After watching a ton of speakers give stirring speeches, I decided to go very practical—focusing on unintended consequences, paralysis, and backlash. Not an ideological manifesto. No idea how it landed. But, at the very least, satisfying to deliver.
Teacher of the Year speaking: “Your actions are a textbook example for kids of how not to play fair.”
“My son lives in Egypt. And this is exactly how government under oligarchy works in Egypt.”
Poignant because during the #wiunion uprising of 2011, Paul Ryan compared the protestors to those in Tahrir Square. Back then, briefly, Egypt analogies were a source of pride. h
My friend @HabenGoitom w/ a stern warning about the peaceful transfer of power: “Once destroyed, those norms undergirding our democracy cannot be resurrected on command. You are on a stage far larger than this room. The decisions made this week will uphold or shred those norms.”
At long last, 9 hours in, the hearing is adjourned and the committee moves into executive session. @ChrisTaylorWI notes that not a single person testified in favor of the legislation. Including the bill’s authors, who didn’t show up to testify for it.
Rep. Chris Taylor moves to adjourn the executive session rather than voting on these bills in committee. @JonErpenbach and @RepShankland second. They urge committee not to do this. Vote is called. Every single Republican votes to stay in session.
Left to get some @IansMadison pizza. Now back. @ChrisTaylorWI invokes the crowd of constituents here: "These people got no notice about your shenanigans. And yet they came here to testify, waiting for hours. They’re the face of democracy. These bills are the face of despotism."
@RepShankland: "If Walker had been reelected, would we be here tonight?
Chairman Nygren: "Well, we wouldn't necessarily be HERE tonight..."
Room bursts into laughter
Nygren: "...but we'd be negotiating these things! We really would have."
People buying it: 0.
The final roll call vote. Like the others, straight party line. The last bill passes 12-4, and the night’s sordid work is done.
The one sliver of good news: the most obviously, laughably bad proposal—to move the presidential primary date, at cost of $7 million, in order to rescue a far-right Supreme Court justice from having his election on a high turnout day—died in committee. Didn’t even get a vote.
That extreme proposal was always the easiest to explain and thus the most unpopular, if not the most damaging. It was defeated thanks to intensive organizing—particularly among county clerks, led by @samcdonell. Grateful for their work tonight.
The bad news is that everything else sailed through the committee, only growing more extreme in the amendment process. Likely to become law tomorrow. Senate meets 11am CT; Assembly 1pm CT. And then the GOP hopes we all forget they did this ugly and brutal thing.
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