MADISON (WKOW) — Throughout the lame-duck session, protesters and opponents have been a constant presence.
Many spent hours at Monday’s public hearing and joint finance committee and came back Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. when the senate was supposed to start.
Hundreds have come in and out since with about a dozen staying late into the night including, Grant Widmer.
He said he believes these bills are a power grab from the Republican party to undermine the incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. Widmer claims the bills specifically strip powers that would allow Evers and Kaul to fulfill some of the campaign promises that got them elected in favor of protecting a few of Gov. Scott Walker’s policies.
“We want our Legislature to reflect the will of the voters and when we have elections in this state they are designed and they’re supposed to and they’re intended to deliver the will of the people to the Legislature,” Widmer said.
Tuesday protesters even interrupted the Governor’s tree lighting the Rotunda, shouting and booing as the ceremony went on. Gov. Walker criticized the tactics asking them to “leave the kids alone.”
Widner said he understands the governor and lawmakers will likely not change their mind on these bills despite the protests. He said he believes it’s important to let the Legislature know the state is paying attention.
“It’s clearly in their interest to do this under the cover of darkness, late late into the night in an extra, extraordinary special session when people are paying attention to other things,” Widner said. “Obviously this is not something that they’re proud of and they should know that they should be ashamed of it and we’re all watching them do it.”
Tuesday afternoon, opponents did not have much of a chance to show their opposition to lawmakers. The Senate had its public gallery cleared when protesters got too disruptive. They were let back in 20 minutes later but the Senate took a recess shortly afterwards. They were in closed door caucuses until about 10:15 p.m., when the lawmakers went back on the floor.
Assembly legislators started their session around the same time. They originally planned to convene at 1:00 p.m.
Despite that, a number of opponents claim they want to stick it out to see the bills through.