Home > scott walker > Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Tries To Silence Free Speech He Doesn’t Like

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Tries To Silence Free Speech He Doesn’t Like

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

As I was catching up this morning, I came across this story at Four Blue Hills.  I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, this story and what some in our government are trying to do should bother you.

A little background…..Madison, Wisconsin has been a hotbed for political debate over the last several months.  It started when Governor Scott Walker forced through a bill that essentially eliminated all bargaining rights for public workers.  He claimed that it needed to be done in order to help balance the state budget but then went on record in front of a Congressional subcommittee and admitted that the collective bargaining law, in fact, saved the state no money at all.

Unions in Wisconsin agreed to the financial concessions that the governor was looking but Walker still insisted that unions be stripped of their right to collectively bargain.  Why?  Because labor unions are historically pro-Democratic Party and the Republican Walker was simply trying to weaken a group that could vote against him come re-election time.

Now, Walker is at it again.  A pro-labor group has been conducting what it calls “Solidarity Sing-Alongs” every weekday since March in protest of the Walker bill.  The singers have clearly been bothering Walker so he decided to do what he does best when faced with something he personally doesn’t like – he passes a bill outlawing it….

The Wisconsin Department of Administration has announced a new policy that would require demonstrations inside the Capitol of four or more people to request permits of the state 72 hours in advance, and could require protest groups to reimburse the state for the cost of policing them, at a cost of $50 per officer per hour.  WNPJ member group Solidarity Sing-Along would be severely impacted by the policy, as the group routinely brings more than 100 people into the Capitol rotunda for daily mass singing in support of worker rights and a fair budget, and has been doing so for more than 40 weeks. Representatives from the DOA and Capitol Police refused to clarify how they would respond to groups that continued to protest without a permit.

In other words, free speech is no longer free.  You need to get Walker’s OK before you can protest and even if he says it’s OK, it’ll likely cost you $50 per police officer per hour.

Legal experts have already been quick to point out that such a restriction violates the state Constitution.

The constitution says in Article I, Section 4:

“The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”

This doesn’t even speak to how much power Walker is trying to give himself in saying who can say what and when and where.  If he likes what you plan to protest, you’re in!  If you’re like these pro-labor groups, your permit will be denied.

I thought being governor meant representing the people of your state.  Walker has shown not once but twice now that he’s governing for whatever fits his own personal agenda.  The 1st Amendment to the Constitution is designed specifically to allow for people to express their views freely (even in the case of extremists like the Westboro Baptist Church).  The fact that politicians like Walker choose to amend our current laws to benefit their own personal agenda should be disturbing to all people.  Walker doesn’t like the protestors so he writes a law to keep them out.  He doesn’t like labor unions so he writes a law to essentially break them up.

What’s next?  Is he going to outlaw Krispy Kreme stores because he doesn’t like donuts?

What say you?  Has Scott Walker overstepped his boundaries in passing the new “organized protest” law?  Feel free to comment below.

  1. h2dog
    December 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    First things first, Dave. Anybody who calls their blog “ranting liberal” pretty much assures to me that will get along. Well.
    Walker’s the lead jerk in the parade of 2010 jerks forced on us by the tea baggers. I’m not sure how anyone can look at people being charged a fee to be able to express themselves, and not be absolutely sickened. It’s surreal,– isn’t it. Doesn’t seem possible that it’s a real discussion.
    But that’s where we are in this country now.
    I’m hoping that the people in Wisconsin don’t disappoint when it comes to recall time.
    Thanks for being able to see,… and for being willing to express your thoughts about what you see.

    • December 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      Glad to see that you found the blog!

      As a Wisconsin resident, I continue to be surprised at the support Walker receives. Some people back him 100% and claim how right he’s done by Wisconsin but clearly can’t see how selfish some of his policies are. It’s almost as if he governs for himself and himself alone. I truly don’t understand how Republicans can’t (or don’t want to) see this.

  2. h2dog
    December 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Followed you back here from a ‘like’ on our new blog. Just a couple of months old. Kinda fun. Myself and a friend, both pretty damned liberal. So, it’s good whenever you find some others.
    Yeah,,… I’m from the northern part of New York state originally. I would think probably the same type of people you would find in Wisconsin. (Weather, farms, etc.–my little area is a very rural one) But a seriously conservative, redneck area for the most part. I’ll never understand how seemingly common sense type people elect to go the wingnut conservative route,… but they do. My buddy likes to say ‘the chickens voting for Col. Sanders’
    I hope that the people in your state boot Walker’s butt as soon as it’s possible. I see they’re not having any problem getting signatures for the recall. Good luck.

    • December 15, 2011 at 8:02 am

      To hear Walker supporters talk about it, the recall petitions only have invalid signatures like Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler. You don’t get to a few hundred thousand signatures without a lot of contempt for the governor. I think they’ll get enough signatures to get him recalled in the next month. The big challenge is to find a candidate that can beat him in an election.

  3. December 15, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I thought we had the crookedest, sneakiest governor in the country, in Paul LePage of Maine, but It sounds like Walker ranks right up there at the top. I’m anxious to hear how my Republican, Constitution-loving father will react to this one! Thanks for keeping me informed!

    • December 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

      He is without a doubt the most polarizing guy in Wisconsin. Republicans swear by the guy. Democrats can’t stand him. I understand he was elected by the majority and as a Republican he’ll do some things I don’t like but he just seems to be pushing the envelope of integrity with some of his moves.

  4. December 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    We’ve heard of Walker, Down Under, here in New Zealand. His reputation – shall we say – is not the best…

    • December 16, 2011 at 10:05 am

      Wow! I’m impressed! I didn’t think his name had ventured that far outside of Wisconsin!

      • December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm

        The “Wisconsin Model” for reducing state services; tax-cuts for the rich; attacking the unemployed… Yep, it’s a term we’re familiar with alright…

  5. December 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Politics: they’ll drive you batty!

    • December 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      Believe me, they already are!

  6. December 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I can understand a permit if the price is reasonable to cover costs of police and/or clean-up but Walker has asked way too much! And it is rather suspect since he does it according to his own fickleness.

    • December 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Yeah, some costs I can understand but Walker is using the law to control who has a voice and who doesn’t. Not right!

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