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Thursday, January 10, 2013

 2:41 PM 

Assembly passes second rules resolution

The chamber has passed the second, more contentious rules resolution after debate on one more Dem amendment dealing with the Assembly galleries.

The resolution, which established rules on paper ballots, behavior in the galleries and a dress code for lawmakers, passed 59-37. Rep. Chris Danou, D-Trempealeau, joined the majority in supporting AR 4.

Dem lawmakers decried the rules governing the galleries, telling Republicans that the First Amendment to the constitution is just as important as the Second -- a reference to the chamber's permitting of concealed weapons.

The gallery rules would ban expression of support or opposition to a matter that could come before the chamber, as well as taking photos or video of the proceedings.

In addition, the rules would apply standards for removing offenders from the galleries for a one day, one session calendar or, in the case of a third offense, a ban for the entirely of the Assembly session.

"We have to use common sense," added Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson, who said a girl from his former district was kicked out of a controversial 2011 session for "doing her homework."

Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, countered the First Amendment does not protect interrupting lawmakers.

"We have to have reasonable limits, and that's what this amendment does," Vos said.

"You are making a mountain out of a molehill. There is nothing here."

Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, added that the old rules had mechanisms for limiting all-night sessions without resorting to limiting debate or amendments, saying previous majorities had simply insisted on moving forward in the wee hours of the morning.

"I don't think we should hurt ourselves patting each other on the back with what we've got here today," Mason said.

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