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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

 3:40 PM 

GOP shoots down motion to refer to committee

The Senate voted 14-18 along party lines to reject a motion to send right-to-work back to committee.

Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, made the motion, noting yesterday’s public hearing was cut off early by Chair Steve Nass, leaving hundreds who wanted to testify shut out.

“We didn’t have a chance to finish yesterday, madame president,” said Larson, a member of the Labor and Government Reform Committee.

Larson said more people needed to have their voices heard in the debate and said people "have been shut out of their democracy."

He pointed to several businesses owners and people who identified as Republicans who testified against the bill, saying they have been "shut out of their democracy" and deserve to be heard.

Nass said there was a credible threat of a disruption and that the tone of the crowd changed toward the end of the hearing.

Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, challenged that assessment and said the crowd was peaceful and kind and that there were no disruptions. Wirch sad there were ample police in the room to maintain order and safety.

But Sen. Van Wanggaard, noted the shouting at the end of the hearing and that police officers said they felt the situation was becoming threatening. As a former police officer, Wannggaard said if police had to use force, the dynamic could have changed.

Nass later said as he left the hearing "it was pretty testy" and said a police officer had to pin a person against the wall as Nass was being escorted out.

Two people interrupted him from the gallery as he spoke, and Nass said the outbursts were an example, though more subdued, of what occurred at the end of the hearing.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, scoffed that Republicans were worried about protests and essentially saying "democracy is a credible threat."

Roughy a dozen people were escorted from the gallery during the debate and immediately after the vote, one of them after shouting, "I am the credible threat!"

Larson said there is nothing more frustrating than not having your vioce heard.

"That's the reason for these disruptions," Larson said.

Dems used Laron's motion to rail against right-to-work.

Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, read the testimony from a constituent she said was not allowed to testify at Tuesday’s hearing, while Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, challenged Republicans about the kind of legacy they want to leave after departing the Senate, arguing they were taking the state to the path of becoming the Mississippi of the north.

“The idea that right-to-work is going to help build Wisconsin’s economy is fantasy. It’s not based in reality,” she said.

Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, said unions are needed to help people who are marginalized in the workplace.

Carpenter said the bill was being advanced as a way to bolster Walker's record as he runs for president.

"It's damaging our state," Carpenter said. "Instead of becoming Bloody Kansas during the slavery debate, it' becoming Bloody Wisconsin."

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