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Monday, March 2, 2015

 5:14 PM 

Tension rises as time to testify gets shorter

There has been a growing sense of tension in the room as the day wears on and speaking time gets shorter.

Testimony is now being held to four minutes, from the five it was earlier and the seven minutes allotted at the beginning of the day. For the most part throughout the day, no one waved signs or interrupted testimony with more than a pronounced murmur

Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, has been working to smooth over some of that tension.

About 30 minutes ago, a man stood up in the gallery, introduced himself and said he wanted to testify on the bill but had to go, prompting applause from the audience. Sinicki voiced her support for those sentiments but asked people to clap silently.

Later a man went over his time and continued after being told twice to finish.

Sinicki said people must follow the time schedule so everyone can be heard, She said the hearing will not be shut down.

But a woman in the crowd objected and continued to speak after being asked to stop. She was escorted out.

Earlier in the day, Chairman Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, kept a tight lid on applause and any other outbursts. His common response to clapping, which happened several times in response to outspoken opponents to the bill, has been to coach the audience of more than 100 people that reactions from the crowd are not allowed.

Following at least one round of applause, Jacque said that he did not want to clear out the hearing room. He did not act on the implied threat.


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