Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Word About The Capitol "New Rules"

Well, in one word: Unconstitutional.

Some background...The Department of Administration has devised a new policy which defines the rules for gatherings and demonstrations in the Wisconsin Capitol building.

This is from the guys who said the damage caused by the occupation of the Capitol would cost $7 million (a laughable exaggeration which was quickly retracted) and the same guys who ignored several court orders to open the Capitol to the public while they spent a fortune to hire lawmen to monitor illegal metal-detectors at the Capitol entrances only to remove them just as legislators voted to allow handguns in the Cap.

They are geniuses.

It's been awhile since we've heard from them so it's no surprise their comeback would be a doozy. They came out with their rules of Capitol usage late last week and Wisconsin constitutional lawyers haven't stopped laughing since.

Here is what they have in mind...Groups of FOUR or more people would need to file for a permit...seriously less people than you can fit in a minivan could be considered a protest event. You would have to file at least 72 hours in advance and be prepared to pay a bond cost up front.

We like to call this "Pay to Say" - your 1st Amendment rights are not free...at all.

Jimmy's school class who might like to sing a song in the pretty Capitol building could have to file a permit, secure insurance and pay for extra security at a rate of $50 per hour.

Demonstrators would also have to pay for any clean-up involved in their devious activities not a totally bad idea which takes a perverse turn if you consider a bill being forwarded for the cost of pepper-spray dispersed on said demonstrators.

If you think this is a bunch of noodling about a policy meant to keep the Capitol tidy and organized you should definitely read the article from the faculty blog at the Marquette University Law School. These guys are trampling over so many years of constitutional  precedents, it could make a tea partier turn to rotgut.