Democratic Senator Julie Lassa of Stevens Point is calling it a sad day for democracy in Wisconsin.
She spoke with NewsChannel 7 Wedsneday evening, shortly after Republicans passed a bill that would strip collective bargaining rights for most state workers.
Senator Lassa and 13 other Democrats left the state weeks ago to avoid a vote on the bill. But Republicans cast a vote Wednesday after splitting the part of the bill concerning union rights.
Senator Lassa told us the Republicans broke the open meetings law by having the joint conference committee meet. She also criticized Republicans for voting on the bill without having it in front of them.
"It's totally shameful. It's a total disrespect to the thousands of people who voiced their opposition to this bill. To pass it in the dead of night and violate the open meetings law, then not even having the bill before them before they voted ... it's just totally disrespectful to the people of the state of Wisconsin and for the democratic process," says Senator Lassa.
Senator Lassa says her colleagues will return to Wisconsin to "continue the fight with the people fo the state of Wisconsin to take their democracy back." She did not say when they will return.
Meanwhile, Republican leaders say they acted within the letter of the law by passing the vote. It's typically required to give 24 hours notice before calling a meeting. But Wisconsin's open meeting law states, "unless for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical, in which case shorter notice may be given, but in no case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of the meeting."
For a link to Wisconsin's Open Meeting Law, click here: http://www.wisfoic.org/an-openmeetingslaw.html
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