July 19, 2013 By Sue Breckenridge
[What follows are written comments submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Administration as part of the public input process on the promulgation of emergency administrative rules. – Editors]
I wish to express my opposition to the rule changes to Admin 2.
I realize that it is pointless for me to do so, because the intended purpose of these rule changes is to interfere with my ability to express opposition to the policies of this state government. And yet that is exactly why I must express my opposition. I have no other option under this regime. The governor shows nothing but contempt for those who disagree with him, and my representatives are shut out of the legislative process by a Republican leadership that prefers to make decisions in closed caucuses and in back rooms with lobbyists rather than in the light of day and in consultation with the people.
All I have left is to come to the Capitol to express my disapproval, because at least the Republicans will hear me and know that many people are keeping an eye on what they are doing in our name. I come to the Capitol because the Rotunda was designed for that purpose–from the time the Capitol was built, it has been a gathering place for the people to express their views and petition their government. There are slabs of marble on the floor of the Rotunda that were put there specifically to indicate the best places to stand in order to have one’s voice heard. The Capitol is not a simple office building. It is not a place where one should expect quiet reverence. This history cannot be denied, as the administration seeks to do.
The premise upon which these rule changes are based is a lie–there is no emergency at the Capitol, there are no threats to public safety by people who come to the Capitol to express their objections to the policies and behaviors of the current regime, and the peaceful activists who gather at the Capitol do not interfere with the ability of any individual or group to conduct their activities in the building. The purpose of these rules is to inhibit Wisconsin citizens from expressing their views, which is contrary both to the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and to article 1, sections 3 and 4 of the Wisconsin State Constitution.
The intent of these rules is to quash dissent, and that is un-American and not the Wisconsin way. It is shameful. That this administration and the Republicans in the legislature are so insecure and thin-skinned that they cannot abide a few dozen people expressing their disagreements for an hour a day, four days a week at most, would be laughable if it were not so chilling.
Thank you for your consideration.