May 3, 2006
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
A couple hundred People's Legislators hollered at the Republican members of the Lobbyist's Legislature to vote "up or down" on SB 1--the rather mild ethics reform bill.
With only 48 hours notice TPL/Democracy Campaign folks responded. They met at the bust of Fighting Bob LaFollette and then waited for the legislators, or as Mike McCabe called them, the "cowards." There was electricity in the air of the Capitol. Only one or two of the stone-faced legislators even said hello as they marched like automatons to their Capitol Police guarded secret caucus. (As an aside, there should be no closed or secret caucuses. Democracy flourishes with transparency not secrecy. Can't blame the cops, but the legislators looked like kids slinking off to the principal's office.)
Of course, John Gard defeated the bill--for now. The goofiest statement came from Steve Freese, R-Dodgeville, who seemed to blame the People's Legislature: "I wish they had been here when people were making up their minds." Whoa Nelly. Timing is everything. Our fault.
As TPL demonstrators waited, an unexpected gift arrived. Steve Foti, the convicted one, stood with a small group of lobbyists looking derisively at the People. The crowd took up a chant, "Foti go home--to jail, Foti go home--to jail." But, of course, he did not. No, he remained to lobby his former colleagues. I wonder if he still gets a per diem.
Asked if he would vote for AB 1 in light of what he learned during his ordeal, Foti refused to go beyond saying, "I'm not a Legislator. I can't vote."
And the beat goes on.
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