Can Illinois police arrest truant Wisconsin legislators?

posted at 9:30 am on February 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

One mystery in The Case of the Missing Legislators has been resolved.  The man driving the car in this clip produced by the Rockford, Illinois Tea Party is Wisconsin state senator Jim Holperin, in his third year in the state’s upper chamber:

Another mystery has yet to be solved, which is whether the police in Illinois could detain the Pols On The Lam even if law enforcement caught up with them. According to a legal analysis by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the answer appears to be no:

The Wisconsin legislators on the lam cannot be touched by out-of-state police, according to veteran Wisconsin lawyers.

The attorneys agree that authority of Capitol Police and other local law enforcement ends at Beloit, meaning Illinois officers couldn’t help their Wisconsin brethren retrieve those Democrats who escaped if they wanted.

“Cops in other places can’t just pick people up and haul them across state lines,” said Rodney Cubbie, a former federal and Milwaukee County prosecutor. “You have to have some sort of court order or warrant.”

Actually, no one is sure that Wisconsin police would have the power to arrest and transport reluctant legislators back to the capital.  While on the capital grounds, the law seems to be clear that police can compel legislators to return to the chamber, but outside of the capital, it gets rather murky.  One criminal defense attorney called the situation “unprecedented.”

In essence, this is a political issue, not a criminal issue.  Unless a federal judge issues a warrant for these Bouncing Badgers, the state of Illinois would be highly unlikely to arrest them, let alone force them back across the state line.  Even if police did arrest the legislators, defendants have a right to contest extradition — although it would be amusing to see Wisconsin state legislators arguing that they need asylum in Illinois.

Being a political issue, it’s incumbent on their constituents to demand their return, or to eventually move to vacate their seats if they do not.  I’d assume that people in these state senate districts are already perusing the recall statutes, and might put them to use if their elected representatives can’t find the testicular fortitude to actually represent them in Madison.


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http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16581

These are the recall requirements for WI:

For statewide officers:

25% of the votes cast for position in last election

Circulation Time: 60 days

The liberals are going to try and recall some of the Republican senators, and the Dem senators will remain on the lam over this time period.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/18/wisconsin-recall/

We need legal action right now!!!!!!

WisCon on February 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Wait 30 days .. declare them Illinois residents .. defrock them of their Wisconsin offices.

J_Crater on February 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM


Democrats hate democracy.

Emperor Norton on February 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Liberals Hate Liberty

Progressives Hate Progress.

Colbyjack on February 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Key West Reader on February 18, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Can’t speak to the contracts involved but most teachers don’t have vacation pay and are required to give advanced notice for PTO. Teachers are paid for a certain number of days teaching in the classroom which is normally around 180 days but may be less depending upon the district and state. They are paid for this over a 10 month period though some districts well spread it over 12 months. The district I worked for in California paid over 10 months and required 2 week advance notice for PTO. These teachers are calling in sick and the only recourse districts have is to ask for a doctors note verifying that they were sick. If they don’t supply the note they get docked a days pay. Some contracts even allow for their being docked the additional cost of the substitute teacher. Since the schools are closed that won’t come into play. The best the district can do is to put a letter of reprimand into their files with a warning that another incident will result in their contracts being terminated. Unfortunately they can’t go directly to firing even if well deserved.

chemman on February 18, 2011 at 11:17 AM

The legislature should declare the seats held by the “truant” Senators vacant, and call for special elections.

At the same time, the governor should simply fire the striking teachers and challenge the unions to go to court.

The Wisconsin Disease will be spreading rapidly to other states and needs to be controlled. It’s hardball time; there is simply no money to sustain public employees in their dream world.

Finally, if Osama Obama is actively interfering in the Wisconsin situation, that’s abuse of power, and impeachable.

MrScribbler on February 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I like this plan.

Conservative Samizdat on February 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM

HA! Walker sends troopers to haul in the DEMS!!!!

SHOWDOWN!!

http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/116469428.html

katy on February 18, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Can Wisconsin State Police sit at the border crossings and arrest them when they return? OH HELL YES!

mojo on February 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM

This is getting crazier by the hour!

Dark-Star on February 18, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Are the poor, poor public workers still protesting and/or not working?

They are delusional if they think folks will be sympathetic.

The majority of taxpayers have been sacrificing, tightening their belts, possible dealing with layoffs. I also assume there haven’t been too many tax decreases in Wisconsin lately. When these public workers are (barely) asked to sacrifice, this is the reaction.

It’s stunning, really.

reaganaut on February 18, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Also, this is probably a preview of what more states will face. Although, the Dem run states will hold out longer, and collapse in a much more painful way.

Here in MA, I couldn’t help noticing that we lost some more population according to the last census.

I’m wondering why there have not been cuts in teachers, police, fire, dpw, etc… to go along with the decreased population?

reaganaut on February 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM

It’s becoming pretty obvious that as the rabble in Wisconsin grows in size, that they are made up of many from outside Wisconsin. Bused-in rabble rousers, where have we seen that before? Pretty standard tactic of the Bamster and his community organizer thugs.

slickwillie2001 on February 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM

That’s how he beat Slick Willie’s lesser half in the caucus states.

flyfisher on February 18, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Also, this is probably a preview of what more states will face. Although, the Dem run states will hold out longer, and collapse in a much more painful way….

reaganaut on February 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM

What examples like Wisconsin will demonstrate to Americans is that there is a way out. Corrupt democratic party strongholds like California want us to believe that a bailout and massive tax grab is the only way out. Wisconsin and Governor Walker are showing what a lie that is.

Brownie has to be just hating this.

slickwillie2001 on February 18, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Nothing like overplaying your hand. The longer the dems play this out, the redder the state will get.

G M on February 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM

katy on February 18, 2011 at 11:22 AM

They can’t be sent across state lines.

They are being sent to Miller’s house, but who knows if they will even do anything.

WisCon on February 18, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Give them 12 hours to return, then cut their benifits; immediately call their insurance companies and remove their names from the lists. The unions can’t help them on that risk. You don’t work, your choice, you don’t get pay or benifits.

Forced Obamacare in reverse.

Don L on February 18, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Isn’t it funny how liberals like to use states’ sovereignty when it benefits them, like now, but then bemoan it when it goes against their agenda, like gun rights?

John Deaux on February 18, 2011 at 11:50 AM

In the video, Sen Holperin claims that “we believe we did do our jobs today” and “my job today is to delay a vote”.

Since the WI Constitution (posted on another thread earlier) specifically tells lawmakers their job requires them to be present when the Assembly is in session, Sen Holperin has stated that his allegiance is not to the Constitution of the State of WI but to the union employees.

He now has a higher calling than fulfilling his oath of office./sarc

That’s the reason our Founders gave us founding documents–so when the inevitable arguments arise in a representative government about which people most deserve a legislator’s loyalty or attention, even lawmakers are subject to a law. The Constitution must be upheld. These lawmakers must be held in contempt.

rwenger43 on February 18, 2011 at 11:50 AM

According the Drudge the protests are spreading. It’s time for Obama to step down!

FloatingRock on February 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/18/wisconsin-recall/

We need legal action right now!!!!!!

WisCon on February 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

The Think Progressive link understandably doesn’t name the Dem Senators who are also eligible for recall. Since 11/2/10 was a red wave, I’d bet every one of the Missing 14 was an incumbent and has served at least 1 year and is therefore subject to recall.

Let’s make the recall a double-edged sword!!

Ask a judge to hold them in contempt, then get the missing 14 recalled.

The Red Wave Part II won’t have to wait for 2012 in WI. It can happen in as little as 90 days.

rwenger43 on February 18, 2011 at 12:04 PM

If I was Governor Scott Walker I would garnish the pay checks of every elected Democrat that is AWOL. If you tried this in the private sector… Out the door you go!

USMCDevilDog on February 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

The donk flight and delay was for the purpose of allowing the WH storm troopers time to swing into action. They just wanted a few days so the buses could transport the thugs onto the picket lines and get the pot boiling in other states. Muscle flexing.

a capella on February 18, 2011 at 12:10 PM

The legislature should declare the seats held by the “truant” Senators vacant, and call for special elections.

At the same time, the governor should simply fire the striking teachers and challenge the unions to go to court.

MrScribbler on February 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

The thing to remember is that right now Wisconsin does not have a functioning legislature, so any plan that starts with “the legislature should” is DOA.

As for firing the striking teachers, I’m not sure the governor can do that. I don’t know how WI works, but here in Virginia the teachers work for their individual school districts (typically at the county level) and are not employed by the state.

factoid on February 18, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Is this Tahrir Square in Madison? Has the Mideast unreast spread to the Midwest?

factoid on February 18, 2011 at 12:14 PM

This is momentous. Right now, a small group of the ruling class is on the run from the American people! It may not be as satisfying as tar and feathers but it’s still quite enjoyable.

Hopefully by the end they will be such a laughing stock that they’ll leave the country!

I think it would be great if the Governor released Wanted! posters with real cash rewards for any confirmed sightings. There’s nothing wrong with having some fun with this, they have it coming.

FloatingRock on February 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Someone posted in another thread yesterday a historical WI precedent for holding them in contempt for interfering with the normal operations of the legaslative body and being placed under arrest immediately.

WI police should do it based on precedent, and let the chips fall where they may.

Midas on February 18, 2011 at 12:27 PM

The thing to remember is that right now Wisconsin does not have a functioning legislature, so any plan that starts with “the legislature should” is DOA.

As for firing the striking teachers, I’m not sure the governor can do that. I don’t know how WI works, but here in Virginia the teachers work for their individual school districts (typically at the county level) and are not employed by the state.

factoid on February 18, 2011 at 12:13 PM

As for functioning legislature, my understanding from reading elsewhere is that they don’t have the numbers required for some things, but they do have a simple majority available – is this true?

If so, they should be slamming through everything they can think of in the absence of the Dems.

And if the teachers aren’t state employees at some level… why are they protesting something the state governor/legislature is trying to do? Obviously the governor/legislature/state *do* have some authority over the teachers.

Midas on February 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM

I’m a Wisconsin citizen. Can I go to Illinois and drag the Democrats back? Who’s going to stop me?

pablo5108 on February 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM

These toolboxes can’t stay at an Illinois Holiday Inn for ever, wait them out and have the state police grab them when they slink back. All we need is one.

jnelchef on February 18, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Fool looks like a deer caught in the headlights.

jeanie on February 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Is the teacher union violating its contracts?

Teacher unions are generally made with the district. The protests are against the state. It would seem the union has no basis for organizing a work stoppage in their local school districts who are not violating their contracts.

Is this work stoppage illegal?

semperjase on February 18, 2011 at 3:36 PM

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