Wisconsin senate committee passes new rule: Senators must collect their paychecks in person

posted at 7:47 pm on February 22, 2011 by Allahpundit

A nice first step. The next step, after the “fleebaggers” (as they’re now being called on Twitter) have come home, should be to pass a law retroactively docking their pay for the days they missed. Senate Republicans can’t do that now, I believe, because it’s a fiscal measure and those require a 20-member quorum. But soon enough, soon enough.

[MOTION] That the Chief Clerk provide the paycheck, per diem check, and any expense reimbursement check of any Senator who is absent without leave for 2 or more session days to the Majority Leader for the absent member to pick up in person. Until the Majority Leader authorizes the Chief Clerk to reinstate direct deposit, the Chief Clerk shall suspend the direct deposit of the paycheck of any such Senator and process the Senator’s pay as a paper check. The Majority Leader shall provide the checks only to the absent Senator and only on the floor of the Senate during a session day.

The committee vote on that was 3-2, three Republicans in the majority and two Democrats in the minority. But wait — how can Democrats vote when they’re not there? Well, apparently, telephone votes are permissible and common practice for committee sessions, just not for floor sessions. Although not every GOP committee chairman was understanding about that this time around:

The Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections made significant changes to the photo ID bill in a meeting that was at tunes bizarre because of the Democrats’ absence. Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) participated in the meeting by phone, but Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the committee chairwoman, refused to let him vote.

Senators routinely participate in committee meetings by phone and are allowed to debate, offer amendments and vote on measures. But Lazich said she wasn’t allowing Erpenbach to vote because he had an invalid reason for being absent.

“I won’t extend courtesies for unethical behavior,” Lazich told Erpenbach.

“Do you want the headline to be, ‘Republicans won’t let Democrats vote,’ even though we’ve allowed that many, many times?” Erpenbach said.

Erpenbach’s name was not called as the clerk took the roll, but he repeatedly yelled, “No!” over the speakerphone.

And thus it came to be that a guy who fled the state to stop Republicans from voting is warning about bad headlines for the GOP if it fails to honor democracy. Perfect.

Scott Walker held a “fireside chat” about the standoff on Wisconsin television just within the last hour; the Journal-Sentinel has a transcript. Of special note are his frequent references to union members who are tired of the PEUs’ free ride and his salute at the beginning to how “civil” the debate has been at the Capitol over the past week. That’s a bald-faced lie — scroll through Ed’s photo round-up of “Walker is the new Hitler” signs or watch doctors hand out fraudulent sick notes for yourself — but the more gracious he is, the harder it is for the left to demagogue him. I’m told that the fugitive Dems delivered a rebuttal after he finished, which involved one of them sitting in front of a Wisconsin flag … while hiding out in Illinois. Anyone seen video of that? Send it along if you do, please.

Update: Here you go. Unbelievable.

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So here’s a thought – conservatives know that liberals lie to gain power (example for the clueless: “Obama is a centrist.”) Why don’t conservatives in blue states simply register as Democrats, say all the appropropriate Democrat things, get elected and then vote as a conservative? Underhanded? Sneaky? Why, it’s enough to make a liberal proud!

ConservativeinCO on February 23, 2011 at 2:11 AM

Nothing shows the liberal/democrat/socialist immoral belief in relativism more than this childish move -calling in a vote when you dissappeared in order to avoid voting is irrational and laughable – but as folks are finally beginning to figure it out, the liberals gained their power and keep it by rejecting rational thought and discourse in place of well chosen words of emotion. It is only the right that hasn’t figure it out yet -this communication stuff. The left understands one thing, one certainty: the voting masses don’t analyze anything – they only see the world through “feelings.” That’s why the lying and deceitful words created by the eft work so well – words like “Gay” and “choice” and “racist” an “tolerance” and “compassion” and “Its for the children” and “soak the rich” work so well -they are never to be analyzed -just felt.
This is why PC was invented – to prevent rational thought and discourse from occuring -just slander the messenger with emotion-provoking words. The listener will admonish them without thought and they will crumble(think wimpy GOP) in fear. Until the GOP starts to learn how to use emotional words and catchphrases and develop clever mantras, to explain and defend their rational positions, and take down the other side – they will continue to be bested by the more sophisticated deceivers.

Don L on February 23, 2011 at 6:12 AM

Sadly, Ed, I don’t think that can be done. That would be an ex post facto law, which is prohibited under our present Constitution

I’m not a lawyer (thank you Lord)but I believe that in the area of fraud, such things are do able. Isn’t if funny that only the right worrys about silly little things like compliabce with the constitution -the left view that as our major weakness, while they flaunt it habitually and get away with it.

Don L on February 23, 2011 at 6:19 AM

transcript sounded real good…

cmsinaz on February 23, 2011 at 7:11 AM

If teleconference is allowed on committee votes, then why not rename the floor vote a full committee of the Senate vote and then say teleconferencing is allowed. Then call up that senator and say, we have a committee of the Senate vote, and voila, the dupe will say he’s present for the committee vote. Then push through the budget resolution.

eaglewingz08 on February 23, 2011 at 7:21 AM

I hope the Republican Governors have met previously to all these events and have developed a strategy of their own to battle these issues. Just to say they must handle it and fire all the strikers, like Reagan did, back in the day, is not enough. There does appear to be a strategy and it’s very important that the Republican Governors and State Reps in each state are on the same page with what works.

If the Govs and Reps have not met, they need to do so very quickly. This is all about to get out of hand. Part of this Repub strategy needs to include our National Repub leaders including the RNC.

Funds need to be allocated for the promotion of Conservative ideas and reminding people constantly, that their particular state is in deep doo doo, financially.

This needs to be a nation-wide response, not just one on a local level!

If this turns out to be another ’1960′s anti-war movement’ type of attack on states, then we must have a united front.

These types of community organizers and union thugs are the terrorists. An effective defense and offense is vital.

And it needs to start yesterday!

scottjenn on February 23, 2011 at 10:32 AM

I don’t understand how they can be paid since they are unavailable for their duties. Or do they have one of those “doctor” notes indicating that they are sick? /

katiejane on February 23, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Maybe they should consider shutting off the state credit card that these dems are no doubt using to pay for their hotel rooms as they hide out in another state to avoid doing their job.

xblade on February 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM