December 7, 2011
Taylor Unveils Plan Creating
“Capitol Council”, Strips Walker’s
Power Over Capitol
(MADISON) Today, Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) unveiled a bill to create a Capitol Council which will govern the State Capitol and its grounds. The bill comes on the heels of the Walker administration’s edict regarding protestors and citizens right to assembly in the statehouse. Citing the need for the co-equal branches to each be informed and empowered about the operation of the Capitol, Taylor released the draft to her legislative colleagues seeking co-authors.
“This administration has embarked on a highly suspect road which inhibits the rights of people to gather in the Capitol and petition their government,” said Senator Taylor. “In no way, should the executive branch be allowed to trample on the constitutional rights of people, especially in this center of Wisconsin’s government. This building belongs to the people of Wisconsin and all three branches of government, and needs to be governed as such.”
On top of the recent access policies, Governor Walker raised levels of restriction for Capitol access to historically high levels during the early 2011 protests. Not only were citizens denied access to this building, some members of the Legislature were barred from the building, by the executive branch, at the order of the Governor or other agency officials. Such an action is a clear violation of the Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine, which ensure co-equal branches of government.
“This past year has been a milestone for citizen involvement and it also has beheld some of our darkest days when it comes to the unchecked exercise of power,” explained Senator Taylor. “It is time for all three branches to take over this building we share and ensure that the public is always afforded their constitutional right to appear here and petition their government.”
The Capitol Council would function as an independent agency that would replace and assume all powers over the Capitol currently held by the DOA. This proposed Council will be comprised of a representative from the executive, judicial, and legislative branches, as well as a member of the public appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. The Council will become the appropriate authority on determining access to the Capitol in times of high demand, along with all over administrative responsibilities.