THE PROGRESSIVE: Pocan warns of Republicans' efforts to force budget through legislature

June 11, 2011
Matthew Rothschild

Mark Pocan, Wisconsin state assemblyman from Madison, just issued a warning about how rapidly Republicans may move on the budget in the coming week. He also warned that they may decide to tuck into the budget the anti-collective bargaining bill that sparked such controversy over the past five months.

Pocan noted that the Fitzgerald brothers, who run the assembly and the state senate, decided to call the current legislative session an “extraordinary” one, even though there was no basis for doing so. But by labeling it as such, they are now able to fast-track the budget, and limit Democratic and popular input.

“What an extraordinary session means is that the rules that we normally have are no longer in place, says Pocan in this two-minute YouTube video.

“This allows them to have things go back very quickly between the two houses with very little public disclosure, where they can limit debate, they can limit the number of amendments we have, they can really limit democracy quite a bit by having an extraordinary session.”

The reason they want to hustle this budget through so fast, Pocan says, is because “they know, as long as this thing is sitting out there, it’s stinking, and the longer it’s exposed to the sun, it’s going to keep stinking.”

Pocan, who used to be the co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, says that by making this legislative session “extraordinary,” the Republicans are taking “away the rights of the public to know what’s going on.”