Walker Voted to Allow the Late Night Voting He Now Uses to Explain His Reversal on Concealed Carry
MADISON — When Scott Walker was confronted with his latest flip-flop yesterday, this time on concealed carry, the Milwaukee County Executive offered the ridiculous explanation that he initially voted against concealed carry “… not on its merits but because it was voted on in the middle of the night — at 3:51 a.m. in 2002, according to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s records.” (Green Bay Press Gazette, 6/11/10).
The problem is Scott Walker himself voted to allow late night voting while a member of the State Assembly. (Associated Press, 4/24/10 – see article below).
“It’s pretty amazing that there are so many Scott Walker flip-flops they are beginning to reinforce each other,” said DPW Chair Mike Tate. “Whether its contortions on accepting recovery money, his 24-hour 180 on immigration, or his phony brown bag charade, Scott Walker has firmly established himself as the fast-talking, slick-operating, typical politician that Wisconsin families just cant trust.”
Walker voted to allow late sessions he now bashes
RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press Writer
MADISON — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker voted to allow late-night lawmaking when he was a member of the Assembly even though he rails against the practice now.
Walker joined with the Republican majority in January 1997 to eliminate a rule that required lawmakers to finish their floor sessions at 8 p.m., voting records show. Republican lawmakers had voted to put the rule in place after taking control of the chamber in 1995.
The change allowed the all-night legislative sessions that had long been the Assembly’s way of doing business to resume. The sessions are often denounced by lawmakers themselves and government watchdogs for allowing lawmakers to take major action in the middle of the night when few are paying attention — except lobbyists.
Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, took up the issue this week as the Assembly pulled two all-nighters while lawmakers rushed to wrap up their two-year legislative session. He promised to sign legislation if elected governor that prohibits the Legislature from voting after 10 p.m. or before 9 a.m.
“I have two teenagers and I tell them that nothing good happens after midnight. That’s even more true in politics,” he said in a statement. “The people of Wisconsin deserve to know what their elected leaders are
Walker voted to do away with the 8 p.m. cutoff as part of a larger resolution setting the Assembly rules for the 1997 session. He also voted against a Democratic amendment that would have restored the 8 p.m. cutoff time.
Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, said Walker was acting “disingenuous and phony” by raising the issue given his voting record. But he said the Republicans had a good reason to get rid of the 8 p.m. cutoff because Democrats used it as a way to defeat legislation.
“All you had to do was talk bills to death,” he said. “It didn’t work and so they repealed it. “
Walker campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader said she saw no disconnect between Walker’s voting record and his proposal. She said he had no problem allowing votes after 8 p.m. because voters can still follow legislation then and contact their lawmakers. But she said he believes 10 p.m. is the right time to shut things down based on his experience.
“Scott’s been there and he’s seen it,” she said of Walker, who served in the Assembly from 1993 to 2002.
Walker’s rival in the GOP primary, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, called on the Legislature in January to change its rules to allow spending plans to be reviewed by the public for at least five days before passage. “Mark is no Johnny-come-lately on this troubling trend” of late-night lawmaking, campaign spokesman Chris Lato said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democratic candidate for governor, denounced Walker’s plan as a gimmick and said he didn’t mind working late hours to help middle-class families.
Helping the middle-class isn’t always why lawmakers work until the wee hours of the morning.
The Assembly started meeting Tuesday and didn’t wrap up until 7:25 a.m. Wednesday, when lawmakers voted to censure Rep. Jeff Wood for being arrested three times for driving under the influence.