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Excerpt: "Eighteen people were arrested Tuesday, November 2 for using cameras in the Wisconsin Assembly gallery, including the editor of The Progressive magazine, Matt Rothschild. ... The protest was organized through a Facebook event called 'Concealed Camera Day at the Capitol!' The event coincided with the implementation of Wisconsin's new concealed carry law, which allows residents to carry a concealed firearm - including inside the Assembly gallery."

The first arrest of 18 protesters holding cameras in the Wisconsin Assembly gallery. (photo: Kristian Knutsen)
The first arrest of 18 protesters holding cameras in the Wisconsin Assembly gallery. (photo: Kristian Knutsen)



18 Arrested in Wisconsin Assembly for Using Cameras; Guns Still Allowed

By Brendan Fischer, PR Watch

04 November 11

 

ighteen people were arrested Tuesday for using cameras in the Wisconsin Assembly gallery, including the editor of The Progressive magazine, Matt Rothschild.

Rothschild and others had gone to the capitol to protest a series of arrests in recent weeks of individuals who carried signs or took photos or video in defiance of an Assembly ban.

"We ought to have a right to take a picture," Rothschild said.

Guns, Yes. Cameras, No.

The protest was organized through a Facebook event called "Concealed Camera Day at the Capitol!" The event coincided with the implementation of Wisconsin's new concealed carry law, which allows residents to carry a concealed firearm - including inside the Assembly gallery.

Stephen Colbert said Governor Walker was bringing "a new freedom to America's dairyland" with the concealed carry law, but said people would not see "images of gunfire in the statehouse" because of the camera ban. "Thank God. Cameras are dangerous," he said.

On the agenda in Tuesday's session was a bill to institute the Castle Doctrine, a "shoot first, ask questions later" bill that gives a person immunity from civil and criminal liability if they shoot another in self defense in their home, work, or vehicle. The American Legislative Exchange Council also has a model Castle Doctrine bill - see the side-by-side here.

Event organizers were clear that the protests were not about the gun laws, but instead about protecting First Amendment rights.

But Is It Legal?

The Open Meetings law includes this provision (§19.90):>

"Use of equipment in open session. Whenever a governmental body holds a meeting in open session, the body shall make a reasonable effort to accommodate any person desiring to record, film or photograph the meeting. This section does not permit recording, filming or photographing such a meeting in a manner that interferes with the conduct of the meeting or the rights of the participants."

The statute also contains this provision (§ 19.87(2)):

"No provision of this subchapter which conflicts with a rule of the senate or assembly or joint rule of the legislature shall apply to a meeting conducted in compliance with such rule."

The legal issue here appears similar to the one that arose in the challenge to Governor Walker's collective bargaining law. In that case, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne alleged that the union-busting law should be struck down because it was passed in violation of another provision of the Open Meetings law requiring notice. In part, Ozanne's challenge failed because the legislature had passed a rule that trumped the Open Meetings law.

Likewise, here the Assembly had a rule banning cameras and video, but under the court's ruling in the Ozanne suit, that rule trumped the Open Meetings law permitting their use.

Despite this, both the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions have provisions protecting the right to free speech, free assembly, and a free press. "The gallery is a free speech area," says attorney Jim Mueller, who was ticketed in October for violating the Assembly rule. "Even if there are rules against signs, they're unconstitutional. It is our right to peaceably assemble and petition the government."

 

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+30 # mwd870 2011-11-04 15:02
This action is laughable, though probably not to those arrested.

Recall Scott Walker!
 
 
+22 # CL38 2011-11-04 21:59
Yes, recall Walker. But this action had a very important valid point about the absurdity of being able to bring a hidden gun into the capitol, while cameras and taking pictures are forbidden.
 
 
+13 # mwd870 2011-11-05 09:19
True - that absurdity is Scott Walker's and his Republican majority's doing.

I'm hopeful not only Walker but more of the legislators will be successfully thrown out of office.
 
 
+14 # pernsey 2011-11-04 19:32
Yeah it would be laughable if it werent true. I just sit here shaking my head...what is wrong with this picture?
 
 
+15 # nancyw 2011-11-04 21:24
The Castle Doctrine is disgusting. What's with Wisconsin - the used to be liberal Democratic state? This doctrine is instituting the wild wild west of yesteryear where people could just go around and shoot and kill for any reason. Backwards.
 
 
+13 # Gurka 2011-11-05 01:37
Hey, get acquainted with the new slogan of the state of Wisconsin: Guns, Yes. Cameras, No.

Their new motto says it all.
 
 
+18 # Urbancurmudgeon 2011-11-05 04:58
These people are so busy passing laws that trump each other that they have forgotten their purpose, to govern. In that they are no different than our congress which is now wasting its tim passing resolutions about what our national motto should be instead of requisitioning mnney to pay for infrastructure projects that would get people back to work
 
 
+24 # in deo veritas 2011-11-05 05:32
Wisconsin is becoming more and more like the Third Reich. The concealed weapon law is no doubt designed for teabaggers and other supporters of the regime to intimidate their opponents. It wouldn't surprise me if the cattle fled the state.If the people of the state don't get rid of these fascist Kochpuppets, the rest of the country will not be calling them cheesheads but s***-heads.
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2011-11-05 08:17
Walker's day of come-uppins is nigh -January 2012 (my daughter lives in Madison and is one of the recall activists and suppliers of food to the folks who occupied the capitol).
However, this sounds like a snide preparation for resisting, bullying and threatening those who would throw him out of office as a shill for the Koch Bro's "Americans for Prosperity (for a few)" and who must even now be plotting how they can threaten, manipulate, and buy-off the critical mass.
 
 
+8 # Terrapin 2011-11-05 09:59
Welcome to the Police State ... Wisconson, give a big Thank You to the misguided, feeble-minded FOOLS in your state who voted for these Swines.
NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN!
 
 
+8 # bvinson 2011-11-05 10:21
How sick can you get? Cameras not allowed but guns ARE. It's not any wonder situations like this get out of hand with this kind of reasoning.
 
 
+8 # Adoregon 2011-11-05 11:02
This is so beyond any sanity or logic that my head just exploded.
 
 
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-05 11:58
Politician in Pa who instigated this new paranoia rule for handguns and allowable shooting was caught on 1-78 Pa wheelding a gun at a car who passed him. He even went so far as to chase the people down.
Nice huh, this is the Mentality we have in Government....J udge let it go,
Those pockets are filling every minute, eh?

Technically the people were shooting, it is a terminology used my Camera Persons, so they had concealed legal apparatus, cellphones, cameras in cases.
Better call on 007 to give us the bluprints for his gun/cameras!

BoyCott Koch Bros Products and Wisconsin Products.... We are not buying any Republican Corporation Products...bye bye pay offs.
 
 
+2 # smartaffair 2011-11-06 22:33
America: Land of the Free! Hahaha whatevaaaaa
 
 
0 # beachbunny1@bellsouth.net 2011-11-08 16:24
Looking for articile printed Thursday20 of October on " Research showing THC from Caaabis Bud Oil Destroys Cancer cells
 

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