Contact: Rep. Fred Kessler, (608) 266-5813, (414) 840-3196
Democrats on Campaigns and Elections Committee Told to Limit Questions
(MADISON) –Democrats serving on the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee were scolded today by Committee Chair Rep. Kathy Bernier. The problem? Asking too many questions during a recent public hearing. Apparently at that hearing, Chairperson Bernier noticed a disturbing trend – Democrats were asking questions that were hard for some speakers to answer.
“For Chairperson Bernier, that was out of line and inappropriate,” said Rep. Frederick Kessler (D-Milwaukee). “At today’s executive session, Chairperson Bernier reminded members of the committee that they must ask permission to ask one question, wait for an answer, and then ask permission to ask a second question. After that, the ability to question is at her discretion. This is just the latest example of Chairperson Bernier walking out of meetings or silencing opposing views when she doesn’t agree with what’s being said.”
“Today’s executive session meeting was an outrageous abuse of the Chairperson’s power,” continued Kessler “This was a planned ambush on one particular Democratic member who dared to ask too many questions at a public hearing – in the opinion of the Chairperson. Democracy is sometimes a bit messy; but that messiness is the price we all have agreed to pay to live in a democracy.”
“At the end of the day, Republicans are trying to limit the number of questions asked by minority party members because they don’t like what questions we are asking,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “The questions we’re asking are the tough ones that reveal the harmful implications of GOP bills. It appears Republicans only want to protect speech when it’s speech with which they agree.”
“Again, today’s executive session of the Campaigns and Elections Committee was officially noticed in order to conduct committee business,” said Kessler. “But, what it turned out to be was nothing more than an opening for the Chairperson and her Republican colleagues to publicly scold Democrats – for asking too many questions.”
Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) added, “Would this surprise anyone? Probably not. But, given one of the subjects on the agenda, limiting the ability for third parties to petition for recounts (even if they pay for them), today’s meeting was just par for the course for the Chairperson and her colleagues in their continuing attempts to limit any sentiments with which they disagree.”