Entry in to the state Capitol building was severely restricted Monday, due to a group of protesters staging a sit-in. Assembly Democrats hoped restarting an unofficial public hearing on the budget repair bill would help open the doors for at least some members of the public.
Democrats held a similar hearing for nearly a week before they went to the floor last Tuesday to begin debate on the bill. Small groups from outside were let in Monday to speak. New rules cut off testimony at 6 pm, but state Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says he hopes to start again on Tuesday morning.
Several protesters defied orders to clear the building Sunday night and many remained in the rotunda Monday. State Representative Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) says those he spoke with are worried the public will be shut out completely if they leave the building.
State officials say the building needs to be closed for a full cleaning, after nearly two weeks of a constant public presence. Hulsey says the Capitol was cleaned while protesters remained overnight, so it should be fully reopened to the public.