What can the public bring to the state Assembly? They can now pack heat — but no pictures of Mother Teresa. People carrying signs into the Assembly gallery again found themselves in violation of the rules Thursday night. “People have been arrested for holding pictures of an apple pie, Ronald Reagan, Jesus, the American flag, Mother Theresa, and a 12 year-old little girl had her notebook taken away with flower doodles,” said Madison Democrat Mark Pocan.
An Assembly Republican had circulated a resolution that would allow signs in the public gallery, but Representative Evan Wynn decided against introducing it. “I put it out, and I received eight notes of cosponsorship. So that told me right then and there, that there wasn’t that much interest on the floor.” Democrats wanted action taken anyway, but Majority Leader Scott Suder said now is not the time. “I now many of you are very passionate about the issue. We get that, we respect that. So we will take a look at it,” Suder said.
The state Assembly’s new rules allowing which will allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their guns to the gallery, adopted Thursday morning, didn’t sit too well with some members last night. “I’m scared to death of guns,” said Milwaukee Democrat Elizabeth Coggs. “This is an urgent situation. I think people – we’re on WisconsinEye – they should be able to take a picture, they should be able to take a video. Bring a gun in? No.” (Assembly rules also do not allow cameras in the public gallery.)
“There’s a lot of paranoia going around on both sides, but your side is afraid of signs and we’re afraid of guns,” said Madison Democrat Terese Berceau. “I guess I can’t speak for all my colleagues but I would rather signs in the gallery than guns.”
AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60)