An accusation of bullying at the rotunda sing-along, as Capitol police reportedly have begun warning observers that they also face arrest. Governor Scott Walker is “just being a big bully,” according to state Senator Jon Erpenbach, who spoke with reporters as he watched the sing-along and arrests from the upper level of the rotunda on Wednesday. “During the noon hour, when you have people coming and going constantly, to have the authorities say ‘if you don’t move along you’re going to get a ticket’ is ridiculous,” said Erpenbach (D-Middleton).
AUDIO: Sen. Jon Erpenbach (:25)
The sing-along, by opponents of the Republican governor and his policies, has being going on most weekdays in the Capitol rotunda for the past two years. The state Department of Administration maintains none of the arrests would be necessary, if the singers would apply for a permit, following a recent ruling by a federal judge that groups of 20 or more need to do that.
“I can’t speak for the singers, but . . . it’s the whole idea of having to get a permit for what essentially is a constitutional right,” said Erpenbach. “It’s a situation that’s becoming very disturbing, to see people being handcuffed for what’s essentially a municipal ticket, and being search and being photographed. This shouldn’t be happening.”