Walker Administration issues small revisions to Capitol protest rules, hires Rove protégé to promote them
Post by Emily Mills on 12/16/2011 5:08pm
Gov. Scott Walker's Department of Administration on Friday revised slightly the rules it released earlier this month requiring permits and fees for holding protests at the Capitol.
The changes clarify that families or tourists in groups of four or more that visit the building are not required to get a permit, nor will non-compliance with the rules necessarily result in arrests. Lobbyists in groups of four or more are also exempt from the permitting process.
Other revisions clarify that demonstrators would not be subject to paying for damages caused by counter-demonstrators and most events will not require additional police protection requiring the billing of permit holders. Those providing their own security will also not be billed unless additional police are requested.
"It's meant to be very reasonable," said Jocelyn Webster, spokeswoman for Walker's Department of Administration. "The changes evolved from some of the confusion that is surrounding this policy."
Webster was appointed as the new DOA communications director shortly before the new policies were released. According to joint reporting from PRWatch's Brendan Fischer and Joe Vittie of WisconsinReporters.com, Webster comes to Wisconsin by way of Karl Rove's Office of Political Affairs in the George W. Bush Administration:
A congressional investigation of the activities of that office yielded allegations--including specific allegations against Webster--that Rove’s team was involved in partisan campaigning on the public dime, a claim also leveled at aides of her newest boss during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has been weighing a lawsuit against the Walker Administration over the new Capitol access rules, says the changes likely won't be enough.
"They have made some improvements, I'll grant them that. But they still have some significant problems," said Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the ALCU.
The Solidarity Singers, a group of activists who have been meeting both outside and inside the Capitol since March, today continued activities in the building without seeking a permit. Webster told the MJS that Capitol Police were "taking care of it" but no arrests were made.
A press conference related to the new rules is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at the Capitol on Monday, to be followed by another Solidarity Sing-Along and possible further action that has prompted the ACLU of Wisconsin to put out a call for legal observers.
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at