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According to Article IV, §8 of the Wisconsin Constitution:

Rules; contempts; expulsion. Section 8. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish for contempt and disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected, expel a member; but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same cause.

Expulsion is probably a bridge too far, given the 2/3 hurdle, but, at least, Republicans should consider some form of censure for the contemptible behavior of the missing Democrats.

Eschewing expulsion, I simply wonder aloud as to the possibility of declaring the Democrats to have abdicated their offices. Article IV, §14 states:

Filling vacancies. Section 14. The governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies as may occur in either house of the legislature.

How long must a member be absent before his seat can be deemed vacant? The maximum required period for eviction in Wisconsin is 30 days - perhaps the governor should begin sending out notices.

UPDATE: The "Badger 14": Escape from Wisconsin is a new blog about "why and how the "Badger 14" -- the Wisconsin senators who vacated their seats and fled the state -- should be replaced with new senators."

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Discussions - 5 Comments

If each house can make its own rules, why not at least temporarily reduce the number of senators that must be present for a quorum?

Would you need a quorum to pass the rule change?

I don't know if you would need a quorum to change rules for quorum, but I should think you would....

You know, if I understand this right, the Democrats recently lost control of the Senate. They used to have a 18 to 15 majority, and it is now 19 to 14 against. Thus, they are in a minority--but only a large one, having 42% of the seats.

Now, the Democrats have fled because apparently they have no other means to stop this legislation they do not like--no filibuster, no other means for minority veto. And yet they just had the majority. It seems to me that if they had truly felt that minority vetoes was something that was a public good, somethinsober delbg that should be resorted to when appropriate on issues of great enough import, then they could have instituted such things when they were in power. They did not. True, if they had they would have then had to give such a veto to their Republic colleagues, but they would have had the benefit of such protections if they themselves became a minority--as they have. Now, it is not necessary for a arrangement of a legislature to have a provision for minority vetoes, nor is it a sin if if does have one (as long as in general principles of rule by consent of a majority of the governed and popular sovereignty are not made a mock of). But the Democrats, in presumably sober deliberation last session, did not choose to make provisions for minority vetoes when they had the power to do so--but apparently feel no shame in exercising a functional filibuster by not attending so that quorum can be met. In short, they are now trying to have for themselves what they would not give others.

Why then should we not conclude that these Democrats, these "Badger 14", are not merely men of low character who expect rules to be followed when they are in charge but will not follow the same rules themselves when others are in charge? That in short, that they have a "will to power", and seemingly bring very little else to the table?

Obvious spelling errors in my last post. "Republican" colleagues, not "Republic". Apologies all around...

It appears that the three-fifths quorum rule in WI applies only to fiscal bills.

This means that there are other Dem-opposed measures which the GOP majorities in WI's two houses can bring up and pass as the Badger 14 watch helplessly from their IL hidey-holes. Sweet.

While the 'Rats are away, the Pubbies can play . . .

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