The standoff in Wisconsin continues this morning, two weeks after it began, and all the weekend news is good for the opponents of Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill.
The Democrats in the state senate remain united in their determination to block passage of the bill, and widespread rumors Sunday claimed that they’d picked up their first defection from the other side. Twitter was abuzz yesterday evening with claims that Republican state senator Dale Schultz was planning to vote against the bill, though reporters were unable to reach Schultz or anyone from his office last night.
A dramatic showdown was averted yesterday afternoon as police withdrew an order for protesters camped out in the capitol building to vacate the premises. State officials had declared a 4 pm deadline for the building to be cleared, but after that deadline came and went with hundreds of people still peacefully occupying the space, Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs announced that there would be no arrests that night.
The New York Times this morning reported that it was unclear who had given the order to allow the demonstrators to stay, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel indicated that Tubbs himself had made the decision “after he saw how they moved aside while work crews went about cleaning the Capitol, including mopping and polishing floors.”
“People are very cooperative,” the paper quoted Tubbs as saying. “I appreciate that.”
This week is looking to be a big one in Wisconsin, and I’ll keep updating the story as news comes in.