UPDATE: Assembly Passes Strict Rules for Observers

UPDATED Thursday, January 10, 2013 --- 2:49 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Visitors who come to the Wisconsin state Assembly to watch debate won't be allowed to use cellphones, eat or wear a hat.

Those are some of the restrictions the Republican-controlled state Assembly approved Thursday.

Democrats argue the restrictions are an unconstitutional restriction on the public's right to view their government in action. But Republicans say they're meant to bring more decorum to the galleries.

Violators can be removed for the day or the entire two-year session if they violate the rules three times.

Another new rule requires male lawmakers to wear a coat and tie and female lawmakers to be appropriately attired. Those in violation would not be allowed to participate in debate that day.

The new rules were approved on a 59-37 vote. One Democrat voted for it.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 --- 1:47 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republicans who control the Wisconsin state Assembly are proposing strict new requirements for visitors who want to watch them debate in public galleries.

Democrats argue the restrictions being debated Thursday are an unconstitutional restriction on the public's right to view their government in action.

The proposed rules disallows using cellphones or computers, reading newspapers or other printed material, eating, carrying bags or wearing hats. It also bars disrupting the Assembly in any way or expressing opinions.

Violators can be removed for the day or the entire two-year session if they violate the rules three times.

Democrats say it doesn't make sense that visitors are allowed to carry concealed weapons into the gallery but they can't look at their cellphone or read a newspaper.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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