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Dress-code for lawmakers part of new assembly rules


MADISON (WSAU)   You’ll no longer see your state legislator wearing an orange solidarity T-shirt during debates on the Assembly floor. Representatives approved a dress code for themselves yesterday, as part of the Assembly’s operating rules for the new session. Men must wear coats-and-ties at their desks on the Assembly floor – and women must wear appropriate business attire. If they don’t, they won’t be allowed to take part in that day’s debates.

In the last session, Democrats showed their opposition to public union bargaining limits by wearing orange solidarity T-shirts on the Assembly floor. And most Democrats apparently want to keep that privilege. Only one Democrat supported the new dress code when Republicans pushed it through on a 59-to-37 vote.

Also, the Assembly tried to put a clamp on the disruptive behavior by spectators that was common in the last session. Visitors will not be able to use cell-phones, wear hats, or eat food in the galleries. Democrats called those unconstitutional restrictions on the people’s right to watch their government – but Republicans said the Assembly needs to bring some type of decorum to their chamber.

Also yesterday, Assembly leaders agreed to set time limits for debating each bill, to avoid the all-night meetings that were common in the last session.