Walker administration would charge protesters for police, cleanup
Madison - Gov. Scott Walker's administration could hold demonstrators at the Capitol liable for costs for extra police presence or cleanup and repairs after protests, under a new policy unveiled Thursday.
The policy says:
Groups of four or more people must obtain permits for all activity and displays in state buildings and apply for those permits at least 72 hours in advance. The policy requires permits for 100 or more people outside the Capitol. The policy does provide some leeway for spontaneous gatherings triggered by unforeseen events.
Groups holding demonstrations could be charged for the costs of having extra police on hand for the event. Costs associated with a counterprotest could be charged to that second group.
The costs would be $50 per hour per Capitol Police officer - costs for police officers from outside agencies would depend on the costs billed to the state. The police could require an advance payment as a requirement for getting a permit and could also require liability insurance or a bond.
Demonstrators may not tape or stick signs to Capitol walls not intended for signs. During the protests hundreds of signs were posted at the Capitol.
Any damage or cleanup after a demonstration could be charged to organizers. During the court fight earlier this year over access to the Capitol, Walker's administration said the demonstrators had done $7.5 million in damage to the building with the signs and other wear and tear. But almost immediately the administration sharply backpedaled from that claim, conceding the damage was significantly less.
Events can be terminated if they interfere with the business of the Capitol, including when noise from an event exceeds 90 decibels - about equal to a lawn mower or busy nearby roadway.