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State capital Solidarity Singers remain strong, despite permitting process


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Solidarity Singers remain solid – but State Capitol Police have given fewer tickets lately to that group and others who refuse to get permits for their protests.

According to the Madison Capital Times, state officials and a protest group have slightly different numbers. But both say only 3-to-4 tickets have been issued in November.  Around 100 tickets have been given since August 11th, when new Capitol Police Chief David Erwin started enforcing the state’s permit requirements for Capitol events.

The Solidarity Singers have held daily noon-time sing-alongs ever since the 2011 protests over the state law which virtually eliminated most public union bargaining.

Officials say the gathering permits are needed to maintain order at the Capitol, while protestors accuse the Walker administration of infringing on their free speech rights.

The Solidarity Singers – who are mostly public workers – had dwindled to a few after Governor Scott Walker survived his recall election in June. But since the crackdown, the numbers have swelled again. More than 60 showed up to sing on Black Friday.

The group held its 500th weekday sing-along in November.

Meanwhile, the Capital Times says former Kenosha County prosecutor and state DOT attorney Robert Jambois has taken the side of the protestors. He has offered to take all of the Capitol tickets to trial, saying quote, “I happen to believe in the First Amendment.”