Tim Cullen

Wisconsin sees democracy decline, reflecting US discontent

Seven years ago, at age 73, Sheila Plotkin stepped onto the glossy tiles of the Wisconsin State Capitol with a protest sign in hand and her husband by her side. She saw a sea of law enforcement.

Due to increased security, police officers escorted the couple and other members of the public to the Senate. There, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was signing a contempt order for 14 Democratic senators who fled the state to avoid voting for the controversial budget repair bill — later called Act 10 — that all but ended collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in Wisconsin.

As Plotkin, a retired teacher, and her husband left, the elevator unexpectedly stopped...

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