Concern over gallery behavior at state Capitol

MADISON -- Some see it as an exercise in their First Amendment rights. But others say the ruckus going on in the galleries at the state Capitol have gone too far.

Protesters yelled obscenities and tossed items onto the Assembly floor Thursday evening as that body debated a controversial mining bill. The night before, members of the gallery shouted during Gov. Scott Walker's State of the State address.

Republican Assemblyman Bill Kramer is frustrated with the disorder. "They were making their comments through coughs and you know swearing at our speakers," said Kramer. "We couldn't pick out of the 50 people in the gallery I couldn't pick out the four who were behaving.

Democratic Assemblyman Fred Kessler says he's seen his fair share of outbursts in the Capitol. He doesn't see anything wrong with people holding up signs or wearing t-shirts in the gallery. But Kessler says there's a place and time for the shouting. "We can't allow people to turn around and yell and scream, I have no problems with those people being removed," said Kessler.

Assemblyman Kramer feels both Republicans and Democrats should sit down to talk about the disruptions. He says there are rules in place for problems like this but they are not being strictly enforced.