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Rep. Dean Kaufert makes light of partisan tension

Wisconsin state Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, chairman of the state Building Commission’s higher education subcommittee, called a meeting to order Tuesday afternoon by lamenting that he didn’t have a gavel.

The meeting, normally held at the Capitol, was just down the street at the Risser Justice Center, which apparently was light on gavels.

Kaufert, though, made light of the situation – as well as the tension between Republicans and Democrats caused by the collective bargaining debates – by poking fun at Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison.

“In this environment, Rep. Pocan will probably be filing a lawsuit by tomorrow,” Kaufert said, drawing laughter from lawmakers seated across the table. “There’s no gavel.”

Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, did file a legal complaint with the Dane County district attorney’s office over Republicans’ quick passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s bill stripping most collective bargaining rights from public workers. The bill, passed in a flurry last week, skirted the state’s Open Meetings Law, Barca has said.

Since Pocan laughed at Kaufert’s joke, though, it seems – for now – as though he won’t be exploring legal action against the Building Commission.

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