Recall signatures collected inside Dane County courthouse - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Recall signatures collected inside Dane County courthouse

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The effort to try to recall Governor Scott Walker now includes the gathering of signatures in the lobby of the Dane County courthouse.

The recall effort was spurred by Walker's virtual elimination of public employee collective bargaining rights.  Unsuccessful legal attempts against the law limiting bargaining were carried out in cases in the courthouse earlier this year.

A circulator sat at a desk Tuesday behind a handmade sign that warned all state, county or municipal workers to refrain from signing petitions if they were on duty.

District Court Administrator Gail Richardson told 27 News she approved the signature gathering after conferring with the county's corporation counsel and clerk. 

Richardson said officials relied on guidance from Government Accountability Board Executive Director Kevin Kennedy. 

Kennedy's memorandum defers to local governments on the use of public buildings for political activity but cites a prohibition against soliciting government employees who are engaged in official business.

Richardson said court bailiffs alerted chief Judge William Foust last week when a circulator set-up a signature station in the courthouse, and Foust allowed it for the day based on language in state statutes.

The collection of recall petition signatures in a recreation room in Reedsburg City Hall drew protest from area Republicans. The signature-gathering had been allowed through a permit process for the recreation space.

Republican Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Ben Sparks did not respond directly to the presence of signature gathering inside the courthouse, but in a statement noted party officials had received reports of misconduct on public property, including public employees using government resources for the recall effort. Sparks did not provide details on these reports.

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