After a bomb-threat led to an evacuation of the Wisconsin state capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle convened in Cooper's Tavern for a "Beer Summit." The Capitol was evacuated and kept empty for 90 minutes at 4 p.m. local time after what the police called a "credible bomb threat," the Associated Press reported.
The "Beer Summit" followed a marathon debate concerning the state's spending budget that had been raging since noon that day and would eventually result in a $73 billion two-year spending program that passed with a 52-46 vote. Democrats had added dozens of amendments, and for hours it seemed discussions were at a standstill.
The "Beer Summit" spanned the downtown area of Madison, with some state senators playing frisbee while others enjoyed a Wisconsin-made beer in local bars. Most legislators said they were limiting consumption to one beer since the budget vote had not yet concluded. Lawmakers who just moments before had been butting heads over changes to the budget proposal enjoyed each other's company over Miller Lite and Spotted Cow, both made in Wisconsin.
"What's the official beverage of Wisconsin?" Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) asked a group of legislators drinking together in a bar, a local paper reported. The resounding answer was: beer. There was, however, some debate among legislators as to which local beer was or should be the official beverage of Wisconsin.
"You know, the best part about working in the Capitol is actually that there are good people on both sides of the aisle: Democrats and Republicans, rural, urban, and I think that’s an example of how we get a lot of stuff done in the Capitol — lots of good, positive debate," Vos said, according to the Cap Times of Madison.
The all-clear was sounded around 6 p.m. and the legislative discussion resumed. The budget bill was passed later that evening and will now be moved to Gov. Scott Walker's desk.