Summary. Travelers to Wisconsin should avoid holding signs in or near the Capitol building or any other state office building or facility. This includes inside the buildings or on the grounds surrounding the building(s).
Signs Prohibited. This prohibition includes pieces of paper with any message, regardless of how harmless the message is. The sign could read, “I love Wisconsin” or “Support Your Local Police.” Regardless of the message, you will be arrested.
Example. One example, shown in the video below, was of a person holding an 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper with the following excerpt from the Wisconsin Constitution:
“Wisconsin Constitution Article 1. Right to assemble and petition. Section 4. The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”
Fine and Jail Time. There is a $200.50 fine for holding pieces of paper. The second offense will result in being put in jail.
Sign Size. The size of a sign to qualify it as illegal is not clear, however it is presumed that something the size of a business card would be permissible depending on the font size used, since business cards are often visible in public.
Messages on Clothing. Presumably t-shirts with any message on them are permitted, unless the t-shirt is not being worn, in which case it would no longer be considered clothing, but instead considered under the law as a sign. This is shown in the video below.
Law Enforced. The law being enforced is an administrative rule, Adm 2.07 (2) which addresses displays and decorations:
No displays, signs, banners, placards, decorations or graphic or artistic material may be erected, attached, mounted or displayed within or on the building or the grounds of any state office building or facility without the express written authority of the department. Any graphic or artistic material advertising, promoting, or identifying a commercial enterprise or a political activity is prohibited except as indicated in sub. (4). [commercial organizations] Any unauthorized material shall be removed and disposed of by the department. The department may set reasonable time limits on permitted activities.
Video. The YouTube video below contains some examples of what not to do.