Breaking News: Wisconsin Republicans Ram Through Anti-Union Bill Without Democrats

Wisconsin Senate Passes Bill to Limit Bargaining

by MONICA DAVEY (NewYork Times)

“The bitter political standoff in Wisconsin over Gov.Scott Walker’s bid to sharply curtail collective bargaining for public-sector workers ended abruptly Wednesday night, as his Republican counterparts in the State Senate successfully maneuvered to adopt a bill doing just that.

“After a three-week stalemate, Republican senators pushed the measure through in less than half an hour, as Democrats complained bitterly and protesters, who had spent many days at the Capitol, continued their chants and jeers.

“The Republicans control the State Senate but had been blocked from voting on the issue after Senate Democrats left the state last month to prevent a quorum. Instead, they used a procedural maneuver to force the collective bargaining measure through: they removed elements of Governor Walker’s bill that were technically related to appropriating funds, thus removing a requirement that 20 senators be present for a vote. In the end, the Senate’s 19 Republicans approved the measure, 18-1, without any debate on the floor or a single Democrat in the room.

“The remaining bill, which increases health care and pension costs and cuts collective bargaining rights for most public workers in the state, still needs approval from the State Assembly on Thursday morning, but that chamber has already once approved the measure, and most in Wisconsin now considered approval a foregone conclusion.”

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One Response to “Breaking News: Wisconsin Republicans Ram Through Anti-Union Bill Without Democrats”
  1. depelton says:

    From “Anti-Public Employee Bill Passes Senate in Wisconsin; Only the Beginning of the Fight
    by David Dayen (FireDogLake)

    “• Legal challenges. There are going to be a number of legal challenges to this bill. It will not be implemented right away. There’s the near-term challenge of how the bill got passed tonight. It was done in a way that may have violated open meetings laws, by not allowing 24 hours notice for a public meeting of the conference committee. There are other statutes about collective bargaining that may be brought up in court and fought. And there’s the issue of the bill having a fiscal impact. Scott Walker spent three weeks claiming that collective bargaining was a fiscal issue, and then the legislature just passed the bill as “non-fiscal.” Courts will have to wade through a lot of this, and it’s sure to go up to the state Supreme Court. Which brings us to…

    “• Supreme Court fight. The matchup between David Prosser (R) and JoAnn Kloppenberg (D) for the state Supreme Court on April 5 just got very interesting. It’s a statewide vote, and the balance of power on the state Supreme Court is at stake. Right now there are 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats on the court, but one of those Republicans is Prosser. Expect lots of organizing and millions of dollars poured into this election, which is much like a political election, with debates and everything. If Democrats win, the legality of what took place tonight may be put in greater question.

    “• General strike. Union leaders are reportedly discussing a general strike, and the mood of the protesters, who stormed the Capitol upon word of the bill, echoes that. You could see some kind of near-term labor walkout, at least in Madison and possibly throughout the state.

    “• Recalls. This will only energize progressives and labor to get the required signatures for recalls. All 8 Republicans eligible for recall voted to strip public employee unions of their rights, despite clear public opposition. Many of these Republicans, frankly, are going to recall as early as this summer, and if just three of them lose, the balance of power will switch to Democrats in the state Senate. There are also races for three open seats in the state Assembly coming up in May, so even more movement could occur.

    “• Scott Walker. If his approval ratings were slipping before, they may fall off a cliff now. Walker cannot be recalled until January 2012, and that’s a long way off. But depending on the momentum from the state Supreme Court election, recall elections, Assembly open seats, and legal fights, there could easily be enough support to recall Walker by then.”

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