Wisconsin GOP Rams Through Union-Busting Measure; Thousands Storm Capitol
Wisconsin Republicans rammed through a measure stripping state public employees of their collective bargaining rights. What happens now?
March 9, 2011
Late Wednesday, Wisconsin Republicans rammed a measure through the Senate stripping collective bargaining rights from most public workers in the state. Although the 14 Democrats who fled the state to block Governor Walker's union-busting bill remain in Illinois, Republicans were able to push through the measure anyway by separating the collective bargaining provision from the other elements of Governor Scott Walker's "budget repair bill." (This, after claiming for months that killing public workers' right to negotiate was all about reining in the state's debt.) The measure passed 18-1, with Republican Sen. Dale Schultz voting against. Critics say the rushed legislative session -- with only one Democrat in attendance -- may have violated the state's open meetings law. So what's next? AlterNet has the latest updates and analysis:
Update: Within hours of the vote, the Capitol was flooded with thousands of furious protesters: "The whole world is watching!" they shouted as they pressed up against the heavily guarded entrance to the Senate chamber," ABC reports.
Update: Push for recall:
State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate released a statement pledging to pursue recall of all Republican lawmakers that are eligible: Using tactics that trample on the traditions of our Legislature, the Republican leadership has betrayed our state. Republicans have rubber-stamped the desire of the Koch Brothers and their godshead Scott Walker to cripple Wisconsin's middle class and lower benefits and wages for every single wage-earner in our state. The vote does nothing to create jobs, does nothing to strengthen our state, and shows finally and utterly that this never was about anything but raw political power. We now put our total focus on recalling the eligible Republican senators who voted for this heinous bill. And we also begin counting the days remaining before Scott Walker is himself eligible for recall.
Update: State Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller in a statement released Wednesday: In thirty minutes, 18 State Senators undid fifty years of civil rights in Wisconsin.
Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten.
Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.
Tomorrow we will join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government.
Update: David Dayen at FireDogLake points out that bill will likely pass the state assembly. After that, there are a couple of ways it could go:
• 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.
For further stories about the "Coup" that happened tonight, see the website for the Madison Capital Times, at: http://host.madison.com/