Republicans stripped the collective bargaining rights from Gov. Scott Walker's "budget repair" bill, and -- in less than three minutes -- rammed the new non-fiscal measure through, and then adjourned. Only fiscal measures need 20 senators present. All 14 Democratic senators were still in Illinois, but are said to be heading back to Madison.
Let me say that again. The budget portions of the "budget repair" bill were ignored; only the union-busting portions were passed by the Senate.
If this is Walker's idea of a "compromise" ....
GOP Senators and staff were escorted out of the capitol, through crowds of protestors chanting, "Shame, shame, shame..."
The bill now goes to the State Assembly. Questions of the vote's legality were raised even before the Senate voted; the issue revolves around whether enough public notice for the session had been given in advance. Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said "what they did was illegal" and "they've won the battle but they won't win the war."
“It is a continuation of a pattern of a naked abuse of power," Barca said, promising to ask the Wisconsin State Attorney General to investigate.
Walker issued the following statement after the vote:
"The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused. In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature's action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government. The action today will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs."More later, but here's the initial Journal Sentinel story.
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