After the Wisconsin Senate, sans Dems, passed the anti-union measure late Wednesday, the Wisconsin Assembly took up the legislation, passing it 53-42 on Thursday. Now Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill ASAP:
The state’s Assembly passed Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s explosive proposal 53-42 Thursday. The state’s Senate approved it the night before after using a procedural move to bypass its AWOL Democrats.
Walker says he’ll sign the legislation as quickly as possible.
“I applaud all members of the Assembly for showing up, debating the legislation and participating in democracy,” Walker said in a statement. “Their action will save jobs, protect taxpayers, reform government and help balance the budget.”
Wisconsin Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca filed a complaint Thursday with a local district attorney’s office claiming that Republicans violated the state’s open meetings law with the Senate’s actions Wednesday. He complained that the conference committee that first took up the proposal did so without a prior vote in the Senate and that lawmakers were not given sufficient notice.
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald predicted his chamber would pass the bill, after the Senate on Wednesday broke a three-week impasse by passing a pared-down version of Walker’s budget proposal. Senate Democrats held up the bill by fleeing the state, but Republicans crafted a version that allowed them to advance it in their absence.
The scene in Madison was raucous as lawmakers prepared for a final vote. At least 100 protesters packed a hallway leading to the state Assembly, pounding drums, while the Democratic representatives gathered in front of the doors, which were opened just before 11:30 a.m. At least 50 protesters were carried out by police, and the building was locked down briefly while officers did a security review.
Rallies against the bill have attracted thousands of protesters to the Capitol over the past several weeks. A vote on it had been held up after 14 Democratic senators fled to Illinois, leaving that chamber one short of the 20 members needed to take up any measures that spend money. Republicans got around that Wednesday by removing all spending measures from Walker’s collective bargaining legislation and voting to approve it without Democrats present.
This fight isn’t over. Democrats are vowing to challenge the law in court and recall the Republicans who voted for it. Good luck , Gov. Walker and the Wisconsin GOP. You’ve still got a hell of a fight ahead.
I talked about this and other issues on Friday’s KaibCast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/joshkaib/2011/03/11/fridays-kaibcast-am-31111
Jim Geraghty has a great piece at National Review Online, including this gem:
Forget the recalls or the polling. Wisconsin has been too sweet. Remember Margaret Thatcher. She would suggest some bold initiative to her cabinet and then watch the empire’s bravest sons squirming in their red-cushioned seats at 10 Downing worrying about what the media might say and how their precious image might be affected. Mrs. T. would say to herself, in looking at those preening males: “And women are supposed to be vain?” The point here — the lady who was not for turning used to say, “Controversy is good.” That’s how we advance our agenda, how the public finds out what is going on, how the good guys win.The mistake political junkies always make is wildly overestimating how much detail normal folks have about politics and government. (Not a criticism of normal folks.They are sane.We are not.) So with Chris Christie and now Governor Walker, the public is just beginning to gets its head around the pay and benefits and pensions of state employees. And Wisconsin has brought the whole question of giving state employees not only civil-service protections but the kind of collective-bargaining rights that corrupt current politicians into giveaways that force generations of taxpayers into indentured servitude and ultimately hurt public employees by bankrupting their pension funds.
So Walker’s numbers are irrelevant. Get into any controversy and the numbers tremble, but look at former Michigan governor John Engler and Christie and, for that matter, Thatcher and Reagan. People cut through the noise, figure it out and the political dividend is huge. I’m almost sorry Walker had this quick a victory.
I tend to agree with that, except that the unions are a ridiculously powerful block. They will attack the Republicans who supported this bill, and if the economy doesn’t improve in the next 4 years, Scott Walker will be given his walking papers from the voters.