Senate Republicans abruptly passed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan to sharply curtail collective-bargaining rights for public employees Wednesday night, using a legislative maneuver to approve the measure without 14 Democratic senators who fled the state in an effort to block it.This is fucking slap in the face to the middle class in America. You know, those that don't make the amount of money needed for the Republicans to care about their tax breaks.
After stripping the bill of fiscal measures that require a 20-member quorum for action, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate passed the collective-bargaining measure. Analysts say the legislation would cripple most of the state's public employee unions.
On Thursday, the slimmed-down bill is expected to go to the GOP-run state Assembly, which has already passed another version of it.[...]
The legislative maneuver used to pass the bill in Wisconsin was met with outrage by Democrats and their allies, who vowed that Walker and state Senate Republicans would pay with their jobs.
"The vote does nothing to create jobs, does nothing to strengthen our state, and shows finally and utterly that this was never about anything but raw political power," said Mike Tate, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. "We now put our total focus on recalling the eligible Republicans who voted for this bill. And we also begin counting the days remaining before Scott Walker is himself eligible for recall."[...]
Union leaders say the legislation's impact would be devastating for their organizations. But they also are calculating that Walker has gone too far. Activists have begun recall campaigns against eight Republican state senators, efforts they hope will culminate next year in a recall effort directed at Walker.
GOP activists are targeting some Democrats for recall. But polls show that although most people support reining in public employee benefits, they oppose removing unions' collective-bargaining rights.
"By stripping out the fiscal items and leaving only the elimination of collective bargaining, the governor has exposed himself as a fraud," said Democratic state Sen. Robert Jauch, one of the senators who left the state, who said he will return Thursday to stand with protesters. "Tonight he has guaranteed that the people of the state of Wisconsin are going to stay engaged until this government changes."
National Democratic activists are hoping that the battle in Wisconsin energizes their supporters and creates energy that carries into the 2012 presidential contest.[...]
The governor's approach appears not to be playing well with Wisconsin voters, who elected him with 52 percent of the vote last fall.
A Rasmussen poll last week found that 57 percent of likely voters in the state disapprove of the job Walker is doing, while 43 percent approve.
I did my job and donated to Russ Feingold's Progressives United.