Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wisc. Senate Passes Collective Bargaining Ban Without Democrats

The Blaze

In a quick turn of events, Republican state senators in Wisconsin have successfully pushed through a provision stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights by separating it from Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget bill.

The stand-alone measure passed Wednesday evening by a vote of 18-1. No Democrats were present.

In effect, the vote renders Democrats attempts to withhold the provision from the budget bill moot.

With the bill’s most controversial provision removed, Republicans hope Democrats will now return to continue the debate of the rest of the budget proposal.

As you’ll recall, all 14 state Senate Democrats fled the state in an attempt to prevent passage of the budget bill. With the collective bargaining provision included in the budget bill, the GOP needed at least one Democrat to be present for a quorum to allow a vote. But with the provision voted on as a stand-alone measure, the GOP successfully passed the policy with no Democrats present.

The collective bargaining provision was put into its own bill hastily created during a joint conference committee Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald shepherded the bill through the process as Democratic Rep. Peter Barca objected, claiming the committee‘s meeting was in violation of the state’s open meetings law.

At press time, Senate Democrats were reportedly meeting to decide how best to respond to the GOP’s decisive action.

The Senate-passed stand-alone provision now heads to the state Assembly for approval.

As the Senate voted Wednesday evening, demonstrators gathered at the state capitol building erupted in a roar of protest. Spectators in the Senate gallery screamed “You are cowards.”

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