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'Fleebaggers' blow it -- Wisconsin Senate Republicans pass amended collective bargaining bill without Democrats

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Utilizing a simple parliamentary move, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate passed a measure terminating collective bargaining rights for state employees in all areas except base salary.  The bill also raises the amount of money state employees must contribute to their health care benefits and retirement fund.  Police and firefighters are exempt from this measure. 

When the collective bargaining issue came up for a Senate vote last month, the Wisconsin Senate Democrats, faced with certain passage of the bill by the Republican majority, chose to walk out of the capitol and, subsequently, to flee the state.  Their absence left only 19 Republicans in the Senate chamber, one member short of the required quorum of 20 out of the 33 Senate members. 

Wisconsin state law states that a quorum must be present to debate and vote on "budget bills" that contain provisions for the appropriation of state funds.  Today, Senate Republicans amended the existing bill to remove several sections that dealt with the appropriation of state funds, including a $165 million bond restructuring and the no-bid sale of 37 state power plants.  According to the Republicans, the amended bill was deemed acceptable for a non-quorum Senate vote by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau; all are respected non-partisan organizations that act as state legislative watchdogs. 

The Senate vote took place this evening, with one Republican member voting "no", resulting in passage of the bill by the Senate 18 - 1.  A motion to vote on the amended bill as passed by the Senate was introduced in the State Assembly today over vigorous objections from Democrats, but the Republican majority passed the motion.  The bill will be presented to the Assembly tomorrow (Thursday) where it is expected to pass easily. 

Presumably speaking by telephone from their super-secret bunker somewhere in Illinois, several AWOL Democrat senators blasted the vote, calling it "political suicide" and a "travesty."  And thanks to another Senate bill, they will each pay a $100 fine for missing today's vote.  

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald issued the following statement:

"The people of Wisconsin elected us to do a job.  They elected us to stand up to the broken status quo, stop the constant expansion of government, balance the budget, create jobs and improve the economy. The longer the Democrats keep up this childish stunt, the longer the majority can't act on our agenda."

After today's Senate vote, protesters swarmed the capitol building, reportedly breaking windows and doors and over-running capitol security.  Mass protests are expected tomorrow, and rumors of a state-wide 'solidarity' walk-out by Wisconsin union workers are also circulating.  Other reports claim that the Wisconsin Senate Democrats are on their way back to Madison and will be at the capitol tomorrow ... just in time to see the bill pass the State Assembly.

Governor Walker had this to say about today's 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."

Exactly.  Governor Walker and the Republicans were elected by the people of Wisconsin to get the state's budget back under control.  This time, the Democrat "fleebaggers" ran out of options and lost.

...

For those who want more details, Allapundit is has an extensive post over at HotAir.com with numerous updates. 

ADDED: Bryan Preston at HotAir.com notes: "Remember when ObamaCare passed, and Tea Partiers went nuts, stormed the hill, took over the building and handcuffed themselves inside? Yeah, me neither, because the Tea Partiers are civilized and didn't do any of that. Wisconsin's leftist union thugs, not so much."

It seems to me that Gov. Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans brilliantly played the Democrats and the unions using Alinsky's tactic # 11 If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside.

Union sympathizers have been busy rallying solidarity and painting the conflict as a struggle between "the rich and the poor".  But under pressure from a Republican administration that refused to back down, they cracked, and are now launching a full-frontal assault against the Governor through vandalism and thuggery.  Protesters have already done over $7 million in damage to the state capitol.  I doubt that more rioting and vandalism will move the general public to support their cause.

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Comments (27)

While I like the outcome I ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

While I like the outcome I have to give Walker a complete fail for how he handled this.

The union issues should have been stripped from the budget bill the very day the dems drove across the state line. It is nothing but incompetence that allowed the unions and other gas bags like Michael Moore a platform for their hate and socialist bile.

Walker failed to forcefully make the argument that Wisconsin does not need bus drivers in Milwaukee making $159,000 per year.

Now he has let the rioting mob that obama has funded seize the state house. He obviously has lost control of the unionized police who are allowing the leftists to run riot throughout the capitol. The time has long past to call out the National Guard and put an end to this crap.

If the left thinks that using mob violence to overturn the acts of a legally elected legislature is democracy then we should counter them with real democracy, which is the legally elected government using the National Guard to put their asses in jail.

A $100 fine for missing the... (Below threshold)
WALKER :

A $100 fine for missing the vote? Barry must owe $1,000's in IL.

I loved this from the WSJ:<... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I loved this from the WSJ:

Spectators in the senate gallery screamed, "You are cowards," while the vote was taken.

Going out on a limb here and say that wasn't directed at their brave Democrat compatriots who are busy being doing battle and standing up for their constituents from, well, another state.

The union thugs are destroy... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

The union thugs are destroying public property as union cops stand by and watch.

Walker should call out the National Guard to enforce the law. Michael Moore calls for "war," which has been incited, organized, and funded by Obama.

It crack me up one of the D... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

It crack me up one of the Democrats during an interview on CNN try to say they didn’t give them enough time and an assault on Democratic process la la la… Like fleeing the state for three weeks is the way it is normally done Right.

Also he admitted to speeding and driving recklessly in order try to get back from his self imposed exiled. I think the Republicans could have handled the PR better but good for them for their resolve.

Jiom M -I don't kn... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Jiom M -

I don't know, I think Walker handled the whole thing pretty well. You know that phrase about giving someone enough rope to hang themselves?

I can picture Walker going "I don't know - you really sure you want another few feet? Okay, we'll keep playing this the way you want it." and giving the Dems another chance, and another chance, and another chance... all the while getting the message out and letting the Dems be seen for what they were.

Until the rope was long enough - then he tied it off and they hung themselves procedurally.

And their actions afterwards aren't exactly inducing sympathy. First they boycott the vote and then bitch it wasn't fair because they weren't included? You've got Dem protestors taking over the Capitol building? Okay, the vote's taken, do they believe that showing up in mass will cause the folks to go "Okay, we'll change the vote!"?

I heard folks on the radiop this morning complaining that what was done was against the law. No - it wasn't. One of the things about a representative republic is that your representative needs to show up - and theirs didn't. That you don't like how the vote went doesn't invalidate the vote - it simply means your side lost, and in this case the Dems seemed to be actively working for a loss.

Guess none of the Dems hear... (Below threshold)
Maggie Mama:

Guess none of the Dems heard Obama tell members of the GOP, "I WON."

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander!

Crap. PIMF. Without caffine... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Crap. PIMF. Without caffine I might as well just get a pair of stuffed rubber gloves and run them over the keyboard...

I remember as a teenager my... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I remember as a teenager my dad catching me in one of my lazy moments in a job I was supposed to be doing. The world doesn't owe you a living he told me. Probably everyone knows some variation of this statement. I guess government workers look at the world a little differently. It might not be the world but they surely think their neighbor owes them a living.

An inevitable consequence o... (Below threshold)
James H:

An inevitable consequence of playing Quorum Chicken.

Michael,While hota... (Below threshold)
al:

Michael,

While hotair may have lots of coverage, Ann Althouse (whom you linked to) has awesome, first person, Army of Davids style coverage. Her husband had been inside the street protests, inside the capitol, etc. She put up some interesting video over night. Highly recommended - http://althouse.blogspot.com

Problem is, by stripping ou... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Problem is, by stripping out everything in the bill that had to do with state finances, the so-called "budget repair bill" no longer does anything to modify the state's budget. And they still can't do that until they have a quorum.

Better get used to the revo... (Below threshold)

Better get used to the revolting gummint looters and their moocher maties moaning. After more than eighty years of their using the machinery of government to launder the confiscated wealth of the world's most creative, innovative, productive and industrious Men (Americans, that is) into their coffers and the clutches of their cohorts and cronies, they are being defeated by We, The (Sovereign American) People.

And the Wisconsin Republicans, God bless their souls, have just won the Battles of Lexington and Concord in the Second American War of Independence!

Walker could have handled t... (Below threshold)
Gladius:

Walker could have handled the PR better but I'm sure the MSM would not help. He could not have forseen the extreme position the Unions would take. Given the fact that the Repubs had the patience to wait for the Dems to come back and then spit in the Repubs faces when Walker offered concessions he did a damn fine job of ruffeling the libs feathers. Now,the people of America are seeing just how far the Unions are willing to go to get "their rights" no matter the consequences to all of tax paying Americans. I just don't see how Union behavior helps their position. Instead of thinking of the consequences of their behavior they just react with intimidation. I am waiting for the violence to begin. I pray I am wrong.

I mentioned ruffeling feath... (Below threshold)
Gladius:

I mentioned ruffeling feathers. Last night I was reading Politico off and on for 3 hrs and these people are unhinged. The way Obamacare was passed was wonderful but this is monsterous etc,etc,etc. I believe there were quite a few people that didn't sleep well last night and that could take some time off their life expectancy. Yawn

Rance, they have a quorum n... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Rance, they have a quorum now. The dem's learned they should have been there but the union bosses TOLD them to stay out of the state.

I disagree with some. I think Walker handled this brilliantly. First off, except for Fox News, Talk Radio and the internet, there is no handling the message is it is a republican.

Let's face it. The MSM didn't portray the dem senators as officials refusing to do their job, but as heroes.

The unions PAID protesters wanted video of them being arrested and led out in cuffs. Walker knew this and I am sure instructed the Capital Police to just monitor the crowds.

Republican's played this to the advantage of republicans. The dem's truly did not think they would do it. ww

What everyone seems to miss... (Below threshold)
Stan:

What everyone seems to miss is that the Dems just got a taste of their own medicine. Albeit on a lower level, still the same effect. It is not going down very well. Look at the bullshit the national Dems pulled in the 111th Congress. Rammed through the porkulous law, rammed through ObamaCare and other legislation. Did they listen to the Republicans? Hell no. Did the Republicans flee at the first sign of defeat? Hell no. They stayed and voted as a caucus no. Who were the ones that were pissed, because the Republicans voted no on their stuff? The Dims in Congress and their bosses at Daily Kos, Democrat Underground, the Huffpo and the unions.

Willie,They had th... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Willie,

They had the small quorum they needed to pass non-financial legislation. If the Dems stay in Illinois, they still don't have the votes to do the actual work, i.e. doing something about the impending budget deficit.

For three weeks, the governor and the senate have been arguing that the anti-union measures were a necessary part of the "budget repair bill". Now suddenly they're not.

Rance there are some creati... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Rance there are some creating ways they can address the budget deficit without doing it directly. There also the option of laying off government workers.

I agree the MSM are bias and it is hard for a Republican to get their message out. However there are methods that help. I don’t expect 100% success but there is nothing wrong with getting a higher percent.

Side note. Many of the Union and teacher representatives that ended in the Press did a piss poor job. It is hard to imagine people paying them $100,000 to teach their children when the teachers came off as so clueless.

For three weeks, t... (Below threshold)
Eric:
For three weeks, the governor and the senate have been arguing that the anti-union measures were a necessary part of the "budget repair bill". Now suddenly they're not.

Rance, the WI Senate Republicans stripped the collective bargaining provisions out of the budget bill and passed them separately. What part of that don't you understand?

For three weeks, the WI Senate Democrats have been arguing that they fled the state to protest those provisions in the budget bill. Now that they have been stripped out, what excuse do they have now for staying out of the state?

The State of Wisconsin can't pass any budget until they return. So who is holding the state hostage?

Eric,I understand ... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Eric,

I understand that they stripped it out and passed it separately. They had the power to do that 3 weeks ago. They kept trying to use the "budget repair bill" as cover for weakening the unions. When stopped insisting that the bill was about state finances, their blockage went away. They should have abandoned the charade 3 weeks ago, passed the bill to knock down the unions, and then passed what they needed to fix the budget.

Why can't Michael Moore be ... (Below threshold)
Donna:

Why can't Michael Moore be arrested for inciting violence? Isn't that illegal? I'm not talking freedom of speech, but using speech to incite violence...which is what he's doing. He should mind his own business. He is one of the biggest hypocrites I know.

Rance,I don't thin... (Below threshold)
SER:

Rance,

I don't think you understand that "the fix was in." The Dems couldn't come back to Madison because their union bosses told them "no." They had to stay away to preserve "collective bargaining." So, the Repubs stripped out the "fiscal" items and passed the "CB" reforms. Now that the "CB" part of the bill is done, the Dems can come home - and they will. I wouldn't be surprised if the Dems made the suggestion to Gov. Walker so that they could tell their base "we tried."

Rance, your drowning. The r... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Rance, your drowning. The republicans removed from the bill what kept the dem's from coming back to do their jobs. Now they dems are back and the budget bill will be put up to vote. Again, played brilliantly. Law is law. Signed and sealed today. ww

WildWillie,I'm not... (Below threshold)
Rance:

WildWillie,

I'm not debating the tactics. The Republicans won, period.

What I am saying is that they could have done it 3 weeks ago if they had given up the disingenuous position of "This is a necessary part of the budget bill". It wasn't. They proved it by separating it from the budget bill.

Re “They proved it by separ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Re “They proved it by separating it from the budget bill.”

That is simply not true. As it has already been explain. Just because they took out enough so it would not fall under the rules of budget allocation does not mean it has nothing to do with the budget.

Yes they could have done it three weeks ago or three weeks from now. The Democrats would hve complain either way. They claim they didn’t have enough time after three weeks of hiding out. They would have said the same thing in six weeks or six months. Problem is to most people three weeks is enough especially with the Dems leaving the state. Having done it three weeks ago would not have seemed as fair to most.

It is about the same as saying the SWAT team could have gone in at the beginning of a hostage situation. They waited and went in anyway therefore it "proves" they were out to kill the hostage taker from the beginning. That logic just doesn’t hold up.

Enjoy you time in the sun, ... (Below threshold)
David Koch:

Enjoy you time in the sun, it's going to be short lived.




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