Friday, February 25, 2011


UPRISING! Packs of Packers fans packing the capitol building so it's totally packed.

No, it's not yet another middle east protest against
some rancid rat like Hoser Muby or Kadhafi Duck -
this gathering is right here in the American heartland of Wisconsin.
Sure, they just won the Super Bowl, but now they want to win something else -
a way to keep their union bargaining rights unfettered by greedy corporations.
Recall/Impeach Governor Scotty "Scumbag" Walker! And tax the rich!
Take it away, CNN!

By the CNN Wire Staff

Madison, Wisconsin (CNN) -- The Wisconsin state Assembly passed a Republican bill Friday that would strip most state workers of the bulk of their collective bargaining rights.

Among other things, the measure would require workers -- with the exception of police and firefighters -- to cover more of their health care premiums and pension contributions.

Collective bargaining would be limited to wages, though any pay increases beyond the inflation rate would be subject to voter approval.

The fight over the bill appears far from over. It still must clear the Wisconsin Senate, a step which is likely to prove far more contentious.

Fourteen Democratic Senators have fled to neighboring Illinois to prevent a quorum from voting on the issue and they remained absent early Friday.

"The vote we took wasn't the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do," said Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder early Friday. "I continue to urge my Democrat colleagues in the Senate to come back to Madison so that they can debate this bill and do their job for the taxpayers of Wisconsin."

Thousand have protested the bill in recent days.

On Thursday, Republican Gov. Scott Walker also called on Democrats to come back to Madison "and do their job."

At a Thursday night news conference, Walker warned that if the Wisconsin legislature does not pass his budget bill, state aid to local governments could be cut by $1 billion. He also discounted critics who said the legislation will destroy public employee unions in the state.

"Wisconsin state employees have the strongest civil protections in the country. That's not going to change in this bill," Walker said. "It's not about the union boss coming in from other parts of the country. It's about whether we protect the taxpayers and the workers."

One of the lawmakers who left the state, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, said in a response from Rockford, Illinois, that Walker should "recognize that he got what he wants" in concessions on pension and health insurance contributions and relent on curbing collective-bargaining rights.

The confrontation reached a fever pitch after Walker was recorded during a prank phone call discussing the idea of duping absentee Democrats by luring them back to the assembly to "talk, not negotiate," allow them to recess, and then have the 19 Republican senators declare a quorum.

The Republican-led Senate would then, presumably, be able to move forward on the controversial legislation.

The state faces a Friday deadline to balance the budget. Wisconsin is confronted with a $137 million budget shortfall by June 30 and a $3.6 billion gap by 2013.

In related news, a blogger recently imitated the voice of one of the Koch brothers (who donated to Walker's campaign and other funds that Walker drew from while running for Governor), fooled Walker by phone into admitting that he had "thought about" hiring "provocatures" (mercenary thugs) to disrupt the protesting crowd.

* * *

CNN's Alan Silverleib also contributed to this report.
The original story ran on 2/25/11
with the headline "Gov. Scott Walker: 'About the future'"

Why should corporations lobby politicians,
when now they can just openly buy them off?
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, bought and paid for
by the Koch brothers and other union-busters.
They're starting politi-crooks really young, these days, huh?
This dopey little guy looks like he's barely out of his diapers!

UPDATE 1: 3/11/11 - MADISON, Wisconsin — Today Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law the controversial bill that eliminates most union rights for public employees, delivering a major defeat to the U.S. labor movement.

The measure had passed the state's Assembly the day before on Thursday, following more than three weeks of protests that drew tens of thousands of people to the Capitol in opposition. The measure passed both chambers of the Republican-led state Legislature earlier this week. The Senate cleared the way for passage with a surprise move Wednesday that allowed lawmakers to approve the bill without any Democratic senators present. The state's Assembly followed suit Thursday.

In addition to ending collective bargaining, the law forces state workers to pay more for their pensions and health care benefits — changes that will cost those workers an estimated $30 million. The higher payments for state workers will become effective over the next few weeks.

UPDATE 2: 3/16/11 - The legal challenge to the new Wisconsin law that curbs the union rights of public workers moved forward today with the filing of a formal complaint against the Republican lawmakers who steered the bill through the legislature.

The court action filed in the state capital of Madison, just five days after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law, claims that a key meeting of top Republican lawmakers from the Assembly and Senate prior to the bill's passage last week violated Wisconsin's open meetings law.

During that meeting of the so-called joint conference committee, the Republicans, who supported the anti-union measure, separated it from the budget repair bill it had been attached to. That maneuver allowed the Republican-majority Senate, which had been stymied for weeks after its 14 Democratic members fled to Illinois to delay action on the measure, to quickly pass it without a quorum.

That joint conference committee meeting also took place with less than two hours notice, in clear violation of state law and also the legislature's own rules. The court action seeks to have the state court declare the anti-union measure the two houses subsequently passed, and that Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed into law, as being null and void.

UPDATE 3: 5/26/11 - Wisconsin's law taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public workers was struck down today by a circuit court judge. The state Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for June 6 to decide whether it will take the case. Governor Walker may try again to pass the law, but this time he must do so with an open meeting first, so he's screwed.

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