Wisconsin Republicans Pass Controversial Bill While Democratic Senators Remain Out Of State
Last night saw a major development in the long standoff between Governor Scott Walker and Democratic Wisconsin State Senators: Walker’s controversial bill to remove collective bargaining rights of state workers has been passed.
Gov. Walker is praising Republicans in the state Senate who voted to approve the bill after a bit of a loophole was discovered which made casting such a vote possible. Multiple media outlets reporting that Republicans voted early Wednesday evening after discovering a way to bypass the chamber’s missing Democrats.
All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Walker’s “budget repair bill” , the legislation which has caused nearly three weeks of protests at the state capital.
Walker says the Democrats were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused. In a statement to the Associated Press, Walker said: “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.” Republicans used a procedural move to pass the proposal without the Democrats present. The floor session lasted just minutes, and the state Assembly is scheduled to take up the measure on Thursday morning. That’s the last step before it can go to Walker for his signature. Walker believes passing the measure will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released the following statement offering explaination: “Before the election, the Democrats promised “adult leadership” in Madison. Then a month and a half into session, the Senate Democrats fled the state instead of doing their job.”
The Democrats remain in Illinois,but late last night Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller offered his own promise: saying Democrats will “join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government,” but he refused to say when.