In case you’ve been buried under a shell for the last week… legislators in Wisconsin, led by Republican Governor Scott Walker, have championed a bill that would trim the state’s budget deficit but also eliminate collective bargaining rights for public, unionized employees of the state. Walker claims removing the collective bargaining rights is necessary to help alleviate the deficit, but opponents doubt that.
Two days ago, Walker suffered a huge public embarrassment when it was revealed that a 20-minute conversation he thought he had with “David Koch”— a Republican billionaire who supported Walker during last fall’s election— was actually with liberal blogger.
Which leads us to last night. You may recall that the State Senate Democrats have fled the state to prevent that body from voting on the bill. Members of the Democratic Assembly remained, though, and passionately debated the bill for well over 72 hours. Last night, just after 1 a.m., the President Pro Tempore announced a voice vote. Seconds later, using the digital voting system, 51 ayes had been registered. Even though 28 assembly members (mostly democrats) had not cast their ballots, the voting ended.
Democrats now claim the vote was illegal and may pursue legal challenges in court. Immediately after the Speaker Pro Tempore announced the results Democratic legislators rose and chanted, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” See below for that video.
The video below from about a week ago shows similar frustation from Democratic assemblyman Gordon Hintz. It has not been seen by enough people.
We’ll see what happens next.