Governor Walker and the Republican leadership found a way around the quorum needed to pass Walker’s death blow to collective bargaining rights. Republicans stripped the budget items from the bill and simply passed the portion that kills collective bargaining in a hastily called committee this evening. Once they eliminated the fiscal aspects of the bill, they were able to pass it without a quorum.
Greg Sargent at the Plum Line reports:
The Wisconsin Democratic Party sends over a copy of the forthcoming statement from Dem chair Mike Tate, and note the explicit threat to mount a recall drive targeting Governor Scott Walker:
“Using tactics that trample on the traditions of our Legislature, the Republican leadership has betrayed our state. Republicans have rubber-stamped the desire of the Koch Brothers and their godshead Scott Walker to cripple Wisconsin’s middle class and lower benefits and wages for every single wage-earner in our state. The vote does nothing to create jobs, does nothing to strengthen our state, and shows finally and utterly that this never was about anything but raw political power. We now put our total focus on recalling the eligible Republican senators who voted for this heinous bill. And we also begin counting the days remaining before Scott Walker is himself eligible for recall.”
Ignoring for now the potential illegality of this maneuver, and certainly the unpopularity of it, what strikes me first and foremost is that by passing the collective bargaining aspect separately from the “budget bill”, Walker has at long last admitted that his gunning for collective bargaining rights has nothing to do with anything fiscal. If, in fact, it had, it would have required a quorum. He can’t have it both ways.
There are 15,000 people at the Wisconsin state Capitol now protesting Walker’s violation of state open meetings laws and the use of the nuclear option. While Wisconsinites can’t impeach Walker due to the Republican majority, if they manage to recall 3 of the vulnerable 8 Republican state Senators, Walker can reined in until his recall. Make no mistake about it, Walker’s union busting bill will end up in court and Governor Walker’s “budget bill” has been exposed as a fraud.
Update: 10:22 PM Democrats will be taking the violation of the open meetings law to the Republican Attorney General tomorrow.