Scott Walker wins: Wisconsin Republicans through union-busting bill [UPDATE]

Categories: Weird Wisconsin
Sue Peacock/Flickr
Let the recall efforts begin.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly finally dropped all pretenses about Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting bill having anything to do with balancing the state's budget.

Wednesday night, with 14 Democrats still on the lam trying to block a vote, the Senate used a stealth move to strip all appropriations language out of the bill, leaving them free of quorum rules to vote on the rest of the measure--the part that neuters public employee unions.

There was no debate. The hack job took about 30 minutes to pass, 18-1. The bill went back to the Assembly, where it passed this afternoon, 53-42. [Update after the jump.]

barca protests.jpg
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, right, tells Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, back to the camera, he's breaking the law.
Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

All that talk about compromise earlier in the week proved to be just that--talk.

"To pass this the way they did--without 20 senators--is to say that it has no fiscal effect," Timothy Cullen, one of the Democratic senators holed up in Illinois, told the New York Times. "It's admitting that this is simply to destroy public unions."

Watch the video below. The rules change is announced by a tense Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald during a hastily called conference committee meeting in front of an army of reporters and photographers.

The chants of outside protesters rises in the background--thousands convened on the Capitol as news of the maneuver leaked out.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca presses the point that the Republican maneuver is in violation of various state laws, and "trampling on democracy." Fitzgerald first ignores him, then tries to interrupt him, and then demands a roll call.

"No!" Barca yells and springs to his feet. "This is a violation of the state's open meetings law," he insists, over and over as the cameras roll.

Fitzgerald and his allies walk away.

Behold Democracy in Wisconsin:

"They have been saying all along that this is a fiscal item; we've been saying it is not," said Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach told the Madison State Journal. "They have been lying. Their goal is to bust up the unions."

Fitzgerald admitted as much on Fox News yesterday. The Republicans are busting the public employee unions in order to beat Democrats in the next election.

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