Wisconsin Assembly leader, Jeff Fitzgerald, adjourned his Congress and sent the legislators and
all staff home early last night when Security alerted they could no longer guarantee their safety. The Madison Capitol Square joins other revolutions happening in city squares around the world as Wisconsin Tea Parties plan to Rally today in support of the Governor.
A Sheriff’s deputy was needed to escort Assembly Leader, Jeff Fitzgerald, in and out of the Capitol complex.
Revolutions everywhere–in the middle east, in the middle west. But there is a difference: in the middle east, the protesters are marching for democracy; in the middle west, they’re protesting against it. I mean, Isn’t it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting “Freedom, Democracy, Union” while trying to prevent a vote?
Yes, shocking for Klein, but it’s the next question that assures you McCain didn’t make it up. Click the link above for the whole story.
Tea Party activists along with members of both the Marathon and Lincoln County Republican Parties are taking a bus trip to Madison Saturday.
According to the Tea Party website, the bus is scheduled to arrive in Madison around noon. They’re leaving from the Wausau Homes parking lot in Wausau earlier in the day.
The Blaze reports rumors that Tea Parties are circulating “recall” petitions to oust Democrat lawmakers who fled the state and refused to show up for the vote for the controversial bill that will require public sector union members to pay an increased portion of their retirement and health care costs (still well below the requirments for private sector employees). From Madison.com:
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Walker’s repair bill deals with collective bargaining. The governor wants to remove those rights for most of the 175,000 state and local employees in Wisconsin, allowing workers to negotiate only over salary.
However, Walker exempted most law enforcement and firefighters from the change in collective bargaining. The governor said he could not risk public safety by potential strikes from law enforcement.
But the governor said he was prepared, should other state workers strike in protest. Walker has already talked with the National Guard about possibly filling in with the Department of Corrections if employees there attempt a work stoppage.
By ending state employees’ ability to negotiate for their pensions and insurance rates, the governor will be able to increase employee pension contributions to 5.8 percent of salary and more than double their health insurance contributions.
Currently most state employees pay nothing toward their pensions and only a modest amount for their insurance. Walker said those increases alone would save the state $30 million this fiscal year and ten times that much going forward. He also said the change would allow him to avoid employee furloughs and layoffs. Walker said he would likely have had to fire 1,500 people and cut about 200,000 children off Medicaid to make up the difference.
This bill eliminated the collective bargaining rights of the unions in our state government. It still allows for unions to bargain over salaries but eliminates the option for unions to negotiate over health care premiums and pension contribution. As of right now teachers receive a pension that they pay nothing for. Not a dime of their own contribution. They also receive health care benefits, that they pay nearly nothing for.
Note again: Firefighters, local police and state troopers bargaining rights remain untouched.
As the absent Democrats say they may stay out-of-state for weeks, they may meet in Chicago this weekend, or maybe they’ve chosen Chicago digs to hole-up for the “weeks” they say they are willing to remain in exile. Much more comfy in Chicago, perhaps, than in a border town’s lone Best Western.
Protein Wisdom has an insightful piece on why FDR did not plan public sector unions to be collectively bargained and Memorandum has a great thread going on all aspects of the Wisconsin protests – look for What’s at Stake in Wisconsin’s Budget Battle.