The 14 Wisconsin state senators say they will be home soon. They believe the two-plus weeks they have not shown up for work, and instead wasted taxpayer monies hiding out in an Illinois hotel, has been “disastrous” for Republican Governor Scott Walker. Don’t they wish.
Before coming home the AWOL Democrats have to convince Republicans to lift the Contempt of Court order all 14 of them are facing when they cross back into Wisconsin, which includes being taken into custody by state law enforcement – meaning they must do some begging and bargaining to save their wretched hides from becoming a spectacle – a sort of senatorial perp walk.
Sen. Mark Miller said he and his fellow Democrats intend to let the full Senate vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget-repair” bill, which includes the proposed limits on public unions’ collective bargaining rights. The bill, which had been blocked because the missing Democrats were needed for the Senate to have enough members present to consider the bill, is expected to pass the Republican-controlled chamber…
“We are now looking at returning to the state capitol and requiring the senators to take a vote and have them declare who they’re with — the workers or the governor,” Mr. Miller said.
Had they done their job back in mid-February, Republicans and Democrats would have voted. The Republican budget repair bill would have passed, and Republicans would have taken the blame for being the grown-ups in the room and saving Wisconsin from financial ruin. Come election day 2012, I suspect Walker comes out on top. Maybe, maybe not, but Walker and most of the GOP seems willing to do the right thing, no matter the political consequences.
In the WSJ article linked above, Governor Walker said negative polling on the issue of restricting some collective bargaining for public sector unions will not dissuade him from doing what must be done.
Senate Leader Jeff Fitzgerald laid out the realities:
But Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Sunday night that the “budget repair” bill can not be amended at this point. But it’s possible that over the next few weeks adjustments could be made to Mr. Walker’s broader budget plan. “This bill will pass. The collective bargaining piece has to pass. If it doesn’t the governor’s budget doesn’t work,” he said.
Without some restrictions on collective bargaining, a ‘repair’ is not possible. Without some restrictions on collective bargaining, the state cannot achieve solvency.
Mark Jefferson, head of the Wisconsin GOP:
He said even after Mr. Walker’s plan is passed, the state’s public workers will still have more collective bargaining rights than federal workers and more bargaining rights than the more than 80% of the state’s workers that don’t belong to unions.
Among the changes the bill will make to collective bargaining, unions will be limited to bargaining over base wages and will not be able to negotiate new raises beyond the rate of inflation without a statewide referendum.
In addition, the bill requires that unionized workers re-vote every year on whether to continue allowing their union to represent them.
Under the bill, employers would no longer deduct union members’ dues from their pay checks. Instead, members would file dues separately. Furthermore, non-members do not have to pay agency fees — their version of dues — to receive the same benefits as those who pay the union.
So the gauntlet is thrown. The law is on the lookout for the cowardly Democrat 14 who care not that the average worker in Wisconsin must pay for some pretty outrageous benefits for unions members, many who make more than the ‘payor;’ not to mention the nasty little perk of forcing everyone to belong to one of the union cabals.
Contrary to popular opinion, Governor Walker has many, many passionate supporters. Problem is, they are working people and wouldn’t consider paying one to carry a placard bearing their own message. As work allows, these good people show up to defend fiscal responsibility, liberty and the right to keep what is rightfully theirs. American Power Blog has the latest news of a rally this weekend, along with video and information on the destruction done to the beautiful Wisconsin Capitol Building. The word “pigsty” was mentioned.
I can’t wait for the AWOL 14 to get a dose of reality at the polls in 2012. Apparently, the 2010 vote that put them in the position of minority didn’t register. PajamasMedia has thoughts on after passage of the budget repair bill and the hard work still ahead and Memorandum has several threads on the Fleebagging 14.