After 3 weeks of Wisconsin Democrats boycotting the Senate and us hearing constantly that they were needed to vote, last night the Wisconsin GOP did a typical dirty trick to strip employees of bargaining rights:
In a bold gambit to put an end to the weeks-long budget standoff in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) split his controversial budget-repair bill in two on Wednesday, allowing the Senate to pass the most hotly contested provisions while their 14 Democratic colleagues remained out of state.
The parliamentary maneuver, first reported by local press, enabled the Senate to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers without the quorum required to approve fiscal legislation.
Even one lawyer has declared the maneuver illegal under the Wisconsin open meeting laws, but more interesting is what this isn’t about. We have heard the GOP constantly say that stripping bargaining rights was about fixing the budget, but even the AP picked up on something:
It was also a 180-degree reversal by Walker and state Senate Republicans, who have insisted for the past three weeks that the collective bargaining provision was designed to help alleviate the state’s budget problems. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had previously said he would not attempt to pass any portions of the bill without Democrats present.