Republicans passed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's anti-union bill tonight 18-1. After all the brouhaha, the Senator-fleeing, the Senator-tackling, the Koch-prank-calling, Republicans were able to use some legislative black magick which allowed them to pass the bill even while Democrats were still camped out in Illinois.
The Republicans control the State Senate but had been blocked from voting on the issue after Senate Democrats left the state last month to prevent a quorum. Instead, they used a procedural maneuver to force the collective bargaining measure through: they removed elements of Governor Walker's bill that were technically related to appropriating funds, thus removing a requirement that 20 senators be present for a vote. In the end, the Senate's 19 Republicans approved the measure, 18-1, without any debate on the floor or a single Democrat in the room.
The State Assembly is expected to pass the bill, which strips public unions of almost all collective bargaining rights, tomorrow. Here's Slate's Dave Weigel on why Republicans' move is some serious bullshit:
This is incoherent in a number of ways. First, Gov. Scott Walker's argument for not putting the collective bargaining and union dues/formation reforms on the negotiating table has been, since the beginning, that they were necessary for letting local governments balance their budgets. They are, technically, not "fiscal components" — they just deal with huge sums of money. Second, Republicans punted on a voting reform bill two weeks ago because they did not want to split the fiscal portions of the bill — funding for IDs, for those who couldn't afford them — from the rest of it.
This is a desperation move. It's happening, say Democrats, before they read the new bill. Obviously, had Democrats not fled the state, the un-changed legislation would have passed last month. But this happens a day after e-mails from the governor's office floated the possibility — which Democrats didn't quite buy — of negotiation on the collective bargaining parts of the bill.
So, they did it. Finally, those greedy teachers got what's coming to them! Might be time to go full-on class war, rally the proletariat, etc. Union leaders in Wisconsin are already reportedly discussing a general strike and here's a live feed of the scene at the capitol. We'll meet you at the Koch Brothers' giant mansion.
[Image via Getty