The Wisconsin Assembly has passed the controversial bill diminishing collective bargaining rights of state employees who are union members. The Assembly is the lower house of the Wisconsin state legislature. Before the bill can go to Gov. Scott Walker, it has to pass the Wisconsin Senate.
Wisconsin State Senate lacks enough members to pass bill
The Wisconsin Assembly has passed SB11, the controversial bill taking away collective bargaining rights from unionized employees of the state. However, the bill isn’t likely to go anywhere, as there are not enough members of the Wisconsin Senate present in the state to pass the bill, according to MSNBC. The 19 Republican members of the Senate are present, but that’s one person shy of the 20-person quorum, the minimum number of people required to officially vote on the bill. The Wisconsin Senate is missing 14 Democrats who have decided to flee the capital in protest of the bill. No voting on any legislation can occur until the Senators return.
Assembly Democrats cry foul
The controversial bill was passed in a manner that Wisconsin Democrats view as dishonest. After 60 hours of debate, in which Democrat lawmakers had filibustered and proposed numerous amendments to stall the bill, Wisconsin Assembly Republicans voted to kill debate and called for a quick roll call vote. The bill passed 51 to 17 before some Democrats knew what was transpiring, and 28 failed to vote in time, according to Bloomberg. Attempts to reach out to the absent Senate Democrats by sending Wisconsin state troopers to their homes have been for naught, as they remain in exile in Urbana, Ill. for the time being.
Governor refused to compromise
Gov. Scott Walker, recently the subject of a prank call in which he made controversial statements to a man he thought was campaign donor David Koch, has refused to work with unions at all in resolving the Wisconsin state budget woes. The bill mandates union employees absorb more costs for their pension and health care plans, which unions have agreed to. However, the affected unions have maintained they need to retain collective bargaining rights, which Walker refuses to compromise on. The only state employee unions in Wisconsin that will retain collective bargaining rights are police and firefighter unions.