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GOP might not need Democrats to pass controversial legislation

By   /   February 17, 2011  /   57 Comments

By Laurel Patrick and Kirsten Adshead   Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Republicans might not need Democrats after all to pass some of the most controversial elements of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill, Marquette University law assistant professor Richard Esenberg said.

“That’s just sort of a twist that occurs to me,” Esenberg said.

 

The Senate convened Thursday morning to vote on the legislation that, among other provisions, strips 175,000 state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights.

But when roll call was held, Democratic senators were nowhere to be found. Because the legislation is deemed a fiscal bill, three-fifths of the Senate needed to be in attendance before a vote could be taken.

With 19 GOP senators, the Republican majority was one senator shy of the 20-senator requirement.

The Wisconsin Constitution, however, only requires that three-fifths of each chamber to be in attendance for “any law which imposes, continues or renews a tax, or creates a debt or charge, or makes, continues or renews an appropriation of public or trust money, or releases, discharges or commutes a claim or demand of the state.”

So if Republicans included non-fiscal, but still controversial provisions, in a separate bill — including, potentially, the provisions regarding collective bargaining — legally they’d only need 17 senators for a vote to be held, Esenberg said. That means Republicans could vote without a single Democrat being present, he said.

“I don’t know that the Republicans would do that, and they still wouldn’t be able to pass the fiscal provisions that they want,” he said.

Among the fiscal requests: Starting April 1, state employees would have to contribute 5.8 percent of their salaries to cover pension costs, and more than double their contributions toward their health insurance plans.

Democrats could always make the case that the collective bargaining proposals meet the three-fifths requirement because those provisions address how state workers can bargain for salaries and benefits.

If that’s the case, the GOP would need the presence of Democratic senators.

But all day Thursday, it was unclear where, exactly, those 14 senators were — and what, exactly, Walker and the GOP can do to force Democrats back to the Senate chamber.

Rumors and conflicting media reports spread throughout the day as an estimated 25,000 people rallied in and around the Capitol.

Supporters blockaded access to the office of State Sen. Chris Larson, D-Bay View, but it was unclear whether Larson was even there.

He did Tweet a picture of the crowd outside his office and wrote, “For those looking for us, we are right here, standing with the people of Wisconsin.”

State Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, Tweeted, “I’m not in the senate chamber! I’m working for the people. Power to the PEOPLE.”

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, told the Associated Press that he and the other Senate Democrats had left Wisconsin but would not disclose where they were.

“Republicans who control this Legislature have made the choice to close their doors and not to listen to the tens of thousands of people who have gathered in protest all over the state,” Erpenbach said in a statement. “There will be a vote on a proposal at some point. I urge the majority to sit down to find common ground for their constituents and my constituents.”

Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, said senators were somewhere outside the Capitol, but still within state lines.

In a telephone interview with CNN, Miller said Senate Democrats were “not all in one place at this time” and that Democrats are “staying put” until collective bargaining rights are reconsidered.

Walker said he won’t budge on the issue and urged Democrats to return so voting could proceed.

But it’s unclear how much authority he and legislative leaders have to make that happen.

Attorney Jim Troupis, who is working with the GOP on the issue of redistricting, said the Constitution states that “a smaller number (than a quorum of lawmakers in each chamber) may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.”

Troupis said senators can “compel the others to return by whatever means they have.”

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, was considering what further action to take.

But, constitutionally, senators also are protected from arrest: “Members of the legislature shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest; nor shall they be subject to any civil process, during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement and after the termination of each session.”

And, if senators did remain across state lines, Wisconsin law enforcement would have no jurisdiction outside the state and would need the help of another state’s law enforcement, Esenberg said.

He knows of no court case that has determined which constitutional provision trumps the other — lawmakers’ right to compel other lawmakers back to the chamber, or lawmakers’ protection from arrest.

“I guess that I’m not persuaded that they can’t be arrested,” Esenberg said.

 

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  • Tom Schmitt

    I’m disgusted by the Democrats defiance of WI’s democratic process. I’d like to see those senators lose their jobs! I’d also like to see the teachers that walked out get fired. Those teachers like to tout that they are all about the kids, but when push comes to shove they are really about the benefits and care little about the kids. I don’t want to lump all the teachers together. There are lots of good ones, we just need to pitch the bad and I think it’s time to start.

  • Terry Hoekstra

    If I didn’t do my job or didn’t show up for work I would get fired. It seems to me that many thousands of

    state employees are lying about being “too sick to show up for work” or mysteriously are out of state when

    they should be working and I think they should be fired! Why should it be any different for state or federal employees than it is for me and all of us that are not union or state employees? IT SHOULDN’T!

  • wlg@centurytel.net

    Are these Democratic Senators receiving any per diem, salary, expences or any other type of credit while they are absent and shirking their legislative duties?

    If so, are they subject to any legal action?

  • Stephen Norling

    It is time to recall all of the democrats in the Wisconsin Senate. If they do not want to show up to do their jobs, they should not have the job.

  • Lisa Schmitt

    I hope all the constituents of these “legislators” remember them at voting time, and send them away. This state is broke. This nation is broke—Because of unions.

  • tjp

    Recall the Dems? What kind of idiotic comment is that? The Dems are protecting working class people all over the state, espicially teachers. You probably think teachers are over paid don’t you? What are you, a rich republican? You probably want more tax cuts and don’t care about people like teachers and other public employees.

  • tjp

    @Lisa….another idiotic uninformed comment. Unions didn’t make this state broke. Do you have any clue what Walker did to Milwaukee County before he became governor? Learn how badly he screwed up MKE County. Then you will know what he is going to do to this state.

    read this article:

    http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html

    The state was heading toward a surplus. Make sure you are informed before you make comments about the people trying to protect, again, the important members of our society: teachers.

  • Tom Morris

    TJP, you are about as dumb as a box of rocks. This state was not headed for a surplus, and has not been headed for a surplus because the last few legislatures spent money they did not have and never would have.

    As for teachers being the most important part of our society, you are wrong. The most important part is the taxpayer who scrutinizes what the elected officials are doing, or in this case, what they are not doing.

    When they take in less money, they want to spend more. When they take in more money they want to spend even more. It is time to put the brakes on and put them on firmly.

    You should also remeber that an opinion piece is not fact, only an opinion, and worth everything you paid for it.

  • Bobbi

    I was livid yesterday when I finally turned on the news to see the Democrats left town. They say they are standing with the people of Wisconsin. If they were doing that, they would be doing their job. The majority of the people of Wisconsin spoke with the last election. These senators who walked off the job should be fined and I would like to see them lose their seats in the next election. Equally absurd is the teacher walk-out for a third day in a row!

    TJP, the State was not heading for a surplus. You cannot rob from one fund (that is supposed to be used for one thing, like a few years ago when Doyle robbed the tobacco settlement funds) to balance a budget.

  • Zack

    I really have to commend the Democrats who left the state. That was ballsey(sp) of them. This is what makes politics fun. Not this stuffy religious-like mentality of Washington.

    It will never happen but it would be a great historical image of the AWOL senators being brought back carried into the chambers in chains just to vote. It won’t, nor should it happen, but the image would be iconic.

    Now where are the rotten tomatoes that need to be thrown?

  • dcfl

    As a past state worker, I can understand all of the concern the current workers have. HOWEVER, it is time that they begin to pay a larger portion of both their retirement and healthcare costs. I left state service and worked in the private sector until my retirement. Each of the past 10 years, I was subject to higher health insurance premiums and the only retirement was MY contrubition to a 401k plan. almost forgot, my employer added about 2-3% to it!

    IF the unions would of agreed to the contribution increases, the other parts of this bill would of never saw the light of day.

    Has anyone read this bill because the ONLY teachers affected are the ones who work for the state NOT the individual school districts. BUT they are the ones out prostesting when they belomg in the classrooms.

  • Star Mulholland

    I am sadden by what I hear and read sometimes, it seems that if a person isn’t working then the guy that has a job shouldn’t have one either. If a person has a union and the other doesn’t have anyone fighting for him, then no one else should. When did we as a people become so mean and nasty, is it anyone’s fault that there has been persons in office that have misappropriated funds, or given moneys to private interests that we as a people pay for? I say we as people, and yes even those without jobs or unions should look at who we vote in and learn from our mistakes before we start blaming those who work for a living and need our voices heard.

  • nobody

    @ Tom

    The Legislative Fiscal Bureau really isn’t involved in ‘opinion pieces’ and had you READ the article before name calling you wouldn’t look as doltish..

    http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Misc/2011_01_31Vos&Darling.pdf

    here’s a blurb for you as I’m guessing you won’t read that report either

    “Our analysis indicates that for the three-year period, aggregate, general fund tax collections

    will be $202.8 million lower than those reflected in the November/December reports. More than

    half of the lower estimate ($117.2 million) is due to the impact of Special Session Senate Bill 2

    (health savings accounts), Assembly Bill 3 (tax deductions/credits for relocated businesses), and

    Assembly Bill 7 (tax exclusion for new employees).”

    Translation = manufactured crisis

  • Alan Bergstrom

    I agree totally. As citizens of this great State, those who are disgusted by this behavior should act. In fact, I’m considering a run for the State Senate to defeat Jon Erpenbach during the next election.

  • Briggs

    Bust ‘em, Governor.

    I especially want to see collective bargaining removed. These people cannot be allowed to dictate to tax payers.

    Also, WI should stop collecting the union dues – eff them, let them collect their own dues, if they can.

  • Stop Sign

    tjp-

    The irresponsible display by public employees in Madison says most of what need be said relative to their greed and putting their personal welfare ahead of the state’s and those they were hired to serve. Unions served their proper and essential service years ago but in today’s global economy are detrimental to competitiveness in the extreme.

    Furthermor, collective bargaining for public unions is a farce as currently structured. Without competition for the work performed by their members there can be no fair, economically sound bargaining. The taxpayer, via referendum NEEDS TO HOLD THE PURSE STRINGS – and this is going to happen. What will you do when taxpayers stop paying their property taxes?

    What we need is more outsourcing of government services to the private sector and this will come about sooner and more severely as public employees drag their feet. Simply compare what you get for your dollar from USPS vs UPS and FedX. Compare the work ethic of road crews, public vs private.

    Things simply must change and it starts with the attitude and behavior of your public unions.

  • Alan Bergstrom

    Protecting? As a taxpayer, I resent that public workers in this sate are having all of their pensions paid for with my tax dollars. Every other working middle class citizen contributes their fair share to retirement and healthcare insurance premiums. It’s time that public workers do the same. The gravy train is over!

  • Alan Bergstrom

    Maybe you’d like to contribute more than the rest of us? Nothing stoipping you from sending in more thanwhat the law requires buddy!

  • Jim

    Hey!

    How do you figure the dems are protecting the working class people?!? That is idiotic! You do realize that if this bill isn’t passed that many state workers will lose their jobs, or be required to take furlough, don’t you? So what’s better, to have a job where you get paid the same, but have to put more towards your own benefits, which by the way what is being requested is still less than the national average. Or would you rather just not have a job period? And for the record, I work in the private sector! I have to sock away 15-20% of my pay so I can retire in the future, you don’t hear me crying do you? And my medical benefits are not a fraction as good as what state employees get! Go Walker! Go GOP! this is great!!

  • Alan Bergstrom

    Exactly! What is with these morons who keep thinking that the State can go on spending more than it takes in? In fact, Madison Wisconsin has one of the highest levels of taxation in the nation…and what do we get for it? Our public schools are broken, are roads are falling apart…but we should be paying for the entire pensions and healthcare of public workers? Come on, let’s get real! Those days are long gone.

  • Butch Sowinski

    If the Democrats would have dealt with these problems when they had control of the senate, assembly, and gov office, the cuts that have to be made now might not have to be this serious, but they pretended for eight years that it didn’t exist. Now somebody else has to be the bad-guy and do what should of been done starting eight years ago.

  • Merton Man

    Acting like third graders; that is what the Senators are; and why would we expect anything different?They are a product of WEAC; big labor and frankly, little minds.

    Suddenly they have to take what they have been giving to tax-paying citizens of WI for the last eight years and they don’t like it. Grow up. Debate, vote, do your job!

  • el gato

    I think the independent voters and even some Democrats will remember this in 2012. While the Dems may not agree or like this bill, running away and hiding like dogs at bath time is childish and irresponsible. We don’t need or want these kind of people conducting our State’s business. As for the teachers behaving like animals…they should be terminated as unfit to be the caretakers of our children.

    Watch the news and then see if that’s who you trust to teach your children.

  • Stop Sign

    Bobbi-

    You’ve identified one of the bigger crooks in the history of our state, Jim Doyle. While previous governors and legislatures did their unfortunate fair share toward necessitating today’s fiscal showdown – Doyle and his legislators carried it to a new extreme. Folks like TJP can’t even begin to criticize Scott Walker until they’ve examined the dishonesty and arguably illegal things the Doyle-led government did.

    Thankfully the low-life bum is gone and hiding under his rock again. Long may it remain so.

  • Clif Morton

    Tom, you need to try and understand the democratic process a little better. The only democracies that have been successful are those that work well with minorities (because as we saw last fall, the majoritycan become a minority overnight). When we default to the hyperpartisan, cram-it-down-your-throat antics of the new governor then the distinction between a dictatorship and a democracy becomes almost unnoticable.

    Also, you would not see teachers and pro-union supporters in Madison if this was just about “repairing a budget.” Walker is trying to eliminate the fundamental DEMOCRATIC right to bargain collectively. What kind of hypocrites are we when we sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (that includes collective bargaining), then go around the world telling countries to respect these human rights for all these years, but now support measures that reduce human rights in our state?

  • Jim

    I just want to say that it makes me very happy to see so many people in support of our Governor! And so many people seeing the absurdness of what is happening with the democratic party! Sticking your head in the sand will not stop what is coming!

  • Victoria Woyak

    ummmmmmmmm, are you aware that there is NOTHING in this current bill that directly relates to teachers? To repeat a now famous quote “read the bill”. They are protesting because they afraid they are next. As for working class people? What about us non-public working class employees? Our taxes pay their wages. Who the heck do you think will get taxed (aka pay for the debt) if something isn’t done? Clearly you are not a property owner. We need more “educated’ debate, not uninformed rheteric.

  • Jean Radtke

    Thank you, Governor Walker, for taking the first step in making government employee benefits comparable to that of the private sector.

    The Tosa Taxpayers Alliance has tried unsuccessfully to get representation for taxpayers at the bargaining table for many years.

    Our research shows that public sector employees receive higher compensation and more expensive/lucrative health insurance packages, early retirment and pension benefits than that of the private sector.

    The question is “why should taxpayers pay for government employee benefits that they don’t enjoy, at a much higher cost and with fewer contributions by government employees?

  • B. Gneiser

    The existence of public unions and their right to collectively bargain for wages is not at stake here. Let’s get the facts right.

    Hyperpartisan, cram-it-down-your-throat antics? Oh, you mean like by the way Obamacare became law? I didn’t see Republican members of Congress hiding out to prevent a vote on that bill, did you? That bill passed despite overwhelming public opposition. This word “democracy” is getting tossed about in Madison a lot these days. I have a niece who is posting new pictures daily to her facebook page under the title “democracy in action”. I’m betting that she has spent zero hours actually in classes, the thing her parents are spending big bucks to pay her professors to be holding…… Anyway, I’m not sure that blocking access to offices and bathrooms, disrupting the proceedings on the senate floor, harassing staff members, carrying signs showing Walker’s image in crosshairs (didn’t the Democrats spend weeks decrying such “violent rhetoric” after the shooting in Arizona??), and threatening Republican legislators (a local Republican Senator cannot even safely go home right now!) is the best example of “democracy in action”. When the voters of the United States decided they didn’t like the way the country was going and voted for “hope and change”, and then many of us decided we didn’t particularly like that kind of change, a grassroots movement started. But we didn’t hold illegal strikes, use other people’s children as useful idiots, or even leave our employees stranded to attend rallies. (As a matter of fact, there is a rally to support Walker scheduled for…. wait for it…… this SATURDAY. Go figure!) We certainly never resorted to any of the tactics used in our state capitol this week. We worked to back conservative candidates in primaries and the general election. And when the voters of Wisconsin decided last November we didn’t like the way our state was being run, we made our voices heard at the ballot box. Elections had consequences in both instances. But now, 14 Democrat senators, public unions and their supporters are trying to overturn the results of the election by the use of sheer thuggery. A very strange definition of “democracy”.

  • http://wisconsinreporter.com Daniel Cary

    Why is it that it’s always ok for the Democrats to stuff these things down our throats when they are in the majority, but not ok if the Republicans do it. Just a couple weeks ago the liberal criticized Republicans and Tea Party people and blamed us for the shooting of the Arizona Congresswoman, saying that our electoral maps and Sarah Palin were responsible. Yet I see Death to Tyrants signs, and signs with pictures of Hitler and pictures of Scott Walker with Hitler mustache, along with Walker photos with targets on them in Madison. Where are all the liberals who just a few weeks ago condemned this behavior and said “liberals don’t behave this way”? Did they go into hiding with the Democrat senators? What a bunch of losers, it’s only the right thing to do when the democrats do it! Huge double standard in this state.

  • Bernard Rodefer

    Gov. Walker is trying to do right by our state. There are many good teachers, but there are many bad teachers who are protected by the unions who are not for the people they represent, but for there own power grab. You protesting people who are doing exactly what the tea party was accused of, but did not do. You have drawn signs with a bulls eye between the gov. eye’s, you have used dirogitory names against him. You teachers have abused your sick leave and you have contributed to delinquency of minors by your abuse of sick leave and inciting and organizing the kids to demonstrate for you. You can tell by the vidio’s of the protest that the kids are just there to have a good time. What about the tax payers that pay your wages who have to committ a much higher portion of there wages for retirement and health care than you do? Your greed isgetting in the way of your common sense, no matter how little common sense is displayed by you.

  • Dennis Crowley

    This bill does not eliminate collective bargaining. It restricts it to what it was originally intnended for. Wages.

  • Joseph Randolph

    Finally a governor who truly cares more for “we the people” than they the pampered. Problem is the pampered are showing their real and very unruly self to us–do we call them “public employees” because they exist as public servants?? Any “servant” who acts this way would be fired in the world of regular work–oh, but we cannot fire them, because they are protected public employees. Sigh.

    Joseph Randolph, author of Debilitating Democracy, sold on Amazon.com.

  • http://www.janeratingresults.com Janet Johnson

    I appreciate what you are saying as that is exactly how Obama Care got passes. Rammed down the throats of the American people. It did not feel good at all and still hurts. A lot of hospitals are closing and epeole are losing their jobs. However…The state and federal employees are breaking the bank. We as the tax payer can not continue to pay for all of these “collective bargaing” agreements. In the past it hasn’t been “collective bargaining”. It has been my way or the highway…strike, strike, strike. Why do we need a union for our governemnt employees. There was a time and place for unions…now with all the laws (OSHA, HR etc.) the only thing a union does today is keep the lazy, non productive on the job. The taxpayers are fed up with floating these people who are not accountable to do a good job, yet have jobs for life (tenure). In the real real world, those who do the work get the pay. LAZY AND NON PRODUCTIVE doesn’t get it any longer. The highest paid in retirement are the paper pusher of the educational system. It has to stop or this country will be another Egypt. I say line item taxes are appropriate. If I don’t like that new thing you all want…I the tax payer can choose not to fund it. If I were president!!! you go Scott Walker. WE the people voted you in and expect to see some real positve change and you are bringing it to the table.

  • crimmps

    It may say to be allowed to, but does it say forced to????

  • http://www.janeratingresults.com Janet Johnson

    No I am sorry to say I am not a rich republican cuz I have to pay for the teachers and the government employees to not show up for work, not have to be accountable if they do show up and don’t do a good job, and to support them for life after they retire on a salary most of us would die to have. No Rich I am not…Republican I am and will stand against this kind of stupidity all day long. Are you a rich teacher or government worker?

  • ted

    You are all a bunch of idiots. This structural deficit did not start under Doyle. It started under Rep Tommy Thompson. He used to steal form one fund to cover others. So get your facts straight. This isn’t just about the money, unions had offered to take furloughs and pay more for health insurance in the contracts that were negotiated and not ratified by the legislature. This is about employees right to bargain things other than salaries, like work conditions. Walker just wants to union bust. And if unions go, you will see the standard of living in WI go.

  • crimmps

    You are the uninformed one sir, the unions greed has pushed the State passed it’s limits—this is about pure greed, the teachers and mostly the UNIONS!!! They aren’t going to lose rights, just a little more contributions to their benefits, and the RIGHT TO CHOOSE membership in a union or not. They will still get raises and can bargain for benefits. BTW–my hubby and me are State workers!!!

  • http://www.janeratingresults.com Janet Johnson

    After reading your progressive article I can see why you write what you do.

    We the people of United States of America DO NOT Choose to walk down the socialistic aisle with you. When posting something please post the facts not your progressive journalists Ideology. Please understand WE ARE BROKE! Because of the collective mind set that you are entitled to something. You are…freedom…Freedom to get a job, freedom to contribute, freedom to create a life of you dreams but the gravy train mentality has to stop and kudos to Gov. Walker for having the fortitude to stand up to the entitlement groups and say enough!!!

  • Lawrence Haire

    The comments in that article are opinions not Necessarily facts. The teachers and State employees are acting like small children who have been told NO for the first time. People who are not state employees have been paying more than there fair share, It is the union members turn to pay fraction of there share. The times they are a changin.

  • William in DC

    I, as a retired VOTING Senior, am really tired of the union hands in my tax pocket. If the teachers and union slugs are so dissatisfied with their jobs, or soon to be lack of jobs, let them spend some time in the “Employmant At-Will” segment of the work-force. It would be intersting to see how long they would last. I am disgusted with unions and their tactics … take the Obama sludge back to Chicago and keep it there.

  • Dave

    I do not believe there is any fundamental DEMOCRATIC right to bargain collectively when it is a monopoly or public service. These people want to have their cake and eat too ! It a not fair that those working in a public job can vote themselves an increase. Unions support the democrats and the democrats build and pay the union with tax payer dollars.

  • Dennis

    I was an activist in the Tosa Taxpayers Alliance (TTA) for several years. My experiences with the unions, particularly the teachers’ union, and politicians, particularly Democrats, while working to advance TTA’s efforts; and my reaction to the past two years and now the past week can be summarized as follows:

    If the Democrats and unions can’t control the government then there will be no government. Elections only have consequences if you vote for a Democrat.

    It is time for taxpayers to demand:

    # The Governor, Common Council, County Board and School Board must immediately layoff union members to guarantee that there are no tax increases.

    # Union members are to work extended hours without overtime pay to guarantee that taxpayers are provided the same level of services that they currently receive.

    # Taxpayers’ taxes must not be greater than the amount paid for property and income taxes for 2010.

  • Craig

    Finally a politician with cajones. I for one am sick and tired of being made to feel like I am working for these arrogant entitled jerks. For the first time in a long time I have hope that they might just start working for the taxpayers again instead of the other way around.

    Work starts Monday, anyone who doesnt show is fired. There are plenty of qualified people ready to take the positions of those who don’t want ato work for the people of this state. Word to the wise: Reagan fired the air traffic controllers for their illegal strike and the planes kept flying….just sayin..

  • dandepar

    The Democratic senators are NOT working FOR THE PEOPLE or representing the taxpayers of WI. The taxpayers have had no say so in any of the union contracts that are driving the state of WI into bankruptcy. The many WI credit cards that this state has been using are at their limits and the taxpayers are not going to extend any more credit to pay for luxuries for a few. It is time that certain professions realize that they are not above all the rest of us who are not guaranteed raises, pay towards our health care, and have no pension but instead pay towards our retirement through a 401K or 403B. The fiasco that the protestors have caused in Madison is a disgrace. Shame on all the selfish teachers who are there. Their actions show they care nothing about students and teaching. Shame on you for not caring about your neighbors and friends who are paying for all your cadillac benefits. I have never been so proud of our governor. Scott Walker truly cares about the future of WI.

  • Dean

    I say put the Voter ID bill out there for a vote….let’s see if the senators come back for thet

  • LeAnn

    I agree with Tom Schmitt. If the teachers are calling in sick to storm the capital it shows they have little concern for the education of those children who attend public schools.

  • LeAnn

    tjp, what public school did you go to? The dems are not standing up for anyone but themselves and their own agendas just as the people who get all the benefits paid for by the working class people. I am in the working class, I drive a school bus but not for the school district. I get not special perks, no insurance coverage, no pension plan, no vacation time or pay, so how is that fair? All that this bill will do is make the state employees who are being given these benefits by my tax dollar, pay for part of their own benefits, just like I would have to do. Our state budget is in dire circumstances at this point, maybe the state employees who will be most affected by this would rather watch the massive lay-offs that would result from not doing anything to handle this budget deficit.

  • http://conservativefeatures.com/ Scott Schneider

    Here’s the other side of the story to tjp’s opinion piece post from the Madison Capital Times. The Journal Sentinel reporter Jason Stein addresses what the LFB says regarding the “projected” surplus of 121 million in fiscal 2011-2013. Seems there’s a little problem with the fact the State owes $258 million on spending requirements that, if addressed, and not kicked down the road again would result in the $137 million dollar deficit. Turns out it isn’t fake. I’ve laid the stories side-by-side.

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/116480323.html?page=1

    http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html

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  • VaeVictis

    This is an absolute outrage. Public sector employees are immune to market downturns. They don’t lose their jobs if the economy goes bad. As a result, they receive raises and benefits even during the bad times. Even when everyone else is suffering, they are not. I am repulsed by the fact that public sector workers feel it’s their *right* not to suffer from the same cuts that are affecting all of us. And worse, that the public ought to be on the hook for their increasing wages and big benefits packages.

    Considering that public employees can just demand that taxes be increased to pay for their wages and benefits, I believe that they should have NO right to unionize. In my state, we’ve suffered from collusion between public sector unions and Democrat politicians to the point where people can hardly afford to live here anymore–if they’re not on the government payroll.

    States are on the verge of bankruptcy thanks to bloated public sector workforces and benefits that can no longer be maintained. This has to stop. NOW.

    Kudos to Governor Walker. May every governor have the stones to do what he’s doing. He’s the one sticking his neck out for the people. The unions and Democrat party are just looking to feather their own nests.

  • http://n/a jon jay

    They need a Quorum of 3/5ths for any bill dealing with SPENDING which means 20 people.

    With the democrats MIA they have 19. They can still pass NON SPENDING related bills. They should pass concealed carry, ‘castle doctrine’, project exile, etc… while the democrats are hiding.

  • Michael Pelletier

    “…more than double their contributions toward their health insurance plans.”

    What, from $10 to $20?

  • LAM

    I am union member at my current job, it is a love hate relationship. I love my job, I hate the union. Not just my union but modern day unions in genernal. I think they need to be restructured. They are very corrupt. My union dues, what a joke. Most money seems to go toward political campaigns these days, or so it seems. In addition, I live in a state where I have to join a union if one is where I work, I have no choice. Is this democratic, no choice, it is forced upon you. People would say I wouldn’t make what I do if it was not for the union at my work. Wrong, I have a second job on Fridays at a non union facility where I make $5 more an hour doing the same exact job that I perform at my union place of employment. Now I did make the choice to work in a union job, I did so because it was closer to my home and no weekends, so I guess I brought this on myself. But in America where our whole system is based on freedom of choice….shouldn’t I at least have the choice to be in a union or not. I would not have any qualms about being in a union and paying dues, if they were more accountable for my money, give more of that money back to those who pay it in dues, stop padding this hand to recieve in the other hand. The idea of unions is good, but they have over many years become a joke. As for those democrats missing in WI, they are a sad example to children. When you don’t get what you want, quit run away. What message is this telling people. Sad…..

  • http://flamingzombie.com Doretha Madon

    this is something i have never ever read.very detailed analysis.

  • http://konie.slupsk.pl Bari Heppel

    Thanks for shaking things up. Cant wait to examine them all!

  • http://www.isjmmforum.ro/forum/viewtopic.php?p=87383#87383 Edwardo Lauver

    Toon1978 Rob Lee. Good call, often overlooked in these sorts of things

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