The Senate - without Democrats present - abruptly voted Wednesday to eliminate almost all collective bargaining for most public workers.
The bill, which has sparked unprecedented protests and drawn international attention, now heads to the Assembly, which is to take it up at 11 a.m. Thursday. The Assembly, which like the Senate is controlled by Republicans, passed an almost identical version of the bill Feb. 25.
So, the game of chicken is over, and now mob rule is afoot in the Capitol.
A few quick observations:
- It would be helpful if we'd finally stop saying that the bill eliminates all collective bargaining for most public workers, as that's not true. What it does do, most crucially, is make state government an open shop. It also will force unions to spend more time on actually doing the hard work of collective bargaining, as opposed to buying politicians wholesale.
- As we discussed earlier today, Walker had made a number of concessions that the Democrats rejected. Guess that didn't work out so well for Sen. Miller and the rest of his itinerant crew.
- Who else is amused to hear the people who held the legislature hostage for nearly 3 weeks decry that what happened tonight is not democracy? So then, what is democracy? Mob rule? Taking your ball and going home? The way it works is that legislatures are elected. They vote. If the party that loses objects strenuously enough, they take the matter back to the people in the next election. If the support for the Fleeing 14 is as strong as they imagine it to be, they'll be swept back to power soon enough. Just a guess -- their internal polling doesn't really indicate that, or else they would have taken the vote.
- According to the Journal Sentinel article, now that the die is cast, the Fleeing 14 are coming back tomorrow. Let the pigeons loose, I guess.