What the hell?
The special conference committee in Wisconsin — convened in order to strip out the fiscal elements of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, in order to pass the anti-public employee union proposals and avoid the state SenateDemocratic boycott of the three-fifths budget quorum — just met for roughly five minutes and passed the bill.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D) attempted to make a motion to delay the meeting or make amendments — and was not recognized for a motion by the chair, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Barca argued, over Fitzgerald’s attempts to say there would be no motions, that the conference committee violated the state’s open meetings law, which requires at least 24 hours notice before a government meeting, unless there is good cause to act more quickly.
The bill then passed in committee on a 4-2, party-line margin — and in a surreal sight, the online feed of the state equivalent of C-Span, Wisconsin Eye, faded out to tranquil music as the video was playing the shouting and ire of the meeting itself.
Literally five minutes later, the Senate passed the anti-collective bargaining provisions 18-1 with Republican Dale Schulz voting no. The Wisconsin Democrats are still in Illinois, apparently.
Hooray for democracy!
UPDATE: Walker’s statement:
“The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused. In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature’s action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government. The action today will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs.”
Again, HOORAY FOR DEMOCRACY!
What a lying asshole. Sure… we need to bust up unions because of the deficit, that’s why.
UPDATE 2: It’s my understanding that it is procedurally proper, but that it reveals Walker’s “it’s the deficit, stupid!” reasoning to have been a sham.
Also, too, Open Thread.