How strategically important is Wisconsin to the libertarian-conservative national plan to strip collective bargaining rights from workers?
If top Republican lawmakers move forward Tuesday with a plan to pass the state budget in “extraordinary session,” it will be the first time lawmakers have used this speedy political maneuver to pass a budget in at least 80 years.
Several budget adjustment bills were approved in a “special session” – a Legislative session that only can be called by the governor for a specific purpose – but senior analysts with the Legislative Reference Bureau could find no evidence of one being passed in an extraordinary session.
Assembly Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said at a press conference Monday that Assembly Republicans will put the collective bargaining bill back in the budget as an amendment by calling an extraordinary session if the State Supreme Court doesn’t act before Tuesday afternoon. The bill would strip most collective bargaining rights from public workers.
During a normal legislative session, lawmakers must provide a 24-hour window between the time one house amends a bill, and the other takes it up. The only way this rule doesn’t apply is if members bypass this rule by a two-thirds vote.
When in extraordinary session, an amended bill can move directly from one house to the other, bypassing the 24-hour waiting period.That means if the Assembly does add the collective bargaining bill to the budget Tuesday, the budget bill would move immediately to the Senate. “People have regular lives. They have jobs, they have kids,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “How will the public follow what is happening?”
“The Republican strategy is indefensible in my judgment,” Barca said. “It makes me suspicious. It makes me wonder what they are trying to hide from the public.”
So much for transparency, so much for sunshine laws, and so much for the much-ballyhooed conservative respect for state tradition and norms.
National conservatives want collective bargaining rights stripped in Wisconsin and other states, they want that demand met now, today, and the only question Wisconsin Republicans had when given the directive to jump was “how high?”