Republicans Pass Anti Collective Bargaining Bill Before Assembly Dems Can Finish Votes
WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/25/2011) - Wisconsin Assembly Republicans passed Assembly Bill 11 in the middle of the night before half of the Assembly Democrats had a chance to cast votes. The bill includes taking away Collective Bargaining from public employees, which is the object of disagreement between the two political bodys. Polls show public sentiment is in favor of allowing Collective Bargaining, but Gov. Walker and fellow Republicans have been sticking to their notion that it needs to be removed. The issue is not yet over, since the Senate has to approve, but, cannot act until Democrats return to the floor from Illinois.
The final vote was 51 to 17. Since the Assembly is currently made up of 60 Republicans and 38 Democrats, that indicates half of the Assembly Democrats did not have a chance to vote when the middle of the night tally was taken.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said Republicans shut off debate and rammed through a vote in seconds before many Democratic members could even cast a vote.
"The contempt displayed this evening toward democracy and the people of Wisconsin by the Republicans in the Assembly was appalling. But in truth, it should not have come as any surprise," Assembly Representative Peter Barca said.
"Gov. Scott Walker tried to ram through this assault on working families in six days before anyone could discover all the damaging, hidden elements in his power grab disguised as a budget adjustment bill. Yet the Governor, who calls himself the CEO, doesn’t have the courage to look his employees in the eye and listen to them," Barca said.
Governor Walker issued the following statement on the Assembly passing the budget repair that will balance Wisconsin’s budget and prevent thousands of workers from being laid off.
"Day after day Assembly Republicans and Assembly Democrats showed up and did the jobs they were elected to do. After an unprecedented amount of debate, they continued to do their jobs by casting their votes," Governor Scott Walker said.
"Republicans should be commended for their willingness to cast a vote that will fix this budget and future budgets," Governor Walker continued.
"Democrats should also be commended for coming to work every day and giving their constituents a voice at the State Capitol, the Governor said.
Meanwhile, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca pointed out that Republicans in the Assembly knew their cause was so flawed that they rushed a vote in seconds, cheating Democratic representatives of the opportunity to vote against the legislation.
"Then they fled the chamber surrounded by armed law enforcement agents refusing to explain their actions to the media or face the citizens who were gathered outside," Representative Peter Barca said.
However, though disappointed with elected Republican actions, Barca says he has hope for Democracy again in Wisconsin, because of the citizens who rallied at the Capitol and across the state, called and emailed their government in record numbers, showing "dedication to democracy".
"Their passion and conviction drew the world’s attention to focus on the rights of working families. Your dedication gave us the time to discover and expose new problems with this legislation," Minority Leader Peter Barca said of the "hundreds of thousands" of people who took their time to participate in the demonstrations.
"Unfortunately, Gov. Scott Walker’s vision of leadership is to dictate, have the legislators rubber stamp and hide from the people. His actions since taking office have divided, not unified our state during challenging economic times," Barca said.
"It is a sad day in Wisconsin when we cannot trust the majority not to silence the minority. But we will not be silenced. The fight is not over. This is only the beginning," Representative Barca said.
Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) released the following statement regarding Assembly passage of Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill:
"This is one of the toughest votes this body has taken in decades. But we are, without question, in one of the toughest economic times our state has ever seen. After the longest debate in the history of this body, we took the necessary steps we had to get Wisconsin’s fiscal house in order. We did it in the way voters in November told us to, without raising taxes," Assembly Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said.
"Make no mistake, we are out of money. This bill will not only close the $137 million budget gap, but also get us started to closing the massive $3.6 million dollar gap in the next budget", Fizgerald pointed out.
Now all the attention is on the Senate, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says the fourteen Senate Democrats who have been in voluntary exile for days to prevent a vote in the Senate should "come home and do their jobs, just like the Assembly Democrats did."
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