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Budget Repair Bill Blog

Marathon Assembly session, Badgers football team and the Governor's phone conversation

Wednesday, Feb. 23

5:30 p.m.

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, clobbered Governor Scott Walker in a statement this afternoon over his budget rescue bill that will strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights. 

“Taking away the rights of workers does nothing to balance our budget. Wisconsin’s teachers, support professionals, nurses and other public employees have agreed to the governor’s pension and health care requests, but they’re holding strong on the ability to retain a voice in their profession. Educators in Wisconsin care about what happens to our students and what happens in our schools," she said in a statement. 

She continued her statement by referring to the Governor's phone conversation with a man who he thought was David Koch, a major Republican donor.

“Governor Walker has been clear about one thing: he puts the interests of out-of-state corporations ahead of Wisconsin’s working families," she said. 

Read the entire statement here.

3 p.m.

Governor Scott Walker, during an afternoon news conference, turned the screws tighter, warning that thousands of state workers will be laid off if his budget rescue bill does not proceed through the state legislature. 

In the meantime, Democratic legislators have put the proceedings in a slow motion as the deliberation regarding budget repair bill amendments continue in the Assembly this afternoon.

From acknowledging people in the gallery to telling the Assembly Speaker Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R) how much they appriciate his patience, Democratic lawmakers have taken turns speaking.  

Democrats, some of whom are still wearing bright orange T-shirts, have promised to bring forth more than 200 amendments to tack onto a bill that, if passed, will end collective bargaining for most public employees in the state. 

The assembly has voted to table about 20 amendments during the current session, which is into its second day. 

1:30 p.m.

The Milwaukee County Transit System is a privately held entity that would not be effected if the state loses federal transportation funding.

Federal transportation funds that hinge on workers being able to collective bargain was briefly at the center of the budget repair bill debate this morning in the State Assembly. 

Depending on an interpretation of the statute, the state could lose $46.6 million in federal transportation grant money if collective bargaining is eliminated for public employees as a result of the passage of the budget repair bill.

But because MCTS is private, it will not be one of the system's impacted. 

11:15 a.m.

Democrat and Republican members of the State Assembly caucused at 11 a.m. after a marathon floor session in which a number of amendments to the budget repair bill were rejected.

As soon as the State Assembly caucused, the State Senate President Mike Ellis called senators to the floor to begin Wednesday's session, according to Wispolitics.com.

Today's work includes a resolution to commend the Wisconsin Badger football team and a bill dealing with collection and analysis of motor vehicle traffic stop information.

In the meantime, Wisconsin Association of School Boards released a message to boards throughout the state indicating that the need for layoffs looms. According to the news release, school boards are required by law to decide by Monday to lay off teachers for next year.

News also broke that Governor Scott Walker was punked by a caller who posed as David Koch, a major Republican donor.

G. JACOBSON February 24, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Scott Walker is doing the right thing. Look how many factories and compamy's has disappeared because of the Unions wanting more and than blaming the people that ran them as greedy..This companies have a major investment and the uions have none.. GO WALKER
Brendan O'Brien February 24, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Dear G. Jacobson, thanks for your comments. I would love to read more of your opinions on this issue. What do you think about the entire budget repair bill? Also, moving forward, what are your thoughts/ideas on how to get the state back on economic track? Thanks again. Brendan
Ben Hogan February 24, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Taking away the rights of workers does nothing to balance our budget. Wisconsin’s teachers, support professionals, nurses and other public employees have agreed to the governor’s pension and health care requests, but they’re holding strong on the ability to retain a voice in their profession. Educators in Wisconsin care about what happens to our students and what happens in our schools," she said in a statement. I guess if collective bargaining has nothing to do with budget matters then the state senate could simply change collective bargaining laws outside the current budget repair bill. They could then pass this law without having twenty senators present since it isn't budget related.
Pam February 27, 2011 at 03:03 PM
How could Mr. Walker be doing the "right thing" when he try to solve the State's problem by not even talking to the "people" who are doing the work already?

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