Wisconsinites on March 12 celebrate the return to Madison of the state’s 14 Democratic state senators who had done their best to prevent Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ union-busting legislation from taking effect. The union-busting legislation that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors apparently illegally rammed through the state Legislature still remains in legal limbo, and today petition signatures to start the recall election process for one of the state’s Repugnican Tea Party senators who voted for the union-busting legislation were submitted.
There is so much that I could say, but this news story from The Associated Press today pretty much speaks for itself:
Madison, Wis. – A week ago, Wisconsin Republicans thought they’d won the fight over the state’s polarizing union-rights bill. They’d weathered massive protests, outfoxed Senate Democrats who fled the state and gotten around a restraining order blocking the law by having an obscure state agency publish it. They even started preparations to pull money from public workers’ paychecks.
But the victory was short-lived. A judge ruled [today] that the restraining order will stay in place for at least two months she while considers whether Republicans passed the law illegally. It was the second blow to Republicans in as many days after the same judge declared [yesterday] that the law hadn’t been properly published and [thus] wasn’t in effect as they claimed.
Republicans now must either wait for the case to wind its way through the courts or pass the law again to get around complaints it wasn’t done properly the first time. One GOP leader said [today] he didn’t see much point in that.
“We passed the law correctly, legally the first time,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Passing the law correctly and legally a second or third time wouldn’t change anything. It certainly wouldn’t stop another activist judge and (a) room full of lawyers from trying to start this merry-go-round all over again.”
[In Repugnican Tea Party traitor lingo, an “activist judge” is a judge who does not rule the way that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want him or her to rule. (A judge who rules in the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ favor of course is a great fucking judge.)]
The law would force public employees to pay more for their health care and pension benefits, which amounts to an 8-percent pay cut. It also would eliminate their ability to collectively bargain anything except wage increases no higher than inflation.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker has said the law is needed to help schools and local governments deal with cuts in state funding he expects to make to address an estimated $3.6 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget. His spokesman referred questions [today] to state Department of Administration officials, who declined to comment.
Democrats have said the bill is meant to weaken the public employee unions that have been some of their strongest campaign supporters. Its introduction in mid-February set off a month of protests that drew up to 85,000 people to the state Capitol and sent Senate Democrats scurrying to Illinois to block a vote in that chamber.
Republicans eventually got around the Democrats’ boycott by removing fiscal provisions from the bill so it could be passed with fewer senators present.
Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi has been considering a lawsuit that claims Republican lawmakers violated the state’s opening meetings law when they met to change the bill. The lawsuit filed by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says the state’s open meetings law requires 24 hours notice of a meeting but Republicans provided barely two. Republican legislative leaders say proper notice was given under Senate rules.
Sumi heard testimony [today] from people who said they heard about the meeting only minutes before it began. They said they arrived to find long lines at the Capitol’s entrances and by the time they reached the room where the meeting was held, police wouldn’t allow them in….
Sumi gave the attorneys until May 23 to make additional arguments, delaying a decision for nearly two months and possibly longer. Even when she does rule, one side or the other is likely to appeal in an attempt to get the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The state has already appealed her restraining order to the high court, but it has not said whether it will hear the case and is under no deadline to do so.
Two other, separate lawsuits also have been filed, which could further drag out the matter.
Anger over the bill also has prompted recall efforts against 16 state senators, including eight from each party. [Today], Democrats announced they had collected enough signatures for a recall election against one of the Republicans. [Emphasis mine.]
Ah, The Associated Press saved the best for last. Yes, recall election proponents today were to have filed their recall election petition signatures against Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin state Sen. Dan Kapanke, whom Daily Kos (via AlterNet) calls “the most vulnerable of all the eight Republican state senators” who are the targets of recall efforts in Wisconsin. Daily Kos notes that
Kapanke represents a district that [Barack] Obama won with 61 percent of the vote in 2008. Our Daily Kos/PPP poll shows him trailing a generic Democrat by a whopping 55 percent to 41 percent. An earlier MoveOn Survey USA poll showed Kapanke trailing a generic opponent by an even worse 57-percent-to-41-percent margin.
Kapanke is in a lot of trouble. He is also not alone. Last week, recall petition organizers against Republican state Sen. Randy Hopper announced they had enough signatures, too….
Hopper, a freshman who only won his seat by 163 votes, trails a generic Democrat 49 percent to 44 percent in our polling. In the MoveOn/Survey USA polling, he trails 54 percent to 43 percent. Both polls were taken before the scandal about Hopper’s mistress receiving a state job with a 35 percent raise exploded….
So the union-busting law in Wisconsin remains on hold, and the 33-member Wisconsin state Senate should return to a Democratic majority in the foreseeable future. (The Dems have to gain only three state Senate seats to get a majority of 17 to 16. While I have read about recall-vulnerable Repugnican Tea Party state senators, I have yet to read that any of the eight Democratic state senators who have been the targets of recall petitions actually are vulnerable.)
Why does Wisconsin matter? Why do I care? Why should you care?
Because Wisconsin was supposed to the be the first domino to topple in the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party’s war against the working class and the middle class. A victory for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin would have emboldened the traitors elsewhere in the nation.
But rather than the quick, clear-cut victory against the working class and the middle class that Wisconsin Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker & Co. expected, they instead have met not only resistance by tens of thousands of citizens showing up at the state Capitol in Madison in protest for weeks, but all of them can expect themselves to be subjected to recall elections as soon as they can be.
Walker & Co. didn’t say anything about union busting when they campaigned because they knew that union busting wouldn’t fly at the ballot box. They had to shove their union-busting legislation through quickly and dirtily precisely because it’s against what the majority of Wisconsinites have wanted.
Now, they are paying the price, and not only has the Repugnican Tea Party experiment in Wisconsin failed, but it has stimulated the Democratic Party’s national base in a way that the Democrats couldn’t do themselves in the mid-term elections this past November, and 2012 is all over for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors except for the crying.
You can contribute to the recall election efforts in Wisconsin here. I have.