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Walker Signs Off on Collective Bargaining Limits for Most State Workers

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that limits collective bargaining for most state workers; U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl has promised to probe Google's business tactics in the coming months.

On Tuesday, March 8, the office of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker released a series of e-mail exchanges between the governor's office and Democratic leaders within the state.

The e-mails demonstrated that as recently as Sunday, Walker has been attempting to work out a compromise with Wisconsin Democrats. Walker proposed a compromise that would allow public workers to bargain over their salaries with no limit; the original plan banned salary negotiation increases if they went past the rate of inflation.

The compromise would also allow collective bargaining to remain on mandatory overtime,  hazardous duty pay, performance bonuses,and classroom sizes.

Walker also proposed allowing collective bargaining agreements to remain in effect for two years, the previous proposal would require a new agreement each year.

Unions would only have to hold a vote every three years to remain intact, instead of every year as originally proposed by Walker.

In a turn of events, Republican lawmakers outmanoeuvred Wisconsin Democrats late Wednesday night, by using a procedural move to strip all budgetary related provisions from Walker's legislation, thus allowing them to vote on the act without the Democrats present. 

The bill was sent to committee, which voted to remove all financial related issues from Walker's legislation.

In the Wisconsin State Senate, a quorum of 20 senators is required to vote on any bill that deals with spending.

By removing all budgetary items from Walker's proposal, the Senate could pass the legislation that limits collective bargaining from public workers. Only one Republican senator, Dale Schlutz, voted against it.

In response, Wisconsin Democrats' claim that the Republicans violated the Wisconsin Open Records and Open Meetings Law, which requires 24-hour notice be given before any meeting be held.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca stated in a news conference after the Senate vote that he received the notice of the conference committee meeting in an e-mail at 4:09 p.m. The meeting was at 6 p.m.

Republicans have countered that because it was a special session, different rules with the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law apply.

On Thursday, the Wisconsin Assembly passed the altered legislation, with a vote of 53-42.

Four Republicans in the Assembly voted against the bill.

Walker signed the legislation into law on Friday, March 11.

Democratic Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk filed a lawsuit almost immediately after the bill was signed, seeking to block the publishing of the law on the basis that its passage violated Wisconsin's Open Meeting Laws.

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Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-District 10)

  • Sen. Sheila Harsdorf voted in favor of legislation limiting collective bargaining for most state workers on Wednesday, March 9.
  • Sen. Harsdorf has no committee meetings scheduled for the week.

Rep. Dean Knudson (R-District 30)

  • Rep. Dean Knudson voted in favor of legislation limiting collective bargaining for state workers on Thursday, March 10. 
  • Knudson has no committee meetings scheduled for the week.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

  • On Tuesday, Sen. Ron Johnson voted in favor of S. 23: Patent Reform Act of 2011. The legislation would give the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office more leverage in setting patent fees and would reinvest surplus funds into new personnel and technology. The bill passed the Senate with a 95-5 vote, it now awaits to be discussed in the House of Representatives.
  • Johnson has an Aging committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 16.
  • Johnson has two Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee meetings scheduled for the week, one on Wednesday, March 16, and the other on Thursday, March 17. 
  • Johnson has two Budget committee meetings scheduled for the week, one on Tuesday, March 15, and the other on Wednesday, March 16.
  • Tweet of the Week: "Senate Democrats want to cut just $4.7 billion out of $1.65 trillion deficit."

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)

Thurston Howell III March 14, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Passage of this bill will many significant negative long range consequences. I spoke with someone yesterday who has actually read this bill, something I'm willing to wager neither supporters or detractors of Gov. Scott Walker have done. Shamefully, I have to include myself in this group. We need to read this bill. We all should have read it prior to it's passage.
Thurston Howell III March 18, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Law and Disorder http://youtu.be/a5sx-4i5y0E

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