Morning Bell: Bravery and Common Sense Prevail in Wisconsin
Conn Carroll /
In what Reuters is calling “a confrontation with unions that could be the biggest since then President Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers nearly 30 years ago,” the Wisconsin Senate approved a scaled-down version of Governor Scott Walker’s (R) budget-repair bill last night that would rein in government union collective bargaining powers. After securing approval from three widely respected nonpartisan agencies—the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council, and the Legislative Reference Bureau—Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald removed the appropriations measures from Walker’s budget, thus eliminating the need for any of the 14 truant Democratic Senators to be present for the vote. The State Assembly will take up the new version of the bill at 11 a.m. today, and if it passes, Walker will have achieved a significant victory for taxpayers everywhere.
The courage of the Wisconsin Senate conservatives cannot be understated. Before the vote, lawmakers were threatened with death and physical violence. After the vote, thousands of protesters stormed into the capitol building, ignoring announcements from police that the building was closed. Once inside, and at great risk to the public welfare, activists handcuffed some doors to the capitol shut. When security escorted the Senators to another building, a Democrat tipped off the mob, which then surrounded their cars and tried to break their windows as Senators returned home.
Senate Democrats, who are still hiding in Illinois, are now claiming that the majority’s committee meeting that broke up the budget-repair bill violated Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law. But the Open Meeting Compliance Guide clearly states that when there is “good cause,” only two hours’ notice is required. The Senate majority did provide the two hours’ notice. If the Senate Democrats’ 19-day refusal to show up for work wasn’t “good cause” enough, certainly minimizing the opportunity for union mob violence is. (more…)