Breaking News: After being unable to pass their destructive bill during the last three weeks WI Republicans have taken the nuclear option. They separated the fiscal aspects of the Budget Repair Bill from the attack on collective bargaining and held a lightning vote to pass just that measure tonight.
I happened to be already attending a town hall meeting in La Crosse to learn more about Walker’s Budget and so I was able to get the story directly from my Assembly Rep. Jennifer Shilling. According to her, Republicans convened a Conference Committee at 6:00 PM where the heads of the two legislative bodies met together and introduced a new bill. After just minutes of discussion they called roll and adjourned and then Senate Republicans walked into their chambers together and voted to pass the bill. It passed before 6:30 PM. Only one Senator, Dale Schultz of the Dodgeville area, voted against it. The Democratic caucus, of course, was still in Illinois.
I had five emails about the bill and protests against in in my inbox by the time I got back from my town hall meeting at 9:00 PM and thousands of protesters have re-occupied the capitol in immediate response. The silver lining is the crowd in the building – it sure is good to see it full of WI citizens again.