The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

No Democrats, No Problem: Wisconsin Strips Unions of Collective Bargaining Power

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 10, 2011 2:00PM

Wisconsin state Senate Republicans shocked their Democratic counterparts in exile and protesters around the Capitol by forcing through the bill that hamstrings the collective bargaining power of public-sector unions last night, without a single Democrat senator on the floor.

Senate GOP leaders found an end-around to passing the measure. They removed language in Gov. Scott Walker's bill that were technically related to appropriating funds, leaving only the proposal to curtail collective bargaining rights. Because that requires no funding appropriation, it also didn't require a quorum. The State Senate voted 18-1 in favor of the measure.

Once news of the end around broke, protesters in Madison flooded the Capitol grounds while Rep. Peter Barca, the lone Democrat on the Senate floor, questioned the legality of the move.

The financial components of the bill, now that they've been separated, are expected to be passed this morning. Gov. Walker said in a statement released shortly after the vote, "The action today will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs."

Here in Illinois, Wisconsin State Senator Mark Miller, leader of the 14 exiled Democratic Senators in Illinois, said, "In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten." MIller also said the exiled senators have no intention of returning to Wisconsin today, concerned that their GOP counterparts might have other voting maneuvers in the works.