At 1AM Friday February 25, Assembly Republicans Pass Budget Bill with Seconds-long Roll Call Vote.

Video of Assembly Democrats outraged following sneak vote:

and the same moment from David Douglas of News 3:

From the New York Times: “…Debate had gone on for 60 hours and 15 Democrats were still waiting to speak when the vote started around 1 a.m. Friday. Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, opened the roll and closed it within seconds.

Democrats looked around, bewildered. Only 13 of the 38 Democratic members managed to vote in time.

Republicans immediately marched out of the chamber in single file. The Democrats rushed at them, pumping their fists and shouting “Shame!” and “Cowards!”

The Republicans walked past them without responding.

Democrats left the chamber stunned. The protesters greeted them with a thundering chant of “Thank you!” Some Democrats teared up. Others hugged.

“What a terrible, terrible day for Wisconsin,” said Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee. “I am incensed. I am shocked.”…”

27 thoughts on “At 1AM Friday February 25, Assembly Republicans Pass Budget Bill with Seconds-long Roll Call Vote.

  1. WOW, Where do I start. I guess first off lets stomp the fact that bargining for wages are going to disappear, because that is not being taken away. Public employees may be losing the right to collectively bargin on many issues, pay is not one of them. While I am on that subject what they need to do is get rid of the “step system” and start rewarding on the basis of teaching quality not quantity. Who cares how long you’ve been there, if the overall goal is educating our youth then the good teachers should make more than the poor ones who have been there longer. Public school teahers are extremely over paid, you mention averages being 40k for wages and 24K for benefits, equals 64K for a person who works nine months out of the year, get a raise every year regardless of their performance, and frankly have not been performing that well. This is way more than what your average tax paying worker makes. It is rediculous to expect the taxpayers to be okay with paying these whining teacher more than they make themselves.

    I actually just went skiing this past weekend with a friend of mine who is also in the corrections field and I was told that thier job is easy and a majority of the time they are just sitting around doing nothing, while watching the inmates do nothing. Yes there are incidents that happen, bad ones, but to say it is like that all the time is a lie. Thus I disagree with the fact that employees should be able to bargin for class size or how many inmates or patients you have. If you can’t handle the job leave, I am sure there is someone out there that is willing and able to do it.

    In terms of the unions and their dues, I respect the reasoning you give with finding another job if you don’t want to be in the union, but why again if we want the best people teaching our youth then why turn away a super teacher just because he/she doesn’t want to be in the union. In addition, private sector businesses and their unions are typically working for their own best interests, which I absolutely agree with. Our government works for the people and should be trying to get the best deal for the taxpayers. Again the government works for the taxpayers not for the unions and thus are not in the business of pleasing the unions, but the taxpayers.

    I didn’t even know the train was going to be brought up, but since it was I have to comment. What a ridiculous idea for a train from milwaukee to madison. Spend all that money on a system that not only makes no sense, but would hardly be used. It take 45 min to an hour to get from milwaukee to madion, maybe 10-15 bucks in gas, probably less for the hybird cars. Now in terms of the train: I need to go to downtown milwaukee, find parking which would cost 5-20 dollars who knows. Then buy a train ticket for $35 on a train that is going to make two to three stops along the way. Then drop me off at the airport in madison, which is now where near civilization. So now I need to get a cab $30-$50, to get me to the campus, the capital, or somewhere on the otherside of the belt line. This whole process would end up costing me way more money, and probably not get me to my destination any quicker. People would realize this and not use the train. Thus the cost to maintain the train would end up costing more than it made. Obama’s money would be better spent fixing up the roads rather than for a train to nowhere.

    • Justin-Lots of ideas in your long comment. Don’t usually number, but it’ll help the next person to come.
      1)Wages are just 1 component of the compensation that a public employee receives. Nobody has erroneously reported on this matter. What’s your point?
      2)You wrote “Public school teahers are extremely over paid” Complete matter of opinion, and in my opinion, your statement is utter bullshit. You could not pay me to work as a public school teacher for the wear and tear on my heart and pscyhe. One of the most crucial jobs in America and one of the hardest. Mix of social worker, cop, educator, entertainer, and everybody and his dog thinks they are your boss.No private life –a public teacher can’t go out on the town and have a good time getting drunk, for example. Am I right? Lots of personal scrutiny. Nope. You could not get me to do this. Those who do take it on, and do it well–applause and good compensation to ’em.
      3)Regarding reward for merit vs. step system. I thought that WEAC recently began to come to the middle on this point. I do believe moves are in process which should make you happier on that point.
      4)On work in the corrections field. If you and I go back and forth on these first-person-account stories all day, fine. If you work in corrections you have piss and shit thrown at you, standard. You are working with individuals that are more likely to have various forms of Hepatitis and AIDs/HIV. Hepatitis C has no cure and is a disease one just copes with. For these reasons, and a few more, well, you won’t find me working in corrections either.
      5)Unions are in the business of also upholding standards of care and professionalism for the general public. If you go to a hospital, I suspect you’d be glad to have SEIU union standards ensuring that the HMO doesn’t pile on so many patients on 1 nurse. Because if she can keep her head on straight and perform at an even keel due to good conditions, she’ll keep your meds accurate and you will be at less risk of a medical mix-up. Really. It does come down to that. Looking at that-with what HMOs try to squeeze out of us with zero concern for our health…. *sigh* This makes me want to go into how we could use some more gov’t oversight on healthcare and even universal care – but that is a whole other argument. On dues supporting the Democratic party, this is interesting. You know, corporations will give an almost equal amount to both parties many times. Or just a bit to the Repubs vs. the Dems. Because both parties do serve corporate masters. This is actually a depressing fact for me. Now. If unions had a snowball’s chance in hell with the Repubs., surely the lobbying aspect of this dialog would be insignificant or off the table. But as it is, Repubs. are the party of the corporation and biz interests- still! – and Dems are MORE on the side of the union [wish I could write “always” but as was noted before, Dems do take corporate hand-outs] I am hard-pressed to promise you that one day we will have another way, such as campaign finance reform with real teeth,though I am sure you and I could come up with a sensible solution far much better than this. But as it stands the unions are helping us to preserve a two party system.
      6)On the train. That was a 90% federally funded project to deliver 5,000 jobs STAT and it would’ve connected us to Chicago and Minneapolis and beyond. Incidentally, WI traditionally pays out more in fed taxes than it is gifted in federal funds.So it would’v been about time we got that sort of deal. Also, while our Gov made a big deal about giving that money back for the deficit, nobody made a big deal about the federal dollars – is it a couple billion? can’t recall – that is going to the Manitowoc area for defense spending under a contract awarded in 2010. So anything we can do for defense – fine. But nothing can be done for transportation infrastructure. Come on. I can see through this. And you can’t? Regarding the ticket price, even that was going to go cheaper due to relocation of the station from the airport to downtown madison. Right now a high speed Chicago to Missouri-I think St Louis – leg is under construction. It should’ve been no big deal. I wrote extensively on this in those days and fought so hard for it I probably have a small tear in my aorta over that [gawd damn it!]. It’s now deader than a doornail and in my mind, anyway, that is a huge loss for Wisconsin. On a very personal note, I would have taken the train to -Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, and if the North leg went to Eau Claire – to Eau Claire where I have family. I hate to drive and we have snow enough that …yeah. You get the picture.

      While we do not agree on things, we have had a civil discussion here, and we each may have been forced to see things in a new light, and for that I am glad. Thank you for coming by the blog. May the civil discussions continue.

  2. In terms of bargaining for health care choice or employer contribution, do you have the confidence that your HR person knows your needs as well as the corporate bottom profit?

  3. Secondly, salaries in private and charter schools are, in almost all instances, much lower than public schools. But remember the average salary of a public school teacher is no more than $40 thousand and the average pension of a retired teacher in Wisconsin is only $24,000!
    Union salaries in any profession help to increase the prevailing wage for all workers. Unions work for all workers not just card carrying people.

    Now if you are someone who believes that salaries for a kid just out of business school on Wall Street should be 4-5 times higher than the salary of a first year teacher or 3-4 times more than a 20 year classroom teacher, well, you got some explaining to do.

  4. “I don’t get to at my place of employment…”
    But you should be able to. Don’t kid yourself, individual co-workers at your workplace are bargaining for money or benefits- with chips you may not know about. Corporate secrecy about wages is employee control.

    Unions developed in the public sector of education and civil service precisely because people of good will in the government knew that a united voice would help ensure the human goals of a society for its citizens- an honest wage, safe working conditions, decent hours and security in old age. These goals should be available to all citizens of a society.

  5. I just don’t understand why I as a taxpayer, and thus a contributor to state payroll, state employees should be able to bargin on issues such as who their healthcare provider is and the type of plan they get. I don’t get to at my place of employment and just wonder why they should. Furthermore if a teacher would say they do not want to be in the union, because they don’t share the same values as what the union stands for, why should they be forced to pay dues. I guess I am looking for a single reason why losing collective bargining rights is such a big deal. Please help…..and thanks for voice

    • Thanks for the comment, Justin.With regard to what is included in the collective bargaining process, my understanding is that the unions bargain for a whole pot of stuff. That’s their “pay” for their work is, to put it very simply. Their compensation is wages + benefits and “benefits” include health insurance, disability insurance, a pension. Their hourly compensation is less than the private sector’s and their benefit compensation has been more substantial than the private sector’s. Part of what has made it easier for public employees to get this better benefit compensation has been the economy of scale. It’s cheaper per person to manage a large pool rather than a small pool of fewer individuals. For example, when a benefits manager is shopping for services, they can get cheaper services per person if they have such a huge pool of clients. In addition, having such a large pool spreads out the risk nicely. In contrast, the small private employer I worked for a little over a year ago had less than 20 employees and in his situation, when he hired on a few older workers, the health insurance for his small company spiked significantly because the insurance company saw those older people as greater risks for illness/cancer and we had a small pool…
      Now in 2011, the economy is in crisis. The Gov needs to contract the state spending or raise taxes. He won’t raise taxes, he’s giving away $ to big business, and sending away $890 million [the train] because it’s federal $ from Obama. He’s going to screw it to the public sector workers. Doesn’t make sense to me to go after these people, but let’s go past that: Union individuals I’ve spoken to in the last two weeks state that they understand why their payroll, health insurance, etc would reduce right now. And in fact shortly after the bill was released, union leaders came together to state they would deliver enough concessions to make up a budget shortfall, but they did not want to lose rights to bargain in the future.
      A worker’s bargaining rights can protect not only wages and benefits but also workplace conditions. A correctional officer I spoke with is concerned for being forced to serve a greater # of inmates-an impact on his workplace safety & stress [he says people throw piss at him..this is not an easy-peasy job]. A quote from an article: “We need to have somebody behind us if we get sued. That happens a lot in our line of work — we get sued for excessive force. Who is going to be there for us? Who is going to have our back? That’s where the union comes in.” A nurse I spoke with said he’s concerned about patients per nurse, hours worked consecutively–since that will affect the standard of care and his performance. He said his SEIU union negotiates on those issues and helps to keep standards up. Teachers are concerned with classroom sizes always. They fear an increase in job stress and loss of quality of instruction. I also have spoken with parents who see the value in having a teacher union there to advocate for funding for education and decent pay for teachers.
      As far as a teacher selecting a union or non-union position – first, to my understanding, there are plenty of poorly-paid non-union teaching jobs in private schools. If a teacher wants to insist on staying away from a union job, they have that option. As for why a union job requires dues: the dues pay for the individuals who advocate for the union workers and dues pay for lobbying for policies and political figures that will advocate for workers as well. I think that won’t always please everybody in every respect, but it is necessary. Look at this video of Shepard Smith and Juan Williams. They acknowledge that the loss of union strength means the loss of a two-party system in America. These guys are working on Fox and even they get that – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJBGWH222KI
      Heck of a long response from me. I hope this is not too boring. Critique away, America. That’s what the blog is here for.

  6. Senator Dale Shultz has come out publicly as a no vote, which is interesting as he is coming from a very safe district, and is not currently eligible for recall threat. He was reelected 62-37 last November.

    He will get my thanks!

    • Evan – On twitter folks say it is unconfirmed that Schultz is a “no” on the bill. I do hope it’s true, of course. Let me know – anybody – where you see confirmed info. on this. Thanks.

  7. This portion of the bill is in the past, now to the Senate and it is now time for the dems to own up, return to chambers, and “face the music.” We are in a representative republic in which we the people, choose who we want to represent us. Unfortunately the democrats lost the election and need to accept that. Running out of the state and impeding the entire process is a mockery to our government. This state was blue for a long time and not once did the R’s get in the way of our system by running. It is an insult to Wisconsin politics and in the words of your very own president B.O. “Every election has consequences” it is time the babies come home and start acting like adults.

  8. Yes, of course, the R. leadership knew their vote… but it does not follow that the leadership did not but the pressure. We don’t know the backstory so until we do we cannot cry cowardice for not taking the podium with the democrats with facts, figures and commonsense public speaking. Get the nay republicans on record with reasons. Then congratulate them for arriving at that decision AND tell them decisions have consequences and votes bring responsibility. Tell them you expect them to be vocal and publicly stand behind their vote. Keep their feet to the fire. What you don’t want to do is let them think that is all they have to do.
    Think of it this way the Rs are trying to divide us- well, turn the tables on them

  9. “there are situations where you will vote one way or never have your family speak to you again. There are Republicans with union family members, for example. Just sayin’.”

    Yep. So if they are making a principled vote – they really believe that this is bad policy and should not be enacted – they have an obligation to do more than vote against it; they should speak against it. An ineffectual gesture, whether made for electoral consideration or familial harmony, is just that – ineffectual. If they’re unwilling to stand up to their leadership and do something that might actually impact the chances of passage, then their vote is purely symbolic; either they don’t really believe it and wanted the bill to pass but without facing the fallout of a yes vote (from whatever quarters) or they’re so cowed by their leadership that they were unwilling to face the fallout of speaking up. Either way it’s a tough place to be, but it’s a tough job, so I have limited sympathy. As the song goes, “which side are you on?”

    For what it’s worth, Nerison has stated publicly that his leadership knew his vote before he took it. I don’t believe for a second that they wouldn’t have put the screws to him if they needed his vote – so that’s permission, whether tacit or explicit. Pushing a red button when it won’t possibly make a difference doesn’t make up for sitting silently during the time when speaking up could. If I were a pro-union (or anti-no bid contracts, or LGBT, or…) member of Nerison’s family I would have a hell of a time looking him in the eye, regardless of his vote.

    • To Evan – I see where you’re coming from. You’re reminding me how cynical I am – that I assume unless informed otherwise that every politician is a “political animal”. My assumption is that if a Republican votes on the side of the Democrats on an issue, that he or she should hear a “thanks” from as many as possible — especially from moderates. I’m assuming it helps to shore up the politicians’ confidence and creates the perception that they are on the right side of public opinion. You are expecting Wisconsin’s Assembly members to be capable of principled individual action instead of tacit movement with the herd. That’s an ideal, and maybe I should try to move closer to this now. I’d like it to be time for that. From a politicians’ perspective, principled “maverick” action opens up risk and possible loss of their job – as well as of course possible opportunity for leadership (reward/risk). Indeed principled action helps what I”ll call a “good” person sleep at night. Money in the bank and a stable career also helps any one of us sleep at night. What we do to achieve that level of comfort often involves compromise of our ideals. To keep a job one must learn to shut mouth, do work, cover ass. All revolves around what the boss thinks. The public interprets most of these votes through some form of spin on November 2nd, if at all. Who is the boss? Informed and principled voters or the people (and corporations are “people”) with the most money for spin? We’ve been enduring a shortage of informed voters, and an excess of manipulative spin. Thus moneyed spin is the boss, not “the people”.
      After discussing this, you’ve got me thinking we need to get these 4 voters on the record talking about the votes loud and clear. I’ll try calling each one of them and see where it goes. And I won’t even impersonate a billionaire.

  10. A couple of thoughts –

    First, the 4 Republicans who voted no almost certainly had permission from leadership to do so. They deserve no thanks even if their votes reflected their principles, as they were unwilling to stand and speak against the bill. They are cowards like the rest.

    Secondly, I, for one, thank the Republicans for once again showing their extraordinary lack of political sense. Fifteen more speakers – three hours, tops – and they could have won the media cycle by passing the bill in a relatively calm and respectful fashion. There was never any question of the bill passing the assembly. Instead they once again turned the story into one of Republicans railroading the minority. I’ve been blown away at how poorly Walker and the Republicans have handled what could have been an easy win for them.

    • To Evan – If I were on reddit I’d say “citation please”. As it’s my own blog, I’ll be more cordial, and note that there are situations where you will vote one way or never have your family speak to you again. There are Republicans with union family members, for example. Just sayin’.

  11. To those 51 elected Assemblymen and women and their sleight of hand 30 second vote:

    “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?“

  12. I can’t believe the underhanded lengths the Republican senators will go to enrich the corporate coffers at the expense of the every day citizen. A travesty!

  13. this from legaleagle on twitter The good news – Four Republicans voted “No” & restored my faith in humanity. Dean Kaufert, Lee Nerison, Richard Spanbauer & Travis Tranel.

    We need to embrace these people and support them. Maybe they can talk to the Senate Rep that might waiver.

    • Thanks for that note. I did share that info with others. This is reminding me-I have started to do a 10 am talk show w. another blogger…thought of chatting w. one of these 4 Repubs who said “no” and ask them how and why they came to the vote.

  14. I was born and raised in WI. How shameful this is. This is where it is all heading. The Koch bros and their ilk are seeking to level the playing field–with China and Mexico. And the sorts of stats identified in the article I reference will skyrocket. Look at this: “Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.” Source: Business Insider: http://read.bi/9CjHZs

    What will the Dems recourse be?

    • Stepping back from the disagreement at hand, it is shameful that our legislators could not compromise and things are as heated as they are. I do blame Walker for putting out such an uncompromising and radical piece of legislation and then demanding that it be passed in 6 days. I recall one Senator said, “Even god took 7 days to make the world.”

  15. “Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford), issued a statement following the vote, saying, ‘Today, the Legislature voted to protect [corporate special interests] and ensure that Wisconsin remains [a ridiculous marionette in the hands of the wealthy.]'”

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