WI Assembly Passes Union Bill
And just like that, the measure is headed for Gov. Walker’s desk, where it’s not likely to sit long before it gets signed:
The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly passed a controversial bill to strip nearly all collective-bargaining rights from the state’s public workers in one of the strongest blows to unions in years.
The state Assembly passed the bill 53-42 a day after Republican senators maneuvered around Democrats to pass the legislation in a session that Democrats said violated the state’s open-meetings law. Gov. Scott Walker said he will sign the bill as quickly as possible.
“I applaud all members of the Assembly for showing up, debating the legislation and participating in democracy. Their action will save jobs, protect taxpayers, reform government, and help balance the budget. Moving forward we will continue to focus on ensuring Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs,” said Gov. Walker.
Democrats are going to try to stop this bill every way they can, but they really don’t seem to have much of a leg to stand on:
Questions have been raised whether the 2-hour notice given of the Wisconsin Senate committee meeting was adequate. Rob Marchant, the Clerk of the Senate issued this statement (tip to Wheeler Report):
There was some discussion today about the notice provided for the legislature’s conference committee. In special session, under Senate Rule 93, no advance notice is required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board. Despite this rule, it was decided to provide a 2 hour notice by posting on the bulletin board. My staff, as a courtesy, emailed a copy of the notice to all legislative offices at 4:10, which gave the impression that the notice may have been slightly less than 2 hours. Either way, the notice appears to have satisfied the requirements of the rules and statutes.
Since the Clerk is relying on Senate Rule 93, it’s worth a look. The provision is a special rule for special sessions, which tend to be more focused in topics and more time pressured in duration. Rule 93 in part provides:
Senate Rule 93 (2)
(2) A notice of a committee meeting is not required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and a bulletin of committee hearings may not be published.
Senate Rule 93 (3)
(3) The daily calendar is in effect immediately upon posting on the legislative bulletin boards. The calendar need not be distributed.
Senate Rule 93 (4)
(4) Any point of order shall be decided within one hour.
On its face, this rule would seem not to require even a 2-hour notice, just posting on the bulletin board, which is how the Clerk interprets it. This is consistent with the emphasis on speed implicit in several parts of Rule 93. Yet it is possible one could instead read the rule as merely covering the method of notice, not the timing of it, but I think that reading is neither the literal one nor the intended one.
If the Clerk of the Senate says it was legit, I don’t think there’s much of a chance for an honest judge to overturn… however, I am not a lawyer–nor do I play one on TV–and there’s probably at least one dishonest judge who would overrule the Clerk of the Senate in favor of the fat cat unions.
Now this, as the famous Brit–you know, the first Honorary Citizen of the United States–once said, is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.