Wisconsin Democrats say Republicans are breaking the rules in their rush to pass a “budget repair bill” that contains anti-union provisions. Republicans in the State Assembly have enough votes to pass the bill, but decided to start voting on it before the Assembly was scheduled to meet.
Minority Leader Peter Barca called the move “unprecedented” and “illegal.” He said “I know you are just so eager to tramp on peoples’ and workers’ rights, you can’t just wait, can you?” Barca called for the vote to be struck.
Republican Assembly Leader Jeff Fitzgerald said he thought the Democrats would not show up for the scheduled 5pm vote. Eventually he agreed to rescind the vote.
After the session, a group of Democratic Assembly members dressed in an orange solidarity t-shirts talked to The UpTake.
“In their haste to do business without us on the floor before the designated time to begin they actually passed my amendment by mistake.” said one.
“They tried to silence us” said another.
“They’re trying to shut down democracy and shut down the voices,” said a third. “The fact that someone is in the minority, that we all represent the minority party in the state of Wisconsin doesn’t mean we we have a voice.”
Other quotes from the Democratic Assembly members:
“This bill has almost nothing to do with balancing our state budget. It’s merely a guise to push through one of the most radical to push through one of the most radical agendas in the reduction and loss of workers rights that we’ve seen in 50 years.” said another member.
“When we came in this morning we wanted to introduce our constituents and they shut us down. They walked off. They didn’t want to hear that over 50,000 Wisconsin citizens have spoken out over the last week against Governor Walker taking our rights.”
“Today we asked our Governor to show some leadership. Not only did he flatly refuse to meet with us at the Capitol, but he flatly refused to even discuss the offers that have been made by organized labor to help bring an end to this impasse.”