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Developments in Wisconsin
posted by: Megan | March 08, 2011, 12:47 AM   

For over three weeks, union members, leaders and activists have converged in Madison to protest Governor Walker's bill to end forced unionism and close major budget shortfalls. Experts have called Madison ground zero for the labor battle that has been heating up all over the country. This weekend additional protests from both sides and efforts to persuade AWOL legislators to come back to the state have once again gained nation headlines.

On Friday, Senate Republicans ordered the "forcible detention" of their 14 Democratic colleagues, who fled the state two weeks ago to avoid a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.

"They have pushed us to the edge of a constitutional crisis," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said of the AWOL senators.

Today it remains unclear whether the resolution and warrants seeking to force the senators back to the Capitol are in fact legal. The state constitution prohibits the arrest of legislators unless they're suspected of "committing felonies, treason or breach of the peace."

The missing senators have overshadowed the real debate in the headlines. "If you think this is a bad bill for Republicans, why didn't you stand up in the chamber and debate us about it three weeks ago," challenged Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. "People think it's absolutely ridiculous that these 14 senators have not been in Wisconsin for three weeks."

Before last week's developments, Governor Walker said he would not be swayed by any polls. "If I governed by polls I'd still be in the state Assembly," Walker said. "I won reelection twice as county executive in an area of the state that went two-thirds for President Obama by identifying a problem, telling people how I was going to deal with it, and then moving forward with the solution."

A spokesman for Governor Walker said Sunday that Mr. Walker "looks forward to the Senate Democrats returning as soon as possible."

In addition to the controversy surrounding the missing legislators were the thousands of protestors from both sides that converged at the capitol, led by polarizing figures like Michael Moore and Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher.

One member of the crowd, Gwen Borlaug, of Madison, held a sign reading, "State employee for Gov. Walker." She said she works for the state Department of Health Services and, against her will, is a member of the Service Employees International Union. "I have no choice but to pay dues," she said. "Is that freedom? I don't think so."

Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore also roused the crowd with claims that Wisconsin is not broke rather, "The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers."

Police estimated the crowd at 30,000 to 40,000, less than the past two Saturdays. Many are speculating that this will be the week both sides will see a resolution as workers will soon be laid off without a budget bill passed.

What did you think of the weekend protests? Will there be a resolution this week?
Comment below.

 

 

Originally posted by Alix on AAE’s website

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