Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wisconsin Stop Time

I feel the need to comment on the Wisconsin situation. Things have taken an interesting legislative turn and I really want to address that. It turns out that Wisconsin State Senators have pushed a bill though that legislative body that effectively strips Union members and State workers from collective bargaining. Some may ask how this was possible but to explain it simply, the Republican Senators just approached the legislative problem with a side-step.

For those who haven’t been paying attention to the happenings in Wisconsin, here are the basics. Municipalities and states across the Nation are finding budgetary shortfalls and scrambling to balance their budgets or at least look like they are trying to. Wisconsin is no different.

The Governor of Wisconsin, an honorable Mr. Walker, targeted Teacher’s Unions as, at least, one of the primary reasons for the budgetary shortfalls and while education does make up a large percentage it is strange that the state would want to make an occupation that is very hard and is already not attractive to new graduates and talents even less attractive. This is especially confusing to me since I see Education as a necessary investment in the future.

The Governor and the Teachers Union went through negotiations and the union, recognizing the fact that everyone needs to tighten their belts, conceded to many of Governor Walker’s proposals but the largest issue of contention remained something that to me was ludicrous to even be on the table; collective bargaining. As some British friends I was explaining this situation to said; “Without collective bargaining, what is the point of Unions?”

So the Governor pushed the issue and made it a part of his budget. There is a majority of Republicans in the Senate and the Assembly. There is such a majority of Republicans in the Assembly that if a measure passed through the Senate, odds are the 60-38 majority will pass that sucker right through. Democratic Senators did not want that happening and decided to flee the legislative body to stall the process.

The logic behind Democratic Senators evading the Budgetary proceedings was that the Republican majority (19-14) needed a full quorum of at least 20 senators present to vote on the bill and move it forward. The logical, and relatively politically shady, move that the Republican State Senators did was to remove that section from the budgetary bill and create its own bill, which doesn’t need any such attendance.

For the short term, this works out well for the Wisconsin State Republicans but the long term blow-back will spell destruction for them. This is a very dangerous situation and the political tactic will ostracize the State from many of the more liberal leaning States and Unions throughout the nation. Many even feel like this is really an attack on Democrats to make Wisconsin a huge Republican stronghold. I am unsure how to fight this process, but be assured, I am a little ticked off by it all, it is VERY short sighted and the children will suffer.

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