Wisconsin's Governor Walker claimed over and over that his fight with public unions was about money...but yesterday the Republicans in Wisconsin proved that was not the case.
The Senate in Wisconsin has been on hold since the Democrats escaped to Illinois. A quorum was needed to pass the current legislation and without the Democrats, the Governor's plan to gut public unions was put on hold.
But, Republicans found a way around it. It seems that a quorum is needed ONLY if the bill contains fiscal policy. Yesterday, the Republicans in the Senate removed all the fiscal aspects of the law and passed the bill taking collective bargaining rights away from Wisconsin's teachers and other public employees. You can read about it HERE and HERE.
Now the bill will go to the House where it will likely pass. The governor, of course, will have no trouble signing it into law.
The fight is not over, but this move by the Republican majority in Wisconsin makes one thing very clear. The fight has not been about money.
The purpose of this legislation is obvious now. The target is not the budget...it's the unions. Governor Walker and his supporters in the legislature have claimed that this was a budget issue for weeks...The truth is, they don't care about the budget. Early in the conflict the unions agreed to the fiscal aspects of the bill.
- The unions agreed to the insurance, pay, and other fiscal sacrifices they were asked to make.
- The Republicans, led by Governor Walker, have refused to negotiate any other parts of the bill.
- The fiscal elements of the bill were removed and the anti-union remains were passed by the Senate.
The Idaho legislature passed a bill limiting collective bargaining for teachers to salaries and benefits. The bill also removed teachers' rights to tenure and limit teacher contracts to one year.
Tenure, which, in most places simply gives teachers the right to a hearing before they are dismissed for cause, is one of those issues that corporate education "reformers" have been harping on for years.
Is this the way to attract the "best and the brightest" to a teaching career?
With public opinion running 2-1 against legislation designed to destroy unions what's going to happen to these state legislatures in the next round of elections?
Is it paranoid to think that this is part of a larger plan to privatize education and government services in general?
Let's be honest here...will the governors who are still trying to destroy public unions and teachers' rights admit now that the purpose has never been the budget?
Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Florida...?