(MADISON, Wisc.) -- Not long after Republican members of the Wisconsin State Senate used creative parliamentary tactics to push through a bill that would strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees, Democratic legislators, unions, and progressive groups were already vowing revenge.
"In thirty minutes, 18 State Senators undid fifty years of civil rights in Wisconsin," Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller said in a statement Wednesday. "Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten. Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people. Tomorrow we will join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government."
Miller was one of 14 Democratic legislators who had been hiding out in Illinois during the weeks-long stalemate between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his opponents -- a coalition of Democrats and organized labor. Overnight thousands of protesters stormed the Wisconsin state capitol, as ABC News reported, and more demonstrations are planned across the state later Thursday.
Wednesday night, by an 18-1 vote, Senate Republicans managed to find a way around the need for a quorum of 20 senators and passed the bill Walker had sought by stripping the collective bargaining provisions from the governor's "budget-repair bill."
The bill "removes fiscal elements of the proposal" but also "increases employee payments in pension and health benefits. The changes would amount to an approximate eight percent pay cut for public workers," according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The State Assembly will meet Thursday morning to vote on the bill. If the assembly passes it, it moves to the governor's desk.
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