Last night, Wisconsin State Senate Republicans stripped most public employees unions of most collective bargaining rights. After insisting for weeks that busting the unions was essential to balancing the state's budget, they broke Governor Scott Walker's "budget-repair bill" into two parts. One part contained the anti-union provisions, the other the items that Republicans now deemed fiscal.
Then they jammed the anti-union provisions through a conference committee of the Assembly and Senate -- in the extraordinary tape you see above -- and had the Senate pass that bill moments later. The Assembly is expected to pass it this morning. Senate Democrats sound like they haven't yet decided whether to come back today. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, whom you see above, is asking the attorney general to intervene in what Mr. Barca calls a violation of Wisconsin's open meetings law. Republicans insist that they played this one by the numbers. (Check out Ezra Klein on this question.)
The AFL-CIO is rallying people in Madison this morning. According to the indispensable WisPolitics, protests will be held across the state, at "the Dodge County Administration Building, Eau Claire's City Hall, Veterans Park in Fond du Lac, the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, the La Crosse County Courthouse, the Milwaukee County Courthouse, Senator Mike Ellis' district office in Neenah, the Oshkosh Opera House Square, Platteville's City Hall, Monument Square in Racine, the Richland County Courthouse, in Ripon at 303 Blackburn St. and the River Falls City Hall."
Last night on the show, Michael Moore noted ongoing protests around the nation of union-busting attempts by other Republican governors. Mr. Moore called for a national student walkout on Friday, at 2 p.m. local time. The demonstrations must go on, he said. "This has to continue day after day after day, and these governors are going to have to step down," he said. "They're going to be recalled. They're going to be impeached. They have broken the law. There's no way they can get away with this."
(Full segment: Wisconsin GOP votes to strip union rights)