Wisconsin’s state Joint Finance Committee passed a highly controversial budget bill last night, voting along party lines 12-4 in favor of the bill which includes an amendment revoking workers’ right to collective bargaining for state employees. Although the committee’s Republicans had voted in favor of the bill, they had reversed some of Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to kill health insurance and retirement benefits for some state employees.
A number of the state’s school districts were canceling classes for today. Wisconsin Education Association Council president Mary Bell asked school employees to join in another day of protests in Madison — the third day in a row at the state capital.
The budget bill heads to the state senate today where it is expected to pass.
In the mean time, pressure mounts to recall Gov. Walker; at least one Facebook page and a watch-blog have launched efforts to discuss the recall process. The wrinkle, though, is that Wisconsin state law does not allow recall of the governor until after the first year in office (pdf):
No petition for recall of an officer may be offered for filing before the expiration of one year after commencement of the term of office for which the officer is elected. A petition may be circulated 60 days before the expiration of one year, but may not be offered for filing until after the officer has completed one year in office.
Will Wisconsin’s residents be too numb ten months from now to finish the recall process? Perhaps the Green Bay Packers can help by encouraging petition signings at tailgate events this fall, now that they’ve come out against the anti-union budget bill.
UPDATE — 10:45 a.m. EST — If you’re a Twitter user, you might want to watch these:
http://twitter.com/bluecheddar1 — Progressive blogger who lives near the capitol, live tweeting events.
http://twitter.com/WisconsinEye — Wisconsin’s state equivalent to C-SPAN, will be covering the vote in state senate today (website URL: http://www.wiseye.org)
blue cheddar posted that a UW Madison student and teacher assistant walk out was to begin at 9:15 a.m. local time (10:15 a.m. EST).