UPDATE: Joint Finance Committee passes budget repair bill - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Joint Finance Committee passes budget repair bill


MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Walker's highly-controversial budget repair bill is on its way to the Senate.

The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill 12-4 along party lines.

Republicans made some changes, but nothing that would keep collective bargaining rights for public workers intact.

Thousands of protesters packed the Capitol Rotunda to watch the hearing on television monitors, booing and screaming when supporters of the measure talked. Protesters packed the Capitol all day Tuesday during a 17-hour hearing, overnight and again all day Wednesday.

The Senate will take up the bill Thursday.

Gov. Walker has said he has the support to move the legislation through the Legislature.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Legislature's powerful Joint Finance Committee is on its way to approving Governor Walker's controversial labor proposals as part of a budget fix.

The thousands who gathered at the state capitol have not been able to change the course of the governor's plan. But they are being praised for lessons delivered in democracy.

"The nation, if not the world, is watching Wisconsin," said Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar).

Demonstrators watched television monitors to watch deliberations from the packed committee room Wednesday night, still hoping for changes to the governor's proposal to strip public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining power.

But Republican leaders say employee benefits must be controlled to help solve over $3 billion in state red ink.

Demonstrators showed they are also taking a hard line.  Many chanted "Recall Walker now" while rallying inside the capitol.

There have been no arrests.

Hundreds are expected at the capitol again Thursday after the committee's expected approval and State Senate consideration Thursday of this lightning-rod legislation.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican leaders in the state legislature say they will pass Gov. Scott Walker's bill taking collective bargaining rights away from public employees.

Lawmakers made some minor changes to the bill today, but the core of Walker's bill remains.

The Legislature's budget committee expects to pass the bill Wednesday night. The Republican-controlled Senate will take it up Thursday, where Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says it will pass. It then heads to the Republican-controlled Assembly.

Fitzgerald says he thinks taxpayers will support the bill.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald tells The Associated Press that no major changes are planned to be made by Republicans to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip collective bargaining rights from nearly all public employees.

Fitzgerald said Wednesday that some changes will be made to the bill by the Legislature's budget committee, but the core parts of Walker's proposal taking away collective bargaining rights and forcing higher pension and health insurance contributions will remain.

Republicans were meeting in secret all day Wednesday working out a deal. Walker and party leaders had expressed confidence the bill would pass largely as Walker proposed.

More than 10,000 protesters flooded the Capitol the past two days to try and stop the bill. It appears their efforts will be in vain.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature say they plan to offer significant changes to a sweeping bill that would strip most public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Robin Vos, the co-chairman of the budget committee, said the revisions would be offered later Wednesday, the same day that thousands of people have descended on the state Capitol to protest the legislation.

Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee said on her Facebook page that the amendment would be substantive, technical and complex.

No details were immediately available.

Gov. Scott Walker said earlier that he was open to changes in the bill but would not reconsider the fundamental principles of his plan, which is the nation's most aggressive anti-union proposal.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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