Democrats pursue invalidating budget bill vote - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Democrats pursue invalidating budget bill vote


MADISON (WKOW) -- Assembly Democratic leaders said they are researching whether a hasty vote to pass Governor Walker's controversial budget repair bill was sufficiently flawed to be invalidated.

"We're looking at whether or not anything is legally or constitutionally problematic," said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).

The vote shortly after one a.m. Friday was taken abruptly, with the measure passing 51-17, with more than two dozen Democrats unable to get to voting mechanisms in the chamber in time to record their votes.

The vote's aftermath was chaotic, with police officers providing a buffer between departing republicans and angry democrats, who chanted "Shame! Shame!" 

In a statement Friday, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) noted the historic length of the assembly debate, and said passing the bill helped improve Wisconsin's dire fiscal situation without raising taxes.

The bill strips public employee unions of almost of all collective bargaining rights, a political flash point which motivated thousands of people to protest at the State Capitol over the past two weeks.

Assembly debate began mid-morning Tuesday and lasted over sixty hours, which Republican Assembly leaders said was the longest continuous floor debate in Assembly history.   The session became a virtual Democratic filibuster, as few Republicans made any comments on the bill, while Democrat after Democrat proposed scores of amendment and offered biting commentary on the bill's possible impacts.

As Democratic assembly members left the chamber in Friday's wee morning hours, hundreds who had watched the debate on mounted television monitors in the Capitol Rotunda cheered them, chanting "Thank you, thank you."

Many Republican Assembly members maintained the thousands who've demonstrated at the Capitol are just a small fraction of the state's,population and obscured the fact many citizens supported Walker's fiscal toughness and had voted to return both executive and legislative power in Wisconsin to Republicans last November.


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