The bitter standoff between union protesters and Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin has finally come to an end... for now. Wednesday night, the state Senate passed Gov. Scott Walker's bill stripping public employee unions of collective bargaining rights. The Republican majority used a procedural maneuver to pass the bill without the presence of Democrats, who fled the state weeks ago to deny Republicans the quorum they needed. But because a quorum is only needed if a bill involves spending money, Republicans simply rewrote the bill, excising sections that dealt with spending, and passed it without the Democrats. What happens now? (See protesters react to the news)
More protests in Madison: If you thought things might go back to normal in Madison, you're mistaken, says Julie Gerstein at New York. The Republican victory will only "escalate the battle in an already tense fight." The protests that have stymied the state capitol for the past month will now "grow in strength and ferocity."
"Wisconsin Republicans pull a sneaky move"
Strike! Strike! Strike! Rumor has it that Wisconsin unions will be calling Friday for a general strike, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. That's not just the government employee unions affected by the bill, but "all unions statewide, to show solidarity." Such a move would, of course, be illegal. "It'll be a test of Walker's nerve to see if he's willing to fire people over it."
"Senate passes collective bargaining bill"
Legal challenges from the Democrats: Bring on the lawyers, says David Dayen at FireDogLake. The way the Republicans passed the bill may violate Wisconsin state law, which requires 24 hours notice for such maneuvering to take place. And then there's the question of whether the final bill actually involves spending money. Hasn't Walker been claiming for weeks "that collective bargaining was a fiscal issue"?
"Anti-public employee bill passes senate in Wisconsin; only the beginning of the fight"
Recalls for Republicans: The protests turned public opinion against Gov. Walker and the state Republicans who had his back, says Ezra Klein at The Washington Post. Democrats and unions are "suddenly flush with volunteers, money, and favorable media coverage." My hunch is they'll take advantage of that to try and recall several Wisconsin Republicans... and maybe Walker himself.
"What happened in Wisconsin tonight"