Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and state Republicans are losing the public-opinion battle over their proposal to slash government workers' collective bargaining rights. But Democrats who left the state to block the bill are paying a price, too: $100 a day in individual fines, starting Monday, under a resolution passed by the GOP. Absentee Dems could also be held accountable for expenses incurred in attempts to round them up, and see their Senate offices and parking spaces confiscated. Is this a fair punishment for skipping town?
The fines don't go far enough: There's still plenty of legislation the GOP senators can pass without the missing Democrats, and this is a great start, says Robbie Cooper in Urban Grounds. But they should do even more. If I don't show up for work several days in a row, "my employment will be terminated. Period."
"Fining the Wisconsin fleebaggers"
The Republicans are getting desperate: "If they want to throw out fines," no problem, says state Sen. Chris Larson, one of the AWOL Democrats, as quoted by Talking Points Memo. None of us Democrats even "flinched at it." These petty punishments just show how desperate the Republicans are getting, now that the public is "calling them out on their power grab." They may ding us, but it's nothing "compared to what they're doing to themselves."
"'Nobody flinched' at the $100 per day absentee fines"
This will only prolong the standoff: "It is doubtful that either side will be swayed by threats of fines" or the Democrats' endorsement of a drive to recall Republican senators, says Michael Stone in Examiner.com. In fact, it will probably make each side dig in deeper, in what's already "shaping up to be a battle to the death." With nobody willing to compromise, Wisconsin may not see a resolution for months.
"Wisconsin: GOP Senators face recall; AWOL Dems face $100 fine"