14 March 2011

Slow Walking WI Collective Bargaining Changes

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) achieved his objective of saving state worker jobs by changing collective bargaining over non-salary issues. This legislative victory was achieved only after several weeks of fleebagging by Democrat State Senators, a prolonged union mob occupation of the State Capitol and after union supporters physically threatening Republican State Senators.

Gov. Walker promised to sign the legislation “as quickly as he can legally” after it passed the Wisconsin State Assembly on a 52-42 vote.   In fact, Gov. Walker accelerated his approval before the official signing ceremony as there were reports that local governments were rushing to approve agreements under the old collective bargaining regime.  But Gov. Walker’s Executive expeditiousness is still not quick enough.

Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette (D-WI) is deliberately progressing slowly on publishing the bill, thereby making it law.  Even though La Follette has possession of the legislation, he is not going to publish it until March 25th. Although one lawsuit to block implementation of these changes in state collective bargaining rules with state employees has failed, this should give the union opposition a few more kicks at the cat to find a sympathetic judge and succeed in lawfare Moreover, it gives municipalities even more time to finalize new contracts that circumnavigate the pension changes.

 Presumably, La Follette will claim that he is living up to his motto on website which maintains "I believe my most important job is being there when you need help. As a third generation scion of Progressive gadfly “Fighting Bob” La Follette Sr. (R-WI), Doug La Follette has managed to virtually be Secretary of State for life.  Doug LaFollette has held the job consecutively since 1982, although he had a close 4% margin in the November 2010 election.

It’s funny how many Democrat Secretaries of State will rush to certify election results when one of their confreres win, but will drag their feet with the opposition is victorious, most recently demonstrated with the Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) special election certification, who were eventually shamed into certifying speedily.  Partisans were offended when then Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris did not bend the rules and followed the letter of the law when certifying the 2000 Florida election results.

The governing process is ordinarily exasperating enough.  The fleebagging tactic that Wisconsin Democrats followed only compounded the difficult choices.  While I feel that La Follette is playing politics, at least the time frame is within his legal discretion.  I just hope that Doug La Follette’s tortoise pace of certification is not just another opposition tactic to never surrender.

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