Collective Bargaining May Be Added to Budget

Assembly Republican leaders have indicated they plan to add controversial legislation that sharply limits collective bargaining by public employees to the state budget. The Assembly is scheduled to begin budget deliberations at 11 am today, June 14, and the Senate expects to take up the bill on Thursday.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) said yesterday that an amendment limiting collective bargaining will be added to the budget if the State Supreme Court does not rule on the pending legislation by Tuesday afternoon. The measure was passed as part of the budget repair bill, but was stopped by Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi who found that the state’s open meetings law was violated. The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments in the case earlier this month, but it is not known when they will issue a ruling.

Both houses of the legislature also plan to meet in extraordinary session, rather than in regular session, something that hasn’t been done since the 1990’s. The move allows the majority party to limit the minority party from drawing out the legislative process. And, perhaps most importantly, a simple majority is enough to send a bill to the other house in extraordinary session. A two-thirds majority is required in a regular session.