Capitol Chaos: Walker Rescinds Layoff Notices
MADISON - The battle in the state legislature over Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill has subsided, as the Governor says he will make it law on Friday.
"Once the bill gets to us today, we will absolutely sign it," said Governor Scott Walker on TODAY'S TMJ4's Live at Daybreak.
He also said he was rescinding layoff notices.
"First thing I'm going to do this morning is send out notice to the unions that we are no longer issuing a warning about layoffs beginning in April. That what this is really about, saving $30 million for the remainder of this year and another $300 million for the state in another two years and about $1.5 billion (for local governments). This is about protecting middle class jobs and protecting middle class taxpayers."
Amidst huge crowds of protesters in and out of assembly chambers, the State Assembly passed the proposal by a 53-42 vote. Every Democrat and four Republicans voted no.
It was a dramatic move and a big victory for Republicans after four weeks of fighting at the Capitol building.
The bill includes several big changes.
Union workers can only negotiate for their salary, and not their benefits.
Union workers pay more for health care and pensions.
It also makes changes to state medicaid programs.
The Governor said he would sign the bill soon, with no regrets.
"For us, this isn't about success or losing, it's ultimately about tough times and a tough budget in a tough economy," said Walker.
"In this case, we're the only state in the country that's giving an alternative to what other states face - massive layoffs, massive property tax increases. With this budget reform, we avoid that and instead give a better option so that public employees like me pay a little bit more for health care and a little bit more for pension, although still less than the average middle class taxpayer."
Investigations are looking into whether Senate Republicans broke the law in advancing the budget repair bill for a vote.
Kenosha Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca filed a complaint with the Dane County District Attorney.
He claims a Senate conference committee violated open meetings laws by not giving public notice.
State law requires at least 24 hours notice of a meeting, but just two hours in an emergency.
However, the non-partisan Senate clerk says no notice was required other than posting it, which Republicans say they did.