Back in October, when the campaigns were in full swing, we here at WPRI tipped the public off to a legislative maneuver that seemed pretty far fetched. In a column I wrote for the Wisconsin State Journal on October 17th, I warned the public that the legislative Democrats might actually ram through the state employee contracts during the lame duck session – a scenario so preposterous, I’m not sure I even believed it at the time.
Well, here we are now. Democrats are trying to scrounge up the votes to pass the state worker contracts before Scott Walker can take over as governor. And today, the ridiculousness reached a completely new level.
Short on votes, Assembly Democrats have turned to one of their jailed colleagues for help. According to reports, disgraced State Representative Jeff Wood, currently sitting in jail due to multiple OWI arrests, has been allowed to leave jail for the day to return to Madison to vote on the union contracts. Walker has said passage of these contracts could cost the state up to $154 million, while he is attempting to close a budget deficit in excess of $3 billion.
So we are left with this: State union contracts being rammed through the Legislature at the last possible moment, by a body that voters threw out of power a month ago, with the deciding vote being cast by a legislator who had to be let out of jail to vote for the agreements.
Wood’s trip down to Madison means the public employee unions are one step closer to getting what they want – locking contracts into place that put the state further into a deficit before Walker can undo them. We’ll see how many drunks sitting in jail get the day off so they can do a $154 million favor for a powerful interest group.
At least the unionized prison guards will be nicer to him now.
UPDATE: In fact, Wood cast the deciding vote on 16 of the 17 union contracts. They each passed by a vote of 48-47. For those 48 legislators without shame, the time to be embarrassed is right…. now.