Scott Walker nears triumph: Wisconsin Assembly passes union-busting bill [UPDATES]

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is one step closer to getting his union-busting bill, now that the GOP-controlled state Assembly snuck in an early-morning vote on the measure while Democrats were caught flat-footed.

Now if only he could get those pesky state Senate Democrats to bow and kiss his ring, he'll have succeeded in stripping most of his public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

Passage in the Assembly was all but a done deal. Democrats there had staged a filibuster, and tried to add amendment after amendment to slow the process down, but Republicans had set a 60-hour time limit on that gambit.

Teachers are among those threatened by Walker's bill.
Teachers are among those threatened by Walker's bill.

At 1 a.m., with only 13 of 37 Democrats on hand, they called a vote and then headed for the elevators as protesters screamed and hollered.

Now the focus moves to the Senate, whose minority of 14 Democrats are still on the lam in Illinois with no intention of returning until Walker agrees to compromise on the bill. Until they come back, there's no quorum--and no vote.

Walker says he won't budge, and has threatened to start giving thousands of public employees pink slips if he doesn't get his way.

Meanwhile, the Assembly vote probably helps his severely bruised ego after being punk'd earlier in the week on the phone by a blogger posing as a billionaire GOP financier.

Update #1: Here's video from Madison after the vote:

Update #2: Thumbing their collective noses at Walker, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse faculty have voted to join a union.


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