Thursday, February 24, 2011

Legislation in the News Contest -- Week Four

This week's winning entries focus on the Battle of Madison. In this story submitted by Kylin Fisher, NPR reports:

A group of Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin blocked passage of a sweeping anti-union bill [supported by nearly elected Gov. Scott Walker] Thursday by ignoring orders to attend a vote. Instead, they left the state to force Republicans to negotiate over the proposal.

As ever-growing throngs of protesters filled the Capitol for a third day, the 14 Democrats disappeared from the grounds. They were not in their offices, and aides said they did not know where any of them had gone. A state police search is under way.

* * * * *

As Republicans tried to begin Senate business Thursday, observers in the gallery screamed "Freedom! Democracy! Unions!" Opponents of the bill cheered when a legislative leader announced that there were not enough senators present to proceed.

* * * *

The proposal marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all nonfederal public employees.

In addition to eliminating collective bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage, increases Walker calls "modest" compared with those in the private sector.

This YouTube video, which was submitted by Alex Kreisman and made by his brother Dave, vividly depicts the events at the state capitol that day.

Congratulations to Kylin and Alex.

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