Two years ago today: Scott Walker unveils “Budget Repair Bill”, Appleton teachers immediately protest

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It’s been two years.

When Walker unveiled his 144 page “Budget Repair Bill” on February 11th of 2011, he demanded that it be ready to go and on his desk by end of the following week. He also said that he had national guard troops at readiness to take over as a “plan for the worst”.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau wouldn’t publish a summary of the bill until February 17th. By then we’d learn that the bill aimed to slash Badgercare and hand more control over Medicaid to Walker. By then we’d learn that his bill would allow the DOA to sell off state power plants without a bid and without review by the Public Service Commission.

However, on February 11th, we knew only that Walker was stripping Wisconsin’s public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights and thus of their power. Wisconsin’s teachers knew that the biggest target was on their backs.

It was an astonishing power grab.

In response to the event, Senator Fred Risser said “State employees have the right to negotiate in good faith with the state. Without a willingness to even discuss what concessions need to be made with state employees, the governor comes across more like a dictator and less like a leader,” -WI S. Journal

Here’s a question and answer session that followed his Madison press conference. Do you detect that the journalists are a bit incredulous over the National Guard thing?

Walker scooted up to Appleton from Madison that same day. Here is a video from the Post Crescent newspaper of his visit to the Fox Valley. The footage bounces between the inside of the Post Crescent office [a Gannett property] where Walker is being interviewed and outside on the sidewalk where teachers are protesting. Notice that Walker says that it is not really about the unions.

Backup link to the Post Crescent protest video here.

Until March 13th I’ll be writing daily posts that flashback to the news of the day 2 years ago.

If you’d like to mark the anniversary with commiseration, information, rallying, or song, check this out:

there’s a forum on where we are with Wisconsin Act 10 tonight in Elkhorn,
there’s a fundraiser and discussion of the status of public education in Madison Wednesday with Rep. Mandy Wright,
there’s a Clergy-Labor Breakfast Thursday in Middleton where Sister Simone Campbell (of “Nuns on a Bus” fame) will speak,
and
there’s some rallying in Madison on Thursday the 14th.

See the bottom of this post for details.

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