Hours after police removed protesters from the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin lawmakers passed a measure Thursday that limits the rights of public unions to bargain collectively, bringing to a head the battle between the Republican governor and legislature and the public union workers and the Democrats who back them.
The Assembly passed the bill 53-42, according to MSNBC reports, hours after the Senate had passed the measure in a surprise move late Wednesday. The bill goes to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. He is expected to sign the bill.
Walker had proposed the measure as a way to suture budget gaps, but after 14 Democratic senators departed Wisconsin for Illinois last month, preventing the Republican majority from reaching a needed quorum to pass the finance bill, lawmakers stripped the financial language from the measure. This move made the quorum unnecessary, despite the recent return of the Democratic senators.
The bill’s passage comes amid protests at the Capitol. Protesters held up signs that disparaged the lawmakers and some of the protesters shouted “shame.” At one point, police removed protesters. One man wearing a yellow Teamsters T-shirt was dragged by police.