Just Like That

March 9, 2011 2:19 p.m.

In a brief meeting that lasted barely five minutes, Wisconsin Republicans appear to have jammed through the union-busting, anti-collective-bargaining provision that has been the focus of the protests and political turmoil in the state for the past month.

Here, as best we understand it, is what just happened:

The Republican leadership convened a special conference committee late in the day to take up the collective bargaining provision only, separate and apart from the budget bill it was a part of. By a vote of 4-2, the conference committee just approved sending the union-related provisions alone to the floor of each chamber.

And here’s the key part: Because it’s no longer part of a budget bill, the collective bargaining provision can now get a final vote in the Senate with or without the Senate Democrats who fled the state to deny Republicans a quorum. It renders their protest-by-absence moot.

It also throws gas on the political fire Gov. Walker has set. Much more on this tomorrow and as developments warrant.

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