Protests against a proposed Wisconsin state budget that would slash faculty pay, eliminate university unions, and dramatically scale back other state employees’ collective bargaining rights continue to heat up today, as Governor Scott Walker tells the Associated Press that he has the votes to pass his bill.
Highlights of the last 24 hours’ developments:
- As many as ten thousand activists demonstrated against the governor’s plan at the state capitol yesterday.
- A state senate committee hearing on the bill dragged on until the early hours of this morning, with citizen testimony continuing even after Republican members of the committee finally went home at three o’clock.
- Several hundred demonstrators remained in the capitol rotunda all night long — some waiting to speak at the hearing, others just occupying the space. Many brought pillows and blankets with them, and a local pizza place made a late-night contribution of provisions.
- The Madison school district closed all of its schools today after some 40 percent of its teachers failed to show up — union officials had encouraged their membership to call in sick and participate in today’s protests.
- Governor Walker claimed this morning that he has the votes in hand to pass his proposal, though the Washington Post reported that there were signs in his party that support might be softening. A vote could come as soon as tomorrow.