Legislature May Vote on Contracts in Extraordinary Session Today

MacIver News Service | December 15, 2010

[Madison, Wisc…] The intra-party stalemate over holding a nearly unprecedented vote on goverment union contracts may have been resolved, and the legislature may vote as soon as today on the controversial agreements.

Yesterday, Assembly Democrats voted to hold an extraordinary session on the contracts, but the fate of the agreements were in limbo as the Senate Majority Leader, Russ Decker (D-Weston) would not authorize the Senate to do the same.  However this morning, Senator Decker circulated a paper ballot calling the Senate into Extraordinary Session at 11am to take up the contracts. 

Senator Risser (D-Madison) will gavel the Senate in at 11, then the body will recess, at which time the Joint Committee on Employment Relations will meet and vote to advance the contracts in bill form to the full legislature. 

The State Office of State Employment Relations will then brief members of the minority. OSER is meeting with Assembly Republican at 11:30 and will meet with Senate Republicans immediately thereafter.

Although it is unknown whether legislative Democrats, who maintain majorities in both houses until January 3rd, have the votes to pass the labor agreements with 16 government employee unions, it is possible these contracts will be resolved by the end of the day.

Only once in the 162-year history of the State has the Wisconsin Legislature met in a lame duck session to approve labor accords, when one contract was ratified in 1974.