Act 10 At 10: Remembering the Riots

Feb. 15, 2021
By: Bill Osmulski

It’s been ten years since Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican state legislature permanently fix the state’s financial crisis by passing Act 10. The root of the problem was in unsustainable collective bargaining agreements. It took a lot of courage to take on the unions, and they had no idea what they were in for. However, because they stuck to their principles, Wisconsin no longer faces a budget crisis every two years – it now enjoys regular budget surpluses.

The unions, and their Democrat allies, did everything they could think of to stop this from happened. They unleashed a mob on the capitol that occupied the building for three weeks and attempted to intimidate Republican lawmakers into caving. No matter how bad the situation got, Walker never called out the military and the police generally took a hands off approach to the situation.

Here are the original MacIver News Service reports that chronicled the Act 10 Riots.

Feb. 11, 2011

Gov. Walker called a press conference to introduce the “Budget Repair Bill,” which would eventually become Act 10. He had just taken office and the state was $156 million in the hole. Work was about to begin on the next state budget, which was starting $3.6 billion in the red. Plus the state owed $1.5 billion to the federal government for an unemployment benefits loan. Walker decided it was time to fix the problem once and for all.

Feb. 14, 2011

Before launching massive demonstrations at the capitol, the left sought to undermine any attempts to maintain law and order. They spent the weekend characterizing the Wisconsin National Guard as Walker’s storm troopers. The governor never did call out the National Guard, even when Republicans were routinely threatened and physically attacked.

Feb. 15, 2011

The Capitol occupation began with a 17-hour public hearing on the budget repair bill. Unions brought in thousands of their members to protest and testify, and the building never closed for the night.

Feb. 16, 2011

With the protests and occupation underway, thousands of teachers played hooky from school. It is illegal for teachers to go on strike in Wisconsin, but administrators and attorneys were willing to let it slide.

That same day, local socialist chapters held recruiting drives downtown, comparing Gov. Walker to ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Feb. 17, 2011

Teachers calling in sick forced school districts across the state to shutdown. Most of those teachers could be found running around the state capitol fighting for their union while neglecting their students. As one teacher told me “it’s sad for the kids, but it’s good for the teachers.”

Feb. 18, 2011

Gov. Walker was in high spirits as he talked to reporters about the need to balance Wisconsin’s budget.

Meanwhile, communists from Chicago appeared in Madison looking to foment revolution.

Feb. 19, 2011

Teachers lying about being sick all week were starting to worry there might be consequences. Fortunately for them, a team of doctors, lacking any professionalism or ethics, set up on the Capitol Square to forge sick notes for them. Those doctors eventually received merely a reprimand for committing this crime and discrediting their profession.

Feb. 21, 2011

It didn’t take long for Government union members to get pretty comfortable partnering with full-fledged socialist organizations.

Feb. 22, 2011

Within a week of beginning the occupation, union protesters and their allies had formed their own municipal government in the Capitol. Government officials and law enforcement made no effort to stop it.

Feb. 23, 2011

The 14 Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate fled to Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 17th, to avoid voting on the budget repair bill. That prevented the Senate from achieving a quorum required for fiscal bills.┬áCongressman Paul Ryan reflected on the situation during WMC’s Business Day, the next week.

Feb. 24, 2011

A group of disabled individuals stormed and temporarily occupied the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s headquarters. Democrats told them they would die if the budget repair bill passed. One woman said Sen. Jauch told her the Republicans would cut off her chemotherapy.

Feb. 25, 2011

Thousands of teachers were given the day off to attend a professional development conference in Madison, but few actually showed up for the day.

Feb. 27, 2011

After two weeks, Capitol Police made its first attempt to end the illegal occupation.

Mar. 2, 2011

The security situation at the State Capitol continued to deteriorate. Rep. Glenn Grothman was attacked and trapped by the mob outside the Capitol. It would get worse before it got better.

Mar. 3, 2011

As the illegal occupation of the State Capitol continued into a third week, a bizarre counter-culture fully took hold. Flyers was plastered on every surface in the building, many promoting Marxist ideals.

Mar. 4, 2011

The occupation mostly ended after a judge ordered the Capitol be cleared, but the chaos was far from over.

Mar. 7, 2011

Gov. Walker and Senate Republicans conducted ongoing negotiations with Senate Democrats to come back from Illinois and vote on the bill.

Mar. 9, 2011

Senate Republicans were done playing around. They decided to pull all the fiscal items out of the budget repair bill and vote on it without the Democrats.

After the Senate passed the bill, a mob formed outside the Capitol. As they looked for a way in, they discovered a MacIver News reporter in their midst.

The mob lost interest in the MacIver News reporter as soon as they broke into the building. Then it was all about making a mad scramble to get inside.

Mar. 10, 2011

The night the State Senate passed the bill, a liberal mob ambushed Republican lawmakers and their staffers at a secret entrance to the Capitol. They even tried to roll over the bus carrying them. The next day, they staked out that entrance hoping to block the Assembly from getting to the Capitol and voting on the bill.

Later that day, the State Assembly passed the budget repair bill. More chaos followed.

Mar. 11, 2011

Gov. Walker signed Act 10 into law, but Democrats, the unions, and other liberal groups vowed to fight on.

Mar. 12, 2011

The 14 Democrat Senators returned from Illinois to a massive homecoming rally on the Capitol Square. Liberals would fight on for years through recall efforts, court challenges, intimidation tactics, and unending protests. It all failed, and Act 10 remained in place – saving Wisconsin taxpayers over $13.9 billion over the next decade. The state has not faced another budget crisis since.