First, I must apologize for not having audio. I thought I was recording, but I somehow lost it. In any case, after the counter-rally, I ran into state Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere), and did a quick interview with him. What follows is a short summary as the audio disappeared:
What the budget repair bill means for unions: They’ll have to kick in some of their take-home pay for pensions, roughly 5.8%, and pay 12% of their health-insurance premiums. They’ll also lose the right to collectively negotiate for anything other than base bay. The generous sick-day provisions won’t change one iota, and except for some less-than-full-time employees, who will gain some civil service protection, the civil service protection will remain fully in place.
Why the reduction in collective bargaining abilities is necessary: The unions, once governmental leadership changes, will simply bring back no employee payments toward pensions, very-limited payments toward health insurance. Indeed, unions that have contracts coming up are renewing them now so that the provisions of the budget repair bill won’t kick in until later.
What can be done to bring back the missing Democrat State Senators: As long as they’re out of the state, pretty much nothing.
What can be done by the Senate as long as the Democrats are out: Depending on how long they’re out, the Republicans may well move on other issues. They might also split the limits on collective bargaining out of the budget repair bill, deem it as not fiscal in nature, and move on that. Lasee hopes they’ll return soon.
In closing, Lasee said that the budget repair bill will be passed in full.