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Wisconsin squabbling takes yet another turn

Much has been made of the Wisconsin law that strips most public employees of virtually all their collective bargaining rights. While sight of the actual legislation shouldn't be lost -- and let's be honest, the measure is much more about weakening unions than saving state dollars -- what's happened as a result of it are political shenanigans that are regrettable to say the least.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, of course, started the ugly chain of events when he introduced legislation that he essentially said was non-negotiable. Democrats, looking for a way to stymie the proposal, subsequently left the state in large enough numbers to delay action ... until Republican lawmakers found a way to change the bill's language so that it could be voted on without the required quorum. All the while, protesters got themselves comfortable at the State Capitol -- and many folks far from enthused with Walker's anti-union law made their voices known elsewhere, including in St. Paul.

Now comes another twist, this one almost farcical. A Wisconsin state office, the Legislative Reference Bureau, has posted the new legislation online, the Associated Press reported, "despite a court order blocking its publication while challenges to the law are considered." Scott Fitzgerald, the GOP Senate Majority Leader, said: "It's my opinion it's published, it's on the legislative website, it's law."

Walker and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans may want to diminish the strength of public unions. By engaging in this sort of behavior, however, they may well have the reverse effect. -- West Central Tribune of Willmar