Wisconsin Lame-Duck Democrats Bust a Jailbird Out to Vote on Union Contracts
[This post has been updated below the fold -- LUR]
Meet Jeff Wood, alleged serial drinker. He’s a Wisconsin “independent” lawmaker who (allegedly) has a drinking problem and, right now, he’s sitting in jail…Sort of.
Being one vote short in their lame-duck session, Wisconsin Democrats were apparently so desperate to shove stalled union contracts down the throats of Wisconsin taxpayers before incoming-Governor Scott Walker can take office that they busted inmate Wood out of jail to vote with them.
Short on votes, Assembly Democrats have turned to one of their jailed colleagues for help. According to reports, disgraced State Representative Jeff Wood, currently sitting in jail due to multiple OWI arrests, has been allowed to leave jail for the day to return to Madison to vote on the union contracts. Walker has said passage of these contracts could cost the state up to $154 million, while he is attempting to close a budget deficit in excess of $3 billion.
So we are left with this: State union contracts being rammed through the Legislature at the last possible moment, by a body that voters threw out of power a month ago, with the deciding vote being cast by a legislator who had to be let out of jail to vote for the agreements.
Wood’s trip down to Madison means the public employee unions are one step closer to getting what they want – locking contracts into place that put the state further into a deficit before Walker can undo them. We’ll see how many drunks sitting in jail get the day off so they can do a $154 million favor for a powerful interest group.
As Wood was the deciding vote in [almost] passing* the lame-duck Democrats’ gift to union bosses, Wisconsin taxpayers should be doubly pleased to know that, not only did Wood [almost] stick them* with the costs of the union contracts, their tax dollars will go to feeding him if he winds up doing hard time.
Talk about a cheesy thing to do!
* UPDATE: The union contracts did not pass afterall. According to WisPolitics.com
Lawmakers failed to approve 17 state employee contracts after Dem Sens. Russ Decker and Jeff Plale joined Republicans in opposing the deals and deadlocked the Senate at 16-16.
Incensed after the first vote, Senate Dems immediately went to caucus and deposed Decker as majority leader, elevating Dave Hansen of Green Bay to take his place for the final two weeks of the session.
This morning, Senate President Fred Risser adjourned the extraordinary session after holding out the possibility last night that Dems could come back to the floor and make another run at the contracts.
Republicans, meanwhile, seethed at the process, accusing Dems of trying to ram through the deals despite being rebuked by the voters at the polls just one month ago.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776