By M.D. Kittle — At least liberals are consistent. When their backs are against the political wall, they do what comes natural: run away.
Texas is experiencing what Wisconsin did a decade ago, when Democrat senators fled the Badger State in a lame and cowardly attempt to stall a vote on then-Gov. Scott Walker’s bold public sector collective-bargaining reforms known as Act 10.
In Texas, Democratic state lawmakers walked out to, once more, prevent a quorum for a vote to pass a Republican-led election-reform measure.
Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to suspend lawmaker pay until the absconders get back to work. Call it defunding the Legislature.
“No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” Abbott threatened on Twitter. “Stay tuned.”
Abbott said he will sign the bill, but House Dems curtailed the process after walking out Sunday night and preventing a quorum.
“Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas,” the Republican governor said as he prepared calling a special session to take up the voter integrity measures.
Liberals characterize the bills, as they do with most voter integrity proposals, as attacks on “poor and minority voters.”
If it sounds like leftist deja vu, it is.
In February 2011, Wisconsin Senate Democrats ignored orders to vote on Walker’s Act 10 legislation and fled the state.
“The plan is to try and slow this down, because it’s an extreme piece of legislation that’s tearing this state apart,” Sen. Jon Erpenbach, a Madison-area Democrat, told AP at the time in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location.
It turns out they were sojourning in Illinois, avoiding their constitutional duties for more than two weeks. Senate leadership eventually ordered the arrest of the 14 lawmakers if they did not return. They could only collect their pay checks in person, and they faced $100 in penalties for each day they were absent without leave.
The Democrats failed. Senate Republicans removed fiscal items from the act and passed the collective-bargaining changes without the need for a quorum — or Democrats. Hailed as heroes by Big Labor bosses and protesting teachers, the Dems nonetheless lost everything in their little hostage situation. In the stalemate, Walker and Republicans had agreed to a compromise that would have allowed public unions to retain some critical power. The Dem senators refused.
A decade later, the winners remain Wisconsin taxpayers. As the MacIver Institute has reported, Act 10 has saved taxpayers north of $13 billion.