"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Indiana Democrats Home - Walker Gets His Wrist Slapped

Indiana Democrats Come Home

On March 28, Indiana House Democrats came home from their political exile in Illinois. They're returning because of some concessions from the Republican majority.
Here are two big highlights from compromise, provided to TPM by a Democratic source:

• Labor: Republicans have agreed to scrap the controversial right-to-work law that led the Democrats to shut things down back on Feb. 22. Republicans have also pledged not to pass a law making the state's existing ban on collective bargaining for state workers, created by Daniels executive order, permanent.

Daniels had suggested the legislature not take up the bill in the first place, saying he supported it but that it could "wreck" his goals of making the session about education reform and other top priorities for his administration. So the deal to take labor off the table can be seen as a victory for both the Democrats and Daniels, who's eager to move on to other things, possibly in advance of a run for the White House.

• Education Daniels' signature policy agenda for this legislative session was a proposal to create a state-funded private school voucher system for low- and middle-income families. That plan will be curtailed considerably in the deal with House Republicans.

The compromise calls for strict caps on the number of vouchers the state can give out the program's first two years, denying, as a Democratic source put it, "the largest voucher program in the nation the Republicans originally wanted." Under the new plan, vouchers will be limited to 7,500 students in the first year and 15,000 in the second year.

Other concessions in the deal call for the abandonment of [a] plan to let private companies take over failing public schools.
Judge Warns Walker

On Tuesday, Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi warned the state against further implementation of the law restricting collective bargaining rights of public sector unions.
"Those who act in willful and open defiance of a court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions,” Sumi said. “They also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin."
Governor Walker had the law published on the internet despite the court's initial ruling, and then claimed it was published and therefore had the force of law. The rebuke from the court seems to deny that.
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