We're on the far side of the state Senate recalls, so it's probably time to create this thread.
In early February, newly-elected Governor Scott Walker put forward a bill intended to address Wisconsin's looming budgetary issues. It included salary and benefit cuts for public-sector employees, as well as provisions that eliminated the right to collective bargaining for some, and made it significantly harder for others (by declaring the state would no longer withhold union dues, mandating annual re-certification of union representation, declaring that unions could not negotiate for anything other than salary, and capping salary increases at cost-of-living unless expressly approved via referendum). The unions offered concessions of all requested financial components (salary and benefit-wise) in return for preserving the right to collectively bargain. Governor Walker and the Wisconsin GOP refused, and attempted to pass the bill without discussion or debate - even when it was discovered that the bill included odd provisions for no-bid sale of public assets).
Mass public protests erupted, and the passage of the bill was stymied by the departure of every Democratic member of the state Senate, preventing the necessary quorum. Though the Republicans had a comfortable majority in the state Assembly, they resorted to tricks like calling a vote before any Democrats were present to prevent amendments, and ultimately passed the bill on February 25th in an ambush vote (the floor was open to voting for a handful of seconds) while 15 Democrats were still on the docket to speak.
Eventually the Republicans in the state Senate moved the collective bargaining provisions into a separate bill, bypassing the quorum requirement. Less than two hours notice was given for the meeting where passage took place, which means the passage violated Wisconsin Law § 19.84. This violation was the subject of a lawsuit, which ended up at the state Supreme Court (who threw out the relevant statutes and found in favor of the Walker Administration).
In short, things have gotten acrimonious.
Other fun facts
Governor Walker won with 52% of the vote in an extremely low-turnout election. His margin of victory was 125,000 votes. Contrary to some claims made by the administration, Governor Walker also did not run on a platform of eviscerating labor rights (or many of the other things he fought to force through). Wisconsin, historically, has been a labor-friendly state. Public-sector unions first won legal recognition in the US here in Wisconsin (in 1959).
The net change in the state Senate from the recall elections was a Democratic gain of two seats. This puts the Democrats one vote shy of a majority in the Senate, but it's important to bear in mind that of the nine state Senate recalls this summer, Governor Walker carried every single one of those districts in the Fall of 2010. Additionally, the GOP majority now hinges on Senator Dale Schultz. Senator Schultz is a moderate who voted against the collective bargaining bill and may have been tricked into missing his opportunity to amend the bill by Governor Walker.
Wisconsin law mandates that an elected official serve a full year before facing a recall effort, and our entire Assembly was elected this past fall, as was Governor Walker. The earliest that can happen until January, since he was sworn in at the beginning of the year.
There was a previous thread about the actions by Governor Walker and our state GOP here. That one got sent to fat camp. Let's keep this one focused on the possibility of Governor Walker's recall - there are separate ones for the state Supreme Court election, the lawsuit over the status of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, and the recall elections for state Senate which have already occurred.
Also: I'd like to plead for us all to make room for dissenting opinions and reasonable debate.