Wisconsin GOP Could Re-Pass Union-Busting Law -- But Recall Elections Are Causing Delays
As Jed already noted, a county judge has issued a permanent injunction against the Wisconsin law stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights. The state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the matter on Monday, June 6.
Still, as long as they would give 24 hours notice, Wisconsin Republicans could simply pass the bill through the state legislature again. They have plenty of time to do so before the July 12 recall elections.
However, don't count on Wisconsin Republicans taking this path unless they are absolutely forced to do so by the state Supreme Court. This is because they would like to avoid casting another vote that would anger the most important swing voters in Wisconsin—union households who supported them in 2010. From PPP in late February:
We'll have our full poll on the Wisconsin conflict out tomorrow but here's the most interesting finding: if voters in the state could do it over today they'd support defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Scott Walker by a a 52-45 margin.
The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all- they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they'd go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.
In the most recent PPP Wisconsin poll, Barrett still leads Walker by that same 7-point margin.
Since union households account for almost the entire swing in Wisconsin public opinion, re-passing a union-busting bill right before the election elections would be harmful to Republican chances. That's the real reason why Wisconsin Republicans are waiting on the courts to enact the law for them.
Now, if the state Supreme Court upholds today's ruling, or if the bill remains in legal limbo as July 12 gets too close for comfort, expect Wisconsin Republicans to bite down hard and re-pass the law anyway. They have demonstrated a willingness to enact their agenda no matter the political costs, even if they do try and take more politically expedient routes to so do at first. Still, if you are wondering why it is late May and Wisconsin Republicans haven't just taken a simple step that would allow them to start busting unions immediately, it's because they are actually scared that formerly pro-Republican union households could kick them out of office on July 12.