Wisconsin governor releases bond restructuring bill

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2011 4:21 PM
Wisconsin governor releases bond restructuring bill

MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released on Wednesday bond restructuring and other plans to close a current year budget gap that were cut from a controversial law to curb the powers of public sector unions.

Walker had stripped the restructuring from legislation that reduced collective bargaining and other powers for many public sector unions so the Republican-majority state Senate could approve the measure without Democrats, who had fled the state to stall a vote.

The proposal introduced on Wednesday restructures $165 million of debt, pushes payments out to future years and uses additional federal appropriations to meet Medicaid costs.

The governor's original package of proposals which included required annual recertification votes touched off weeks of pro-union protests in Madison that grew to be the biggest demonstrations there since the Vietnam war and included occupation of the Capitol Building.

The prior current year budget bill was approved by the Republican-majority legislature and signed by Walker earlier in March, but a Wisconsin judge has blocked implementation while she hears a legal challenge to the way the law was approved.

The state Administration Department and Justice Department were reviewing on Wednesday the judge's latest order blocking the collective bargaining bill.

(Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Jerry Norton)