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Occupy Wisconsin

2011 News of the Year | Governor's attempt to close budget deficit sparks protests in Madison

Issue: "2011 News of the Year," Dec. 31, 2011

The unveiling of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan in February was the shot heard around the nation. Tasked with closing a $137 million Wisconsin state budget deficit, Walker called for pension and healthcare contribution increases, collective bargaining power restrictions, and an end to mandatory union dues-austerity measures that inflamed public employee unions. Thousands of demonstrators staked protest positions inside and outside the Capitol in Madison while all 14 Democratic state senators fled the state to prevent a vote on the measure. The standoff ended in March when state Senate Republicans passed the bill after amending it so they could vote without a super-majority quorum. The law now faces several pending lawsuits-and Walker became the target of a recall campaign designed to force a new election.

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