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In Wisconsin, the promised recall battle following the state legislature’s insane decision to pass a hugely unpopular anti-collective bargaining bill has delivered its first victim. The first petition with the required signatures was filed for Republican State Senator Dan Kapanke of La Crosse. He is one of the eight Republican state senators that the Democrats want to oust.
Organizers in Wisconsin say that all of the recall petitions are gathering significant support, ahead of schedule, and multiple petitions with the required signatures will be filed in the coming days and weeks. Election season will come much sooner for Wisconsin voters. The petitions will first have to be verified but summer elections are likely.
The recall supporters collected 21,700 signatures. The Government Accountability Board has 31 days to verify the signatures. The board has asked the court to extend the verification period because of other petitions that will likely be filed. If the Government Accountability Board finds at least 15,588 signatures to be valid then it would lead to the fifth recall of a state official in history of Wisconsin. It would also be the 21ist recall of a state official in United States history.
Republicans are also attempting to target several Democrats in the state for recall, but it is unknown if they will be able to garner the needed signatures. They are being outspent by the Democrats and Democrats also clearly have the public opinion.
Kapanke has not commented since the recall papers had been filed. He previously defended his vote, claiming it was a necessary step to balance the budget while minimizing layoffs.
Last month, thousands of state residents protested the anti-union measure that would strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights nestled inside a “budget repair” bill. Senate Democrats fled the state in order to prevent the measure from being passed. After three weeks of epic protests in the Midwestern state, the GOP Senate chose to separate the collective bargaining measure from the rest of the bill. Since it no longer contained fiscal matters, the Senate was able to vote on it without the Democrats present. Democrats protested that it violated Wisconsin’s open meeting law, which generally requires 24 hours’ notice, and a minimum of two hours, for meetings. The law is currently being challenged in court and is not able to be implemented.