On March 9, the Republican state senators of Wisconsin passed a bill taking away collective bargaining rights for nearly all public employees. By stripping the fiscal components of the "budget repair" bill, the Republicans were able to get around the need for a quorum, which would have required at least one of the 14 Democratic senators who had gone to Illinois to return. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, the only Democrat present, argued that the meeting was called so fast it violated the state's open meetings law.
Protesters in and around the Capitol responded immediately to the vote with shouts of "Shame!" They overwhelmed Capitol police, filling all three floors of the Capitol building to capacity that evening. Demonstrators have regained access to the building after Gov. Walker's restrictions on access were found unconstitutional. Protesters tried to physically block the doors to the assembly chambers to prevent a vote in that legislative body March 10. After police removed these protesters from the entrance without arresting them the vote proceeded and passed with all Democrats and four Republicans opposed. Gov. Walker signed the bill into law March 11.
The protests, however, continue. On Saturday, March 12, farmers from different parts of the state joined another crowd of up to 100,000 to protest the bill. They brought with them 50 tractors which they drove around the Capitol. The farmers' focus was a provision in the new law changing eligibility and benefits for BadgerCare, Wisconsin's Medicare and Medicaid program that many farmers rely on for their health insurance. The demonstrators also welcomed home as heros the 14 Democratic state senators now back from Illinois.
Recall petitions are also under way for Gov. Walker and eight Republican senators.