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This is going to get even uglier now.

In a surprise move, Republicans moved ahead to gut public sector union power while Democrats outside state watch. From JSOnline:

The Senate – without Democrats present – abruptly voted Wednesday to eliminate almost all collective bargaining for most public workers.

The bill, which has sparked unprecedented protests and drawn international attention, now heads to the Assembly, which is to take it up at 11 a.m. Thursday. The Assembly, which like the Senate is controlled by Republicans, passed an almost identical version of the bill Feb. 25.

The new version passed the Senate 18-1 Wednesday night, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) casting the no vote. There was no debate.

Legal questions abound, including what some legal analysts believe is a violation of Wisconsin’s open meeting laws, which JSOnline covers in a great piece. But for now the Democrats and unions have been neutered through this action, but given the plummeting unpopularity of Gov. Walker they will rise to fight another day.

There is something anti-democratic in what Republicans did tonight, which I believe will come back to haunt them, with recall efforts undoubtedly spiking over this stunt.

As an aside, can you imagine if Democrats had a majority that they would ever act like this to push their ideology against what the people want?

Republicans were elected in Wisconsin, pushing out great Democrats like Russ Feingold, in the midterms, but there are very few people in Wisconsin who voted for this, which includes Republicans, though you can bet the Tea Party crowd is clapping.