Five years ago today, Republican Gov. Scott Walker introduced legislation that would effectively end collective bargaining for public employees and unmoor Wisconsin from its progressive roots.
In his own words, it was the day he "dropped the bomb."
The bill that later became Act 10 launched the largest protests ever in Madison, including a temporary occupation of the Capitol; legislative chaos highlighted by Democratic senators fleeing to Illinois to forestall a floor vote; and Walker's historic recall victory.
The days, weeks and months after Walker's Feb. 11, 2011, announcement were among the most dramatic in Wisconsin's history.
Years later, Act 10 continues to influence the state's political, economic and social landscape. And it will continue to reverberate years into the future.
Today, the Wisconsin State Journal explores five impacts of Act 10 on the five-year anniversary of its introduction.
Wisconsin's political fault lines existed long before Act 10, but the law that hobbled public sector unions and launched Gov. Scott Walker as a national conservative star may be most remembered years from now for bringing those fissures into high relief.
Public school teachers were the face of the opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 -- and they could end up absorbing some of the longest lasting changes resulting from the controversial law.
Wisconsin's economic growth has continued to lag its neighbors and the nation in the five years since the passage of Act 10. But property taxes have flat-lined and unemployment is at its lowest level in 15 years.
Wisconsin's cities, towns and counties have reaped savings in the five years since Act 10 became law. But a leading public-worker union official says it also is causing a slow erosion in the quality of the state's municipal workforce -- and the services they provide.
New Republican Gov. Scott Walker was barely a month into his first term when he unleashed a political firestorm in Wisconsin in February 2011.
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