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Lawmakers cut public worker bargaining rights

Wisconsin Assembly members hold hands during a prayer by the Rev. Jesse Jackson before a session at the state Capitol in Madison on Thursday. The Assembly passed a bill stripping the collective bargaining rights of most of the state's public workers. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

By 
SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin lawmakers have voted to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from the state’s public workers in one of the strongest blows to the power of unions in years.

The state’s Assembly passed Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s explosive proposal 53-42 Thursday. The state’s Senate approved it the night before after using a procedural move to bypass its AWOL Democrats.

Walker said he’ll sign the legislation as quickly as possible.

The vote brings a swift end to a standoff over union rights that has rocked Wisconsin and the nation. Tens of thousands of protesters have converged on the state’s Capitol for weeks of demonstrations.

The implementation of Walker’s proposal will be a key victory for Republicans who have targeted unions amid efforts to slash government spending.

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