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Illinois Union: Scott Walker Is Too Extreme For Wisconsin

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — In Wisconsin, the process of verifying signatures collected to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker begins Tuesday.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, it all begins with petitions being turned in to a state board in charge of verification, a process that could take up to three months.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports

In Illinois, Anders Lindall of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says he is keeping a close eye on the recall efforts in Wisconsin.

Lindall says Walker’s assault on public unions has angered voters of all stripes.

“Up to a quarter of Republican voters in Wisconsin think that Walker is extreme and gone too far, and should be replaced,” Lindall said. “Right now, it’s clear that the people are making their voices heard, and they’re saying that Scott Walker is too extreme for Wisconsin.”

But Walker himself says he isn’t worried at all, and does not believe that a petition with the required minimum of 540,000 signatures will materialize.

“The overwhelming majority of the people in the state chose not to sign that, and I earned the trust of the majority the last time to serve as governor,” Walker said. “My hope is I’ll earn the trust again.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Walker made headlines last year for ending collective bargaining for state employees in Wisconsin, as an element of his budget.

He pushed through a law that forbids most government workers from collectively bargaining for wage increases beyond the rate of inflation. It also requires public workers to pay more toward their pensions and double their health insurance contribution, a combination equivalent to an 8 percent pay cut for the average worker.

Amid heated protests in Madison, Wis., the state’s 14 Senate Democrats left and hid out in Illinois, thus preventing the quorum required for the state Senate to vote on bills involving spending money.

Republicans fought back by taking all the spending measures out of the legislation, but keeping in the provision to restrict collective bargaining rights for state employees. The bill passed a short time later without the Democrats.

Regardless of whether Walker is recalled, the Democrats will face a significant hurdle in finding a candidate that can defeat him, now that former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold has decided not to run.

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