MADISON -- It's been one year since Governor Scott Walker introduced a controversial budget repair bill that would snowball into a year of divisive politics in Wisconsin.
The budget repair bill, proposed on February 11, 2011, included curbing collective bargaining for most public workers. On Saturday, a few hundred Walker opponents rallied on the Capitol steps in frigid temperatures.
It was a smaller gathering than the tens of thousands who protested in Madison last February and would occupy the Capitol building for weeks. "It's hard to replicate, but we're still going. We're not stopping," Lin Holmstrom, a Walker opponent said.
It was a year that included Democrats leaving the state, widespread protesting and statewide recall efforts.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca addressed the crowd in Madison, saying he's seen things in Wisconsin in the last year he never could have imagined. Speaking with FOX6, Barca spoke of cuts to education, local government and state-funded healthcare. "People are not gonna forget and they are gonna keep pushing forward, because we've seen Wisconsin values trampled on," Barca said.
However, Republicans say they've seen progress in the last year. Rick Baas is with the Milwaukee County Republican Party, and says local membership is up in response to the Governor's actions. Baas listed what he says have been positive changes. "One, we're still not a banana republic. They still haven't overturned an election. Two, our property taxes have been stabilized. Three, businesses believe they can come to Wisconsin and get a fair shake," Baas said.
Saturday's rally was the kick-off of a week of planned protests in Madison. Sunday, picketers will be outside the Governor's mansion, a repeat of their actions one year prior.