Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Friday a controversial bill that curbs collective bargaining rights for some state workers, capping off nearly a month of heated debate over the measure.

Walker signed the law at 9:30 a.m. Central Time, according to his Twitter account. The state Assembly passed the law Thursday after the state Senate used a procedural maneuver to advance a revised version of the law. The union provisions were separated from fiscal language in order to pass it without Senate Democrats present, who fled to Illinois to boycott the measure.


Walker said the law will help bring down the state's budget deficit by reducing costs, and framed the vote as a victory against some protesters who barged back into the state Capitol after the Senate passed the law late Wednesday.

"Our lawmakers stood up to those sort of thuggery attacks, and we're not going to allow that here in the state of Wisconsin,"  Walker told Fox News on Thursday night. "We could have good, civil debate. The people — the people who work for state and local government have been decent and I respect them throughout this process. But the people coming from other states that bring these sorts of tactics just don't belong here."

Friday's news is a victory for Walker and state Republicans, who had been stymied for weeks by Democrats who had blocked action on the bill by fleeing the state.

The tussle over the law became a national symbol for the debate over federal spending and budget issues as Congress considers both short- and long-term plans to fund the government.

Pro-union demonstrators protested the law in the state capital of Madison for weeks. Democrats around the country deemed the effort a naked attempt to bust unions in the state.

Democrats have vowed to fight back against Republicans for passing the bill. Union groups and state Democrats are helping to organize a recall of eight GOP state senators eligible to be recalled, and one state legislator filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing Republicans of violating a state open-meetings law for passing the law on short notice.