MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - Nobody’s home. That’s what state troopers found out Thursday morning when they were called to the homes of all 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats.
The GOP was hoping to drag at least one of them back to the Capitol, so they can vote on Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill that limits public union bargaining privileges.
Senate Democrats have stayed away from the Capitol for the last week, to delay a vote. Senate GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald said he heard that some senators were going home at night, while meeting some of their colleagues in Chicago during the day. So he ordered a “Call of the House” at 7 a.m. Thursday, which ordered troopers to go find the Democrats.
Waunakee Democrat Jon Erpenbach says his colleagues would stay away until the Republican Walker shows any hint of a compromise. But Walker says the state doesn’t have the money for a compromise. He says unions must lose some of their bargaining power so state and local governments can reduce their labor costs, and help make up for a loss of state aid in the next budget.
The Assembly was getting close to a final vote today, after Republicans announced a deal with Democrats to shorten a debate that was in its 48th straight hour just before noon. But Minority Leader Peter Barca said the Republicans forced their hand, and the Democrats did not agree to a deal to cut off the debate.
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie praised the Assembly for getting close to a vote – and he again urged Senate Democrats to return.