AWOL Wisconsin Lawmakers Found ... in Illinois

Democrats demanding changes to anti-union bill
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2011 6:10 PM CST
Protesters pack the rotunda at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
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(Newser) – Wisconsin's political theater is now a two-state show: Democrats who fled the capital today to stall the governor's anti-union bill are holed up in a Best Western in Rockford, Illinois, reports WTMJ of Milwaukee. It's not clear whether all 14 senators are there or when they'll return. Republicans need at least one to come back to Madison so they can call a vote on the legislation, which they've got the votes to pass.

In the war of words:

  • Democrat Mark Miller: "This is a watershed moment unlike any that we have experienced in our political lifetimes. The people have shown that the government has gone too far. We are prepared to do what is necessary to make sure that this bill gets the consideration it needs."
  • GOP Governor Scott Walker: “Their actions by leaving the state and hiding from voting are disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of public employees who showed up to work today and the millions of taxpayers they represent.”
  • White House: Press chief Jay Carney reiterated that President Obama sees the bill as an "assault on unions," adding, “The best way to deal with this is for people to address these problems by sitting down at the table to collaborate and work out a solution.”
  • Paul Ryan: The GOP congressman said the bill is fair and necessary, and he criticized the protests. "It's like Cairo has come to Wisconsin." (Click for more on Ryan.)
Click for more on the overall dispute.

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