Wisconsin Dems on the Lam: It's Like Being a Refugee

Senators who fled need underwear and other 'provisions'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2011 7:28 AM CST
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker talks to the media at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Monday, Feb. 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
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(Newser) – What is life like for the "Democratic 14," who fled Wisconsin for Illinois in an attempt to block a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget bill? Well, for one thing, they have to do a lot of laundry, since some of them left the state with nothing but the clothes on their backs. “It's just roughing it, like staying in a college dorm all over again," one tells the Chicago Tribune. "It's sort of like being a refugee." More from Wisconsin:

  • While they’ve been out, the Wisconsin Senate Democrats have raised more than $300,000 from nearly 12,000 donors by way of liberal group ActBlue, Politico reports.
  • Walker is still standing his ground, and called for the Democratic senators to return home yesterday even while continuing to refuse any compromise on collective bargaining rights. Meanwhile, protesters—on their eighth day of demonstrations—chanted “Resign! Resign!”

  • Walker will address his constituents tonight during a live 6pm “fireside chat,” reports the AP via WEAU.
  • The protests have actually helped the budget in one unforeseen way: After being bombarded with hundreds of calls per hour, Wisconsin’s toll-free Legislative Hotline has been shut down for the first time in more than 20 years. Since each call to the hotline costs the state 10 cents, sources tell Talking Points Memo that disconnecting it will save a lot of money.
  • Today, Republican senators plan to return to business as usual, voting on non-budget issues that would not require a quorum of 20 members. In an attempt to draw the Democrats back to the state, they may bring a bill to the floor requiring voters to show identification at polling places—a bill opposed by the Democrats.
  • One nonbudgetary issue the Republicans will consider? A resolution commending the Green Bay Packers for their Super Bowl win. Ironically, Talking Points Memo notes that superstar Packer Charles Woodson became the latest member of the team to back the union protesters, joining seven other current and former members who have expressed support.
Click for the latest on the protests.

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