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Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 02/18/2011

Wisconsin Democrats boycott vote; state troopers sent after absent senator

By Melissa Bell
Protesters at the Wisconsin Senate. (Darren Hauck/Reuters)

As hundreds flocked to the Wisconsin Capitol for the fifth day in a row, a few people were noticeably absent: the state's Democratic senators. For two days some of the Democrat state senators have not shown up for work and state troopers have been sent to find them.

The senators's absence is meant to delay a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to cut the pay and benefits of public employees and strip unions' ability to bargain with the government.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said he asked Walker to send two state troopers to Democratic leader Mark Miller's home. However, it wasn't certain that Miller was home.

State Sen. Robert Jauch, speaking via cellphone Friday to Washington Post reporter Peter Wallsten, declined to say where he and his fellow Democrats were hiding out. "We're in the Land of Lincoln," he said. Jauch said the group "stopped by" the Best Western in Rockford, Ill., on Thursday but spent the night at a different hotel. A woman at the hotel's front desk said Friday that the group had not been there since Thursday.

With Democrats saying they won't return before Saturday, it was unclear when the Senate would be able to begin debating Gov. Scott Walker's measure meant to ease the state's budget woes.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) spoke to TV station WKOW in Madison on Thursday and said that he and other Democrats were in Illinois and that they would not return to Wisconsin until Walker met with union leaders.

"He's going to get his money. We all know that," Erpenbach told CNN. "This issue is all about the governor's attempt to strip collective bargaining rights away from the unions and essentially bust them."

The Wisconsin Constitution prohibits police from arresting state lawmakers while the Legislature is in session, except in cases of felonies, breaches of the peace or treason. Fitzgerald said he's not looking to have Miller arrested, but he wants to send a signal about how serious things are becoming in the Capitol, the Associated Press reports.

This is not the first time a legislative minority has fled across state lines. In 2003, Democratic legislators left Texas to deny a quorum on a vote to redraw the state's congressional districts.

By Melissa Bell  | February 18, 2011; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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These people are a bad example for our kids.
I don't want these type of teachers teaching my kids.
Most Americans are Not Union, and Don't sympathize with the teachers in this case.
Many if not most of the protesters were Paid by the Unions, bussed-in by the Unions.

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker, please come to New York next !!!

Posted by: kahunany | February 18, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

What part of Servant as in "Public Servants" do these overpaid greedy union thug teachers who have failed our children not understand?
Teachers are servants, they are not to be served by the tax payers. Throw the lazy bums out...all of them and bring on the home schools. America would be better off with zero professional teachers. Abolish all public funded schools now!

Posted by: henrirt1 | February 18, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Before unions, people in this country were free to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, without breaks, sick days or vacations in exchange for $0.10 a day.
If they were hurt on the job, they were free to seek a new career as panhandler­s and beggars. When they retired, they were free to be a burden on their families. Children as young as four and five were free to work along side their parents at the factory. Before unions people were free to suffer under oppressive and dangerous working conditions to the advantage of corporatio­ns."
Get a grip people. As far as the moron who states "get rid of teachers?" Who taught you to read and write? Maybe a teacher?

Posted by: rphtechgail | February 18, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The Rules to Hide and Go Seek

Hiders can make a dash for Home Base, which is usually a landmark where whoever is it counts off. Touching the base area makes a hider safe, and the aim of the game is to touch base without being tagged. It continues to search for hiders and if he/she finds none then he is it again in the next game. If however, he finds and tags someone before they are able to touch base, he calls out in a loud and repeated fashion “All ye all ye outs in free”, “all ye, all ye, in come free”, or where the call has been changed and slurred “Olly Olly Oxen free!” which means a new it has been tagged and all the other hiders are safe to return to base.

Hey WI Democrat Senators – we found one of you OLLY OLLY OXEN FREE!

Posted by: 912anita | February 18, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse has a great survey on how you feel about this situation in Wisconsin. It's a quick 10 question anonymous survey to and express your opinion: http://blo­g.surveyto­­1/02/18/up­rising-in-­wisconsin/.

They are making the results accessible to you as well as all lawmakers and writers nationwide on their site.

This data collection is very important to the democratic process and our rights as Americans

Posted by: michiganman44 | February 18, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

And you call those greedy Teachers’s Union honest? They refuse to attend schools, lied about being sick, and are shown in front of cameras standing at the capitol. If our childrends miss school deliberately, the parents get ticketed and are then summed with their child to court. They should be stripped out of their jobs. And students should boycott the schools until every one of those Union Teachers be terminated and replaced by non-union. While they teach our sons and daughters, these liberals expect the private sector citizens to survive with less and make the sacrifice to fix the budget while they unionize their fat coffin with more and more pork-money. Money does not grow on threes… Union is the Cancer of our Nation…

•Yet more proof Democrats only support democracy for so long as it supports their ideals...if it does't, they turn to instant traitors to the democratic process... If they lose the vote, so they run off like children...pathetic..
•If they won't take a 20% pay cut then layoff 20%. Just like private employers do it!

Posted by: jzak100 | February 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I've been around a "few" years and never have I ever heard of an entire party of the House or Senate running off and hiding to avoid a vote.

And then, the State Police is tasked to go out and find them.

This must truly be an embarrassment for the Democrat Party in Wisconsin. What sniveling little cowards they are.

Do they think if they stay in Illinois for a few days to a week, the vote will go away?

Most of the stranded students have more integrity than the men and women elected to represent their districts.

Posted by: asmith1 | February 18, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I have been around a couple of years as well and have never heard of thousand turning out for their unions. Usually only a building rep turns up.

The bill is unfair and at least needs to be slowed down.

Posted by: georgia198305 | February 18, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Sure, blame the teachers. Pay attention to the whole story. Without Unions, the teachers would still be making peanuts, would be fired without cause and have their rights trambled on by a vengeful Governor.

Posted by: mfcheff | February 18, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

ohioan - so, you want your children to grow up to be docile sheep?

Henri11 - "public servants" do not work in servitude!

Posted by: iowegian | February 18, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Is it true that Obama is organizing these "protest"?

Posted by: um1967 | February 18, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Is it true that Obama is organizing these "protest"?

Posted by: um1967 | February 18, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Why are police, firemen and state troopers exempt from the budget cuts and union restrictions? Everyone knows that police, fire fighters and state troopers are the biggest loafers of all. They're fully vested after 20 years of service, and many of them bail out early on "disability," so that they can make money on other jobs and double dip. if Gov Walker is serious, he'll nail the police, state troopers and fire fighters with the same bill.

Oh, wait. The police, fire fighter and state trooper's unions endorsed Walker in his last campaign. Never mind.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 18, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

That's hogwash, Ohioan. I went to the rallies every day, they are people from Madison, teachers, State workers, parents, students, University educators along with Police and firefighters, who aren't even affected by this but are showing their support.

Are 'they' bussing people in? Yes, they are bussing in union people like teachers, State Workers, parents, students, University educators from Milwaukee, Stevens Point, LaCrosse, Green Bay, etc...because you don't have to be from Madison to be affected by this--they're all over the State.

And Obama has NOTHING to do with this, NOTHING! Where'd that come from? Please.

Posted by: 608tlm | February 18, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I wish some Wisconsin teachers would post. They are very poorly paid; even the best teachers rarely get pay raises. It is really a disgrace. How does the Governor expect Wisconsin children to be educated when he refuses to pay teachers a decent salary?

No, I'm not in Wisconsin and I'm not a teacher, but I totally support their rights.

Posted by: Whazzis | February 18, 2011 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Whazzis wrote:
Wisconsin teachers are very poorly paid.

Not true. Unless you consider an average of $78,000 per year to be poorly.

Posted by: tulsa_dave | February 18, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Teachers: Wake Up! It is not the Governor but your "neighbors" that elected him that have had enough! The real satire is the teachers benefits are better than the tax payer...the one that is actually footing the bill for the teachers. The "neighbors" are fed up! One of the teacher "protesters" said today that we would all end up working weekends, endless hours, and yada yada....It is 2011. This teacher needs to go back to a basic 5th grade history and government class and see the labor LAWS that are on the books. Unions were needed and great back in the 30's, but today..just a bunch of free loaders. Like all good things, its time is up.

Posted by: Indi1 | February 18, 2011 11:48 PM | Report abuse

78,000...but it was stated today that with their benefits included they actually average $100,000 per year. Yes, under paid for 9 months worth of work.

Posted by: Indi1 | February 18, 2011 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Soo ... when the governor calls out the state troopers ... will they shoot peaceful demonstrators?

Posted by: knjincvc | February 19, 2011 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are proposing to end child labor laws ...
What's next ... repeal the minimum wage?

It's a republican race to the bottom of the wage barrel ... goodbye middle class.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 19, 2011 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to government of the people, for the people and by the people? Get back to work Democrats! You were elected by the people to do your job not run away because you don't like what the govenor is proposing. I have read both sides and it is clear that Gov. Walker is proposing solid cuts to get a handly on the over 3Billion dollar debt! The teachers that are protesting appear greedy! Many people lost their jobs due to economy and they are whining about an 8% cut?! Give me a break! I saw talented people get laid off from work unable to support their families - stop being ungrateful and go do your job! This is a ridiculous situation

Posted by: Citizen37 | February 19, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

To Tulsa-Dave - the avg teacher salary in Wisconsin is about $52,000 not $78,000. See

Don't know where you got your number from! Walker asked for and got over $200 million in tax cuts without offsetting them. This created the budget deficit of $137 million which he knew he would use as the justification to breaking the Teachers Union - but not the unions that supported him (police, fire dept, etc.) Pretty bad.

Posted by: knittingnutvi | February 19, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

These lousy libdemwits should be kicked out of office enough said. It is high time labor unions go by the wayside. They have caused nothing but harm over the past 40 years..want to argue the point then look at Flint MI. Look at the steel industry..look at jimmy hoffa. Unions should leave a bad taste in everybody's mouth.

Posted by: andersmh123 | February 19, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

What has happen to the people of this country?It used to be you work hard, did the right thing, spend your money wisely and get ahead in life.Now it seems people only think of them selves especially those involved in government work,its so much easier to take money than to make it.These people need to take more responsibily for their own lives,and quit riding on the backs of tax payers and their children who will also be burdened with this debt! these people disgust me.WAKE UP AMERICA!

Posted by: bgrd0713 | February 19, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

People are calling state workers evil and the cause of all the states problems. They are people doing a job just like everyone else. Theres good and bad in the state workforce just like in every other job in the state. The salaries and benefits paid to all state workers doesnt even make a dent in the state budget compared to programs like welfare. If your private sector boss came in one day and said he was going to cut your pay and benefits ( if you even get any) would you quietly sit back and take it? No and thats what the union members are doing. The union agreed to the cuts and the governor is still wanting to take away the unions collective bargining rights. Does that sound like his only concern is the budget? As for the people saying union members are lazy and dont like to work how many people in low paying private sector jobs seem happy at work all the time and seem productive?

Posted by: ski6167 | February 19, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

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