The Sergeant at Arms of the Wisconsin state Senate has finished searching the Democratic senators’ offices, WisPolitics reports, and was unable to turn up the Dems after they walked out in order to block a quorum required to bring a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget and its controversial anti-public union provisions.
The office of the state Senate majority leader — who has said that the State Patrol could be called in to round up the Dems — have said that police have not yet been sent outside the building. It has also been reported that the 14 Dem legislators have left the state entirely, so that the State Patrol would be unable to force them back to the chamber
Under Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s plan, as TPM has posted, most state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn’t rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index. Walker and state Republican leaders have said the plan to limit the collective bargaining rights of state employees is necessary to deal with the state’s budget shortfall.
According to the Associated Press: “The proposal would effectively remove unions’ right to negotiate in any meaningful way. Local law enforcement and fire employees, as well as state troopers and inspectors would be exempt.”
In the past week, the state Capitol has been deluged with protests, and some schools have closed as a result of teachers calling in sick en masse.