Wisconsin Senate Republicans briefly convened the chamber on Thursday, in order to lay down yet another ultimatum to the 14 Democrats who have fled the state in order to block budget quorum on Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union proposals: Return by 4 p.m. Central Time...or you're in contempt!
The state Senate has previously issued "calls of the house," under which the authorities could compel to the Dems to come to the chamber. This new resolution appears to be a slightly more severe wording of the same effort -- which didn't work the first time around, of course, because the Dems are out of state.
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reports the resolution passed by the state Senate orders the Sergeant at Arms, if the Dems don't show up by 4 p.m., to "take any and all necessary steps, with or without force, and with or without the assistance of law enforcement officers, by warrant or other legal process, as he may deem necessary in order to bring that senator to the Senate chambers so that the Senate may convene with a quorum of no less than 20 senators."
Democratic state Sen. Chris Larson told TPM: "I keep joking that they're gonna be pushing more and more for a power grab. So I find it unfortunate -- they're already off the edge of the cliff, but they're finding new cliffs to jump off of in terms of divisiveness in our state."
From the Journal Sentinel's report:
"We simply cannot have democracy be held hostage because the minority wants to prove a point," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
Fitzgerald said Democrats have created a constitutional crisis.
"This is not about a budget-repair bill or about politics," Fitzgerald said. "This is much bigger than that and the minority party has forced our handâ... They're insulting the very fabric of our representative democracy."