Sixteen Wisconsin state senators - 14 of them Democrats - did not appear at the capitol on Thursday for a scheduled vote on a bill that would strip some public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and increase their contributions for benefits, according to Senate Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald and Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesperson Graeme Zielinski.
The bill cleared the Joint Finance Committee Wednesday night on a 12-4 vote and was intended to move onto the state Senate Thursday for a vote, but the absence of so many senators left that vote schedule in question.
It is not clear where the absent lawmakers are.
One of the missing legislators, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, declined to say whether the missing group left the state, but said "we are located away from the state capitol in a secure place."
Explaining why he was staying away, Miller said: "It's the governor's job to be a leader of a state and to engage the interested parties in any kind of dramatic legislation. He failed to do that. He failed to ever contact any of the interested parties to work with our party. He's ramming this through in such a short time. It's the governor who failed to do his job."
"This was being fast-tracked. And we said, 'This is too fast.' Citizens won't stand for it. We're going to make sure that this bill has an opportunity for people to understand what's in it," Miller said.FULL STORY