WI Democrats Leave State To Stall Budget Vote

By KBJR Manager

WI Democrats Leave State To Stall Budget Vote

February 17, 2011 Updated Feb 17, 2011 at 3:53 PM CDT

Madison, WI (WTMJ) - The State Senate has convened in Wisconsin to discuss, debate and possibly vote on Governor Scott Walker's controversial budget bill, but not all the Senate members are there; all Democrats in the Senate are absent, and are said to have left the state, according to WTMJ in Milwaukee.

Law enforcement officials are looking for at least one Democratic senator to bring in for a quorum required for a fiscal measure.

As observers in the senate chamber were shouting over the microphoned senators, a roll call was happening with no Senate Democrat in the chambers, and the discussion, debate and vote cannot occur because a 3/5ths quorum cannot be reached.

"The senate is now under a call of the house, and we will try to find the members who decided not to show up for work today. We will stand informal pending the resolution of the call of the house," said State Senator Mike Ellis.

A staff member for Senator Lena Taylor (D.-Milwaukee) said that office staffers cannot even leave their office because of the commotion inside the Capitol.

With the Democrats gone, not enough Senators are available for a quorum to vote on the bill.

"We do not have the 3/5th's" said Ellis to cheers in the crowd.

"We will leave the call of the house on until we receive enough members to continue to do business. I don't know how long that will take."

"Once we have enough people to continue to work, if they're still in the building, you will hear this bell and the Senate will be reconvened."

The wait could happen for as long as hours, or even days, until a Democratic senator comes in.

Governor Walker released the following statement regarding the democratic hold out:

Out of respect for the institution of the Legislature and the democratic process, I am calling on Senate Democrats to show up to work today, debate legislation and cast their vote. Their actions by leaving the state and hiding from voting are disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of public employees who showed up to work today and the millions of taxpayers they represent.

Written by By Jay Sorgi
620 WTMJ