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  • Leaving Was the Right Decision (WI 'Fleeing Fourteen' Senators)

    06/29/2011 5:54:45 AM PDT · by Diana in Wisconsin · 15 replies
    Wisconsin Radio Network ^ | June 29, 2011 | Andrew Beckett
    Democrats in the state Senate maintain they did the right thing when they left Wisconsin earlier this year to block the Governor’s collective bargaining changes. The 14 Senators stayed in Illinois for nearly three weeks to prevent a vote on the bill, although Republicans found a way to pass it without them. Even though Wisconsin Act 10 takes effect today, state Senator Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) says there are no regrets about their decision to leave. He says the action gave the public time to understand more about what the bill was proposing and allowed citizens to make their voices heard....
  • Despite 'no regrets,' Cullen says practice of leaving the state could destroy Senate

    03/21/2011 8:21:46 AM PDT · by bigbob · 31 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3/21/2011 | WisPolitics
    State Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville (left), says he proposed a constitutional amendment partly to prevent others from stalling legislation as Senate Dems did last month and partly as an olive branch to Republicans upset over the tactic. The amendment would remove a 20-member quorum requirement for fiscal bills. Cullen, along with the 13 other Senate Dems, fled to Illinois last month to prevent a vote on a budget repair bill that stripped nearly all collective bargaining rights for most public employees. Cullen, a former Senate majority leader, said he fears they have now set a precedent whereby the practice could...
  • GOP's defense: Senate rule authored in 1983 by two of 'Wisconsin 14' (Schadenfreude Alert!)

    03/19/2011 10:21:46 AM PDT · by bigbob · 17 replies · 2+ views
    Wisconsin State Journal ^ | 3-18-11 | DEE J. JALL
    Senate Rule 93 says that when the Legislature is in special session, "A notice of a committee meeting is not required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board." That's the rule Republican leaders are citing in their contention that one of the votes leading up to passage of Gov. Scott Walker's controversial anti-union bill was legal. One ironic footnote: The rule was written in 1983 by two of the Democratic senators who left Wisconsin last month to avoid voting on the bill, Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, and Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison. The two were among 14 senators who fled...
  • WI: Senate Republicans to drop contempt finding against Democrats

    03/15/2011 2:27:07 PM PDT · by Jean S · 62 replies
    Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ^ | 3/15/11 | son Stein and Patrick Marley
    Madison — The top GOP leader in the state Senate backtracked Tuesday, saying Republicans would lift fines and a contempt finding against Democrats - a move that will allow Democrats to vote in committee and may begin to heal wounds between the two parties.On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said Democrats couldn't vote on bills in committee immediately even though they've returned from Illinois after a boycott of the Senate. That's because GOP lawmakers voted to hold Democrats in contempt of the Senate for the move, which for three weeks blocked a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's union...
  • GOPAC website seeks recall of Dem senators (GREAT NEWS!)

    03/14/2011 6:09:39 PM PDT · by bigbob · 18 replies · 1+ views
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-14-11 | Andy Szal
    Washington-based Republican committee GOPAC today unveiled a new website advocating the recall of Wisconsin's eight Democratic senators eligible for recall this year. The site,, asks supporters to "join with GOPAC to defeat 'the Escaping Eight' in special elections this summer. With your help, we can prevent them from ever bringing the legislative session to a halt to avoid taking action on getting the budget under control." In addition, GOPAC's Wisconsin arm will launch an ad supporting Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, on Wednesday. Hopper, along with seven other eligible GOP senators, also faces a potential recall this year.
  • Dem senators say they'll keep up the fight (WI RATS are back)

    03/12/2011 3:22:35 PM PST · by bigbob · 51 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-12-11 | David Wise
    In their first joint appearance in the state since leaving Feb. 17 to stop a vote on the budget repair bill, Wisconsin's Democratic senators said it's time to trade in rally signs for clipboards to force the recall of Republican senators they claim ignored the will of the people. Thirteen of the 14 Dem senators were present for the noon presser at Madison's Monona Terrace convention center. Missing was Sen. Jim Holperin, who had an event in his northeastern Wisconsin district in the morning. Sen. Jon Erpenbach said Holperin was on his way and would be at a 3 p.m....
  • 14 Senate Dems added to tomorrow's protest lineup (The RATS are back in town)

    03/11/2011 12:35:30 PM PST · by bigbob · 21 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-11-11 | Greg Bump
    The 14 Senate Dems who left the state in an attempt to stop a vote on the budget repair bill will be featured at tomorrow's Capitol rally, organizers have announced.
  • (Fleebagger) Miller says time for Dems to come home and take fight to ballot box

    03/09/2011 9:04:13 PM PST · by bigbob · 40 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-9-11 | JR Ross
    One day short of the three-week anniversary of their departure, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller said it's time for Dems to come home and take the fight over collective bargaining rights to the ballot box. Miller, D-Monona, said it was "stunning" that Senate Republicans took less than 30 minutes to vote to end collective bargaining rights for public employees that have existed in Wisconsin for more than 50 years. He called it a disrespect to the people of Wisconsin that will not be forgotten, promising there will be political consequences. "It’s time for us to join the fight back in...
  • Scott Fitzgerald says he's exhausted ways to cajole Dems back

    03/09/2011 11:17:01 AM PST · by bigbob · 40 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-9-11 | JR Ross
    With the first fine of $100 for missing a floor period kicking in today, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he's nearing the end of tools he can use to cajole Dems back to the Capitol. "I've just about exhausted everything available to me to try and compel them to come back," Fitzgerald said after the Senate adjourned. The Senate will be back tomorrow for the final day of the scheduled floor period for March, meaning Dems face at least $200 in fines each if they aren't on the floor tomorrow as well. Fitzgerald said the body could come back...
  • Have You Seen the FIB 14? (New Wisconsin T-Shirt out!)

    03/09/2011 11:02:14 AM PST · by bigbob · 11 replies
    One Click Apparel ^ | 3-8-11 | 1 click
    No connection with the seller, just thought it was worth sharing. The more we make these Fleebaggers look ridiculous the better. (If you don't know the meaning of "FIB", as a Wisconsinite to explain it to you)
  • (Wis. Senate leader) Fitzgerald said Senate GOP remains unified

    03/08/2011 2:01:09 PM PST · by bigbob · 12 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-8-11 | JR Ross
    Fitzgerald said Senate GOP remains unified Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said this afternoon Senate Republicans remain unified behind the guv's budget repair bill. Sen. Rob Cowles was quoted in this morning's Green Bay Press-Gazette that Republicans should be willing to meet Dems halfway on the impasse and stressed the economic concessions for public employees are the real key of the budget repair bill. Republicans then met in a more than two-hour caucus that pushed back the start of today's 11 a.m. floor session to after 1:30 p.m. But Fitzgerald said Republicans remain rock solid and there were no signs of...
  • (Wis. Fleebagger) Jauch fires back

    03/07/2011 12:41:48 PM PST · by bigbob · 15 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-7-11 | JR Ross
    Dem Sen. Bob Jauch fired back at the guv this afternoon, accusing him of distorting the truth in "some vain attempt to suggest he’s being serious" about reaching a deal. An agitated Jauch vehemently disputed the guv's suggestion this afternoon that he and fellow Dem Sen. Tim Cullen have reached tentative deals with Republicans to break the impasse only to have Minority Leader Mark Miller undercut them. He disputed the description of the talks they've had with Republicans as negotiations and said a meeting with Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald involved nothing more than discussing things like the landscape of both...
  • Dems downplay Miller comments

    03/06/2011 8:13:12 PM PST · by bigbob · 23 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-6-11 | JR Ross
    Senate Dems late tonight sought to downplay Minority Leader Mark Miller’s comments that they plan to return to the Capitol soon for a vote on the budget repair bill to put their GOP colleagues on record in the face of polls that show the legislation is not sitting well with the public. Miller told the Wall Street Journal that moving forward with a vote on the budget repair will would give Dems more leverage in seeking changes to the 2011-13 budget the guv released earlier this week. But a Miller spokesman and two of his Dem colleagues insisted nothing has...
  • Erpenbach suggests moving collective bargaining changes from the budget repair bill to the budget

    03/05/2011 7:01:08 PM PST · by bigbob · 14 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-5-11 | JR Ross
    Sen. Jon Erpenbach says all 14 missing Senate Dems would return to the Capitol if Republicans pulled collective bargaining changes from the budget repair bill and instead put them in the guv's budget proposal. It's the latest suggestion for trying to break a partisan impasse that has gripped the Capitol since Dems fled to Illinois Feb. 17. Meanwhile, discussions continued between the guv's office and Senate Dems as talk swirled around whether a deal could be reached. Among the items said to be at play: the proposed inflationary cap on wage increases and the required annual recertification votes for public...
  • South of the border: Dem senators share snippets of life on the lam

    03/03/2011 12:10:24 PM PST · by bigbob · 18 replies
    The Capitol Times ^ | 3-2-11 | JESSICA VANEGEREN and SHAWN DOHERTY
    Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, steps off the elevator to his latest hideout, a downtown Chicago hotel room he found for eighty bucks a night on He steps into the hotel’s lime-green and gold lobby and makes a beeline for the free coffee and Kleenex. “I gotta blow my nose,” he says, and blows. Life on the run hasn’t been exactly glamorous for Erpenbach and the 13 other Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin Feb. 17 to prevent a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill. Their strategy relies on Senate rules that require a quorum of 20 legislators...
  • Paycheck mailed to Erpenbach (Rat finds a way around the trap)

    03/03/2011 11:52:54 AM PST · by bigbob · 19 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-3-11 | Greg Bump
    Paycheck mailed to Erpenbach With the paychecks for Senate Democrats cut off until they return from their boycott, Sen. Jon Erpenbach got creative. Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, appointed two of his staff members his power of attorney, which would allow them to collect his pay. On Feb. 22, GOP leaders voted to require members pick up their paychecks in person on the Senate floor. Erpenbach, who like his 13 Dem colleagues fled the state to stall a vote on the budget repair bill, is in Chicago. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald put the check in the mail instead of turning it over...
  • Senate passes resolution finding Dems in contempt, authorizes they be taken into custody

    03/03/2011 10:57:49 AM PST · by bigbob · 27 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-3-11 | Greg Bump
    A resolution passed by all 19 Republicans authorizes that Senate Dems be taken into custody for being in contempt of the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the GOP majority has been "overly reasonable" with the missing 14 Dems to this point, but "they have pushed us to the edge of a constitutional crisis." The resolution passed without any remarks from the other 18 Republicans. Fitzgerald said the Democrats have insulted their constituents and "the very fabric of our representative democracy" with their actions. "This is not something we have taken lightly, and it is not something any member...
  • Wisconsin runaway senators make Grayslake pit stop

    03/02/2011 8:19:22 AM PST · by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace · 46 replies
    Daily Herald (Chicago suburbs) ^ | Wed. Mar. 02, 2011 | Bob Susnjara
    Five runaway Democratic Wisconsin state senators made a pit stop Tuesday at a Grayslake hotel where they watched a budget address by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Wisconsin's Democratic nomadic senators who surfaced at Grayslake's Comfort Suites are among 14 legislators who bolted for Illinois on Feb. 17 in protest of Walker's proposal that has infuriated public employees. After the senators left, a vote has been unable to occur on Walker's plan to have public workers contribute more to their pensions and health insurance, while losing the ability to collectively bargain benefits and work conditions. “We must work together to bring...
  • Senate to take up (unanimously passes!) resolution calling for $100 penalty for missing lawmakers

    03/02/2011 10:23:14 AM PST · by bigbob · 50 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-2-11 | Andy Szal
    Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau Under this resolution, a senator who is absent without leave from two or more session days is subject to a penalty equal to $100 for each day that the senator is absent without leave. In addition, the senator must reimburse the senate for the actual costs incurred to compel his or her attendance. The penalties and costs are imposed by adopting a privileged resolution that identifies the senator who has been absent without leave. A senator who is subject to the penalties and costs imposed by the resolution may only be heard on the...
  • Man files complaint seeking to compel (Wis. Senator) Holperin to show up at Capitol

    03/02/2011 9:13:17 AM PST · by bigbob · 6 replies
    Wispolitics dot com ^ | 3-2-11 | JR Ross
    A Lakewood man has asked a judge to compel state Sen. Jim Holperin to show up at the Capitol for a vote on the guv’s budget repair bill. The complaint claims Holperin, D-Conover, is neglecting his constitutional duties, which Kevin Barthel says includes attendance at session days. Because the Senate can't vote on the repair bill with Dems boycotting the Capitol, the state could miss refinancing some of its debt to save millions. Without action, layoff notices will be sent to government employees, including residents of Holperin’s district, the suit argues, causing harm to his constituents. Dems have offered alternatives...