Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=181287
Story Retrieval Date: 3/11/2014 3:20:29 AM CST
For two weeks, Wisconsin's 14 Democratic state senators have been living at undisclosed locations around Chicago in an attempt to prevent a "budget repair" bill from going to vote and stripping public unions of their collective bargaining rights.
Gov. Scott Walker, just two months since taking office, has angered public workers across the state with the legislation he says is critical in the effort to plug a $137 million hole in the state's annual budget. Walker has said he could begin laying off state workers as soon as Tuesday, with a legal deadline to finish processing new state debt financing by March 16.
State Democrats hope by staying outside the state, and thus preventing the bill from seeing a vote in the Senate, they will force the governor to compromise. The unions have agreed on the proposed cuts to medical and retirement benefits, but Walker says he won't accept a deal without the removal of collective bargaining rights.
Walker is to deliver his budget address Tuesday. Indiana senators are facing a similar situation and are staying in Urbana.