Wisconsin Assembly delays vote on union bill - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin Assembly delays vote on union bill

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MADISON (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday, further delaying action on a bill that would strip nearly all public employees of most collective bargaining rights.

The Assembly took the surprise action early Friday evening after Democrats loudly objected to Republicans attempting to pass it without a chance for amendments to be considered.

Thousands of protesters screamed just outside the doors of the Assembly chamber as lawmakers debated the bill.

Republican Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald says the delay is not a win for Democrats and opponents of the measure. He says he adjourned because he had concerns over lawmakers' safety. He says the bill has the votes to pass and it will happen on Tuesday.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- No Assembly Democrats were present in the chamber when Republicans started voting on minor amendments to the bill that would end most collective bargaining for public state workers.

Moments before they were nearly ready to take the final vote to pass the bill, Democrats rushed into the chamber screaming "No!" Republicans took a vote before 5 Democrats came in.

Assembly Democrats trying to get vote -- taken at 4:55 p.m. before the called 5 p.m. session -- stricken from record.

Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca yelled at Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer to stop voting, calling the Republicans' move an outrage. Kramer then stopped the process.

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State Democrats objected to Governor Walker's budget repair bill, saying the members did not have the opportunity to recognize people at the Capitol wanting to speak. Hundreds of people massed outside the Assembly chamber.

When Democrats left the Assembly, there was a thunderous applause and people in the crowd high-fived Democratic Assembly representatives.

A dozen state patrol officers just arrived to guard the Assembly doors.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he has asked Gov. Scott Walker to send two state troopers to Democratic leader Mark Miller's home in Monona. No one answered the door. A neighbor told 27 News that Miller hasn't been seen.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An independent Wisconsin state representative may play a critical role in whether the Assembly is able to vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees.

Republicans have 57 seats in the Assembly but 58 lawmakers must be present in order for them to take up the bill that all 38 Democrats are united against. Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer of Manitowoc is the Assembly's lone independent and could be that 58th person Republicans need.

Ziegelbauer tells The Associated Press that he wants to meet with Republican leaders to discuss a possible compromise. He says he hopes to meet with leaders later Friday to discuss possible changes to the bill. He wouldn't say what the changes were.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Assembly intends to vote on Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip collective bargaining rights from nearly all state employees.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said Friday they intend to take up the bill sometime later in the day.

The Senate planned to debate it on Thursday, but all 14 Democrats staged a boycott delaying the action for at least a day. Several of them escaped to northern Illinois for several hours.

Democrats were present in the Assembly when it convened briefly.

Thousands of teachers and others have descended on the Capitol, forcing schools to close due to high absences. Dozens of people have spent the night for three straight nights in the Capitol as a sign of protest.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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