UPDATE: Lawmakers at Rockford hotel - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Lawmakers at Rockford hotel

Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto
Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto
Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto
Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto Photo courtesy of Carl Peronto

MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he's confident Democrats who skipped town to avoid voting on a bill removing union rights will return within a day or two, calling the boycott a "stunt."

Sen. Jon Erpenbach tells 27 News that Democrats left Rockford, Illinois. He would not say their destination.

They were at the Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center in Rockford Thursday.

Our sister station in Rockford, WREX spoke with lawmakers there. WREX reports one lawmaker said, "It's kind of everyone for themselves."

Democratic Sen. Tim Cullen said, "We felt that this was our only way to delay the legislation for at least a couple days to get people to better understand it; people of all walks of life to understand it." 

Democratic Sen. Jim Holperin said, "This is something we've felt needed much more time for the state of Wisconsin to understand, to absorb, debate and discuss. And we felt we just couldn't vote only after three days of having the bill available for discussion."

Meanwhile, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald says the Senate has adjourned and Senate Republicans will return Friday morning.  There's no word when or if the Senate Democrats plan to show up.

The State Assembly cannot take action on the bill until it passes the Senate.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald tells 27 News they need one Democrat to come back to vote on a bill that would take collective bargaining rights away from most public state employees.

Fitzgerald says they've sent law enforcement to bring the Democrats back to the session. They're issuing a "call of house." Sergeant of Arms went door to door to find Democratic senators. 27 News went with Sergeant of Arms to every Democratic senators' office and no one is there.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach says the 14 Democratic lawmakers who are boycotting a vote on a controversial anti-union bill have left the state. Erpenbach says the group wants to force negotiations over the Republican-backed bill. Erpenbach told The Associated Press that he and his colleagues had left Wisconsin, but he would not say where. He said the plan is to slow down the bill because it's "tearing the state apart."

Senate Republicans can't vote on the bill unless at least one Democrat is present.

Republicans control the Assembly, but hundreds of protesters jammed the hallways around the chamber anyway and shouted "Kill the Bill" as lawmakers filed to the floor for a roll call before breaking for party meetings.

Democrats showed up in orange T-shirts that proclaimed they support working families. After the roll call, Democrats on their way out exchanged high-fives with protesters, who cried out "thank you" as they walked by. The protesters unleashed venomous boos and screams at Republicans as they left the chamber.

Meanwhile, police have hand-cuffed a protester at the Capitol after he apparently tried to charge into the state Assembly. A legislative aide says he saw the man rush from the line of protesters and try to charge into the chamber. The man tripped and the police captured him.

The Capitol Square has been blocked off to traffic. 

Stay with http://www.wkow.com and http://m.wkow.com for the latest on this developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


MADISON (WKOW) -- No Democrats are present for the Senate roll call.

Seventeen Senators are present.

The budget repair bill is read on the Senate floor. The Senate then went into "informal session" to locate the missing Senators.

Assembly Democrats arrived wearing orange shirts.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Democrats are refusing to go to the senate floor for the 11 a.m. session on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.

According to our sister station, WISN, Democratic Sen. Tim Cullen says they're under belief that the Senate needs 20 senators present to vote. There's only 19 Republicans.

Cullen says all senate Democrats have left Madison.

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