Republican Senators say bill not negotiable - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Republican Senators say bill not negotiable

MADISON (WKOW) -- Inside the Capitol, Republican leaders are continuing their call for those "missing" Democratic senators to return to the state.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Republican Senators are standing by and would be ready to convene within hours if the Democrats are willing to show up.

Fitzgerald says he has spoken to Senate Democrat Mark Miller. He says he's willing to talk to Democrats about what it will take to have them return, but he won"t budge on the contents of the bill.

Senator Fitzgerald said to media Saturday, "The bill is not negotiable. The bill is not negotiable. What would negotiable is what it'll take to get them back in the chamber, and that's obviously what we have to figure out first."

With all 14 Democrats missing, the Senate is one legislator short of quorum.

27 news spoke with Senator Jon Erpenbach on the phone, who has been in downtown Chicago since Thursday.

Erpenbach says they're asking for the governor to strike a deal, saying all state and local employees will accept the financial provisions of the bill, but they're asking the Governor to negotiate and let them keep their collective bargaining rights.

Senator Jon Erpenbach said, "I think it would be irresponsible to say no, because he said from the beginning it was about balancing the budget and responsible spending. The public employees agreed with him and agree with him. If he disagrees with this, it's pretty clear his intention was to kill public unions all along."

Senator Erpenbach says his Democratic counterparts are all still outside of Wisconsin. He says they'll stay away until the Governor considers their request.

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