UPDATE: Sen. Miller proposes meeting - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Sen. Miller proposes meeting


By Lysée Mitri - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic Senator Mark Miller renewed efforts to negotiate with Governor Scott Walker on the budget repair bill on Monday.

Miller sent a letter to the governor and Senator Scott Fitzgerald asking to meet in person near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

The governor wasted no time in calling the proposal "ridiculous."

The senators have been in Illinois for more than two weeks now, hoping to prevent Governor Walker from taking away collective bargaining rights from most state workers.

They say they have had conversations with people from Walker's office and some Republicans over the last five days, but they still haven't reached an agreement.

"Miller is misleading the public like he misled us and members of his caucus," Gov. Walker said.

Walker singled out Sen. Bob Jauch and Sen. Tim Cullen, saying they have been trying to come back to Wisconsin but Sen. Miller continues to block the effort.

Sen. Jauch said he and Sen. Cullen feel it is their obligation to provide solutions but that no one was trying to "cut a deal" simply to return to Wisconsin.

"Gov. Walker seems to lead by divide and conquer rather than listen and cooperate," Jauch said. "He isn't looking for common ground. He is creating a battle ground."

In his letter, Sen. Miller says Wisconsin is counting on the senators to work together to resolve differences now more than ever..

The governor said Miller's letter is ridiculous because Republicans have already begun negotiating.

"I personally picked up the phone myself," he said.

Walker cited Sen. Fitzgerald's trip to Kenosha and said his staff traveled to south Beloit just yesterday.

Fitzgerald called the process frustrating.

"Republicans are willing to sit down and iron things out," he said. "But this is beyond the budget repair bill. We're not flexible on that piece."

They weren't clear on what they were going to be flexible on.

Sen. Chris Larson says he hopes they can reach a resolution this week.

"I think this week is going to be crucial for Senate Republicans," he said. "They have to decide if they will stand with Walker as his popularity plummets and his credibility declines or stand with people coming out to defend worker's rights."

The Democratic senators suggested Walker betrayed their trust by trying to "negotiate in public" at the news conference on Monday.

Gov. Walker seemed to have a similar opinion about Sen. Miller's letter, saying it was just for publicity.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic state Senator Mark Miller says, he and the 13 other Democratic senators who have been out of state in order to stall Gov. Walker's budget repair bill, are all "ready, willing and able to meet with [Walker] to move Wisconsin forward."

Sen. Miller sent this response to reports that Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans refuse to negotiate with him.

"The overwhelming majority of Wisconsin residents want Democrats and Republicans to work together to reach a compromise on the Governor's proposed mini-budget," Miller said. "If the Governor doesn't wish to meet with me, I invite him to talk to any member of the Senate Democratic Caucus."

Early Monday morning, State Senator Mark Miller released a copy of a letter he says he sent to Governor Scott Walker and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

In the letter, Miller, a Democrat from Monona, asks to meet the two in person at the Wisconsin-Illinois border to talk about resolving the stalemate over Governor Walker's budget repair bill.

Democrats and Republicans are at odds over provisions in the bill that would strip public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining rights.

Miller says the 14 Democratic Senators who left the state to stall a vote on the bill are willing to work toward what he calls a "reasonable compromise".

Click here to read the letter from Sen. Miller to Sen. Fitzgerald and Gov. Walker.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Gov. Walker says some of the Democratic senators are willing to come back but says Sen. Miller has been standing in the way.

Gov. Walker says members of his administration met with Senate Democrats in South Beloit Sunday to try to come to an agreement.

Sen. majority leader Fitzgerald sent Sen. minority leader Sen. Miller a response to his request to meet Monday, saying "while we wait for you and your colleagues to finally show up, Senate Republicans continue to stand ready to do the job we were elected to do, here in Wisconsin."

Fitzgerald says, "As you know, your opportunity to compromise and amend the bill was on the floor of the state Senate. As you know, you forfeited that right and opportunity when you decided to flee the state instead of doing your job."

Click here to read the letter from Sen. Fitzgerald to Sen. Miller.

27 News' Lysee Mitri will have updates from the news conference online and on the go.

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