Walker's office releases e-mails between staff and Senate Dems - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Walker's office releases e-mails between staff and Senate Dems

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By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- Both sides of the aisle claim the other is wavering but there's still no sign of a resolution as the Senate Democrats remain in Illinois for a third straight week.

Democrats fled the state February 17, to avoid a vote on Governor Walker's budget repair bill that takes away most collective bargaining rights from most public workers.

But after several weeks of stalled talks, signs that the two sides are negotiating turn up in e-mails Tuesday. The Governor's office released a chain of e-mails between Walker's staff and some Senate Democrats. Click here to read the emails.

Governor Walker's press secretary says the e-mails released Tuesday show the lines of communication have been open and negotiations have been ongoing for more than a week.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans met behind closed doors for most of the day. Negotiations between Governor Walker and Senate Democrats released in these emails was of top priority.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says, "We went point by point on what was negotiated by Governor Walker and Senate Democrats, which was first time some members of our caucus got a look at what we were negotiating."

The e-mails released by Governor Walker's office show the governor is willing to compromise on certain aspects of his budget repair bill. The emails show changes to certain parts of his plan to end most collective bargaining rights for public employees, primarily, his willingness to allow collective bargaining without setting a limit to worker's salaries. The current proposal says workers can only negotiate a salary increase because of inflation.

Still, any sign that the two sides may reach an agreement were shut down by Senator Fitzgerald. The Senate majority leader continued to voice his frustrations with the minority party and reiterate they're far from a compromise.

Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says, "Mark [Miller D-Monona] doesn't have control of his caucus and hasn't since the day he was elected.

Fitzgerald also says much of the discussion behind closed doors turned to the recall efforts against several senators in his caucus. He claims the White House is behind the recall. Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says, "This isn't about the Wisconsin State Senate. There are ties in the White House and this all stems from how the Presidential election will play out. Wisconsin is a targeted state."

The following statement was released by Rick Badger, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 40.

"Scott Walker is literally being sued by multiple Wisconsin media outlets for failing to release emails related to the budget repair bill, yet he's willing to selectively leak emails he believes create the illusion he's willing to make concessions.

Behind the smoke and mirrors, Scott Walker is still hell-bent on stripping all collective bargaining rights from thousands of Wisconsin workers - including child care providers, Quality Home Care Workers, UW Faculty and Academic Staff. The very few bargaining rights he uses to create the illusion he's willing to compromise are still drastically limited, and the ability of unions to effectively bargain would still be eliminated entirely.

If Scott Walker really wants to negotiate, he should name a time and place sit down with Democratic Senators. This deal is not going to be struck through stunts involving leaked emails and press conferences, and it's time for Walker to come to the table and negotiate a solution that will get Wisconsin moving forward again."

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The state Senate has adjourned without voting on penalties for the missing Democratic senators, an item on the agenda.

Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald says the Senate sent the resolution back to committee to fine-tune it.

Meanwhile, Gov. Walker's office today released the email exchange between the governor and the Senate Democrats in Illinois. Click here to read the emails.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The State Senate was expected to take the floor at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday. As of 12:30 p.m., they were not on the floor. They went into caucus at 10:20 a.m. and are still meeting.

On the agenda is 14 resolutions imposing a $100 fine on all 14 missing Senate Democrats.

The Senators left Wisconsin February 17, to avoid a vote on Governor Walker's budget repair bill.

Meanwhile, published reports that Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) was going to vote against the budget repair bill were put to rest by his Chief of Staff, Ryan Smith.

Smith says the report is absolutely false. He says Cowles is still on board with Governor Walker. He says, if Governor Walker proposes amendments, Sen. Cowles would be on board.

Colby Robertson is in the Senate and will keep you updated on 27 News at 5, 6, and 6:30.

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