Wisconsin Democrats run to Rockford, Illinois - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Wisconsin Democrats run to Rockford, Illinois

ROCKFORD, IL (KTTC/WREX)--14 Democratic Wisconsin senators boarded a bus and ran off to Rockford, Illinois Thursday to stall a vote that has sparked major controversy and protests across their state.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach tells our sister station WKOW 27 News in Madison, WI that the group of Democrats left the Clock Tower before 5:00 p.m. He did not say where they were going.

The senators left Wisconsin to stall a scheduled vote on Republican Governor Scott Walker's anti-union legislation that would strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

Republicans hold a 19-14 majority, but they need at least one Democrat to be present before voting.

Governor Walker released the following statement Thursday calling on the senators to come to work, "Out of respect for the institution of the Legislature and the democratic process, I am calling on Senate Democrats to show up to work today, debate legislation and cast their vote. Their actions by leaving the state and hiding from voting are disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of public employees who showed up to work today and the millions of taxpayers they represent."

At a Thursday afternoon news conference, Governor Walker said he understands what they're fighting for, but they can't stand up for their constituents if they are out of state.

Walker reiterated his bill is about repairing the budget and avoiding massive layoffs.

An estimated 25,000 people showed up for a third day of protests at the Wisconsin Statehouse Thursday. Nine demonstrators were arrested.

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