By Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel
Feb. 24, 2011
State troopers were dispatched early this morning to the homes of all 14 Democratic state senators, who fled the Capitol a week ago to stall debate on a bill to restrict public worker bargaining rights.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said he took the move because he'd had reports some of the senators were going home nights and driving in the morning to Chicago. The Democrats have said they left Wisconsin to avoid being compelled to return to the Capitol and face a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.
"Troopers aren't going to arrest anybody," Fitzgerald said. He hopes the Democrats if confronted by a trooper and a Senate page will comply with Senate tradition and rules and return to the Capitol.
As of 9 a.m., though, Andrew Welhouse, a spokesman for Fitzgerald, said that so far no Democratic senators have been found.
It would only take one of the 14 Democrats to give majority Republicans a quorum so the budget bill can be voted on.
Fitzgerald said he would not immediately bring up the budget bill for debate as soon as one of the absent Democrats can be brought back to the Capitol
He said the Democrats' tactic of leaving town was "absolutely trashing the decorum of the Senate."