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A Return To The Old West

February 18, 2011

The Wisconsin democratic delegations of State Senators are on the run. Not from law enforcement, but from their Senate colleagues. In a move that’s more reminiscent of old west legend than a standard State Senate session fourteen Democrats disappeared in around noon before Senate was called into session. The group claims they fled in an effort to block the passage of a measure that would strip most public employees of collective bargain rights State Democrats are refusing to vote.

Adding to the urgency of the moment throngs of protesters against the bill have spilled into the state over the past three days. Police estimate the Madison crowd to be approximately 25 thousand protestors strong. In other cities across Wisconsin and Ohio protesting crowds of 38 hundred state workers, teachers, and other public employees have also appeared. Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have also begun ‘walk-outs’ at the urging of their student government and campus press.

To further complicate the issue unconfirmed rumors that law enforcement have been been called upon to catch the fugitive lawmakers run rampage on the internet adding to the general confusion. Chris Larson, one of the democratic legislators claims he’s not concerned about potential problems with police. In an interview with the Washington Post Larson said that privately individual officers had expressed ‘solidarity’ with their cause.

When Wisconsin lawmakers return to the Capitol –and at one point they have to– it’ll be interesting to see what solutions will come from such a divided group. Wisconsin needs to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall that’ll call for creative solution and with 17 votes needed to pass—bipartisan support.

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