America

Wisconsin Democrats Get $100 Daily Fines For Being AWOL

Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted to begin fining Democrats $100 for every day they're absent without leave. The Democratic senators, who fled the state to quash a bill that would limit public-employee unions, say the threat of a fine won't sway them.

In a report for Newscast, David Schaper reports:

With Wisconsin Senate Democrats staying in Illinois to prevent a vote on a bill curbing collective bargaining rights, Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is turning up the pressure.

Fitzgerald and the Republicans will begin imposing fines of $100 a day Friday on members who are absent without leave.

"This majority is trying to compel those senators to come back and do their job," Fitzgerald said.

Republicans have also taken away parking spaces and photocopying privileges from the Democrats' staff.

Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller calls the moves petty, and school-yard bully tactics. He added that his caucus would come back in a minute, if Republicans would only compromise.

The vote to fine the Democratic legislators comes a day after Gov. Scott Walker unveiled his budget, which cuts at least $1.5 billion from public schools and local governments.

As calculated by my colleague Rick Holter, the runaway Democrats could now generate the $4.2 billion in budget savings Walker has proposed — if they rack up 8,219 years' worth of fines.

You can follow the state budget crisis in Wisconsin and other states at It's All Politics.