msnbc.com news services
updated 2/22/2011 5:34:13 PM ET 2011-02-22T22:34:13

With their Senate colleagues still in hiding, Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly began introducing a barrage of 100 amendments Tuesday to try to stymie the Republican governor's plan to strip unionized public employees of most of their bargaining rights.

Both houses of the GOP-controlled Legislature convened shortly before noon amid noisy protests outside the state Capitol that began more than a week ago in an epic showdown that is being watched nervously by organized labor across the country.

The Senate was unable to take up the union measure because its 14 Democrats skipped town last week, denying the chamber a quorum. But Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald pledged that his chamber would approve the bill this week, despite the blizzard of Democratic amendments.

First Thoughts: The Party of No (Compromise)

Turning up the pressure on the Democrats, Gov. Scott Walker warned that state employees could start receiving layoff notices as early as next week if the bill isn't passed soon. The layoffs couldn't take effect immediately — existing union contracts could forestall them for weeks or months — and Walker wouldn't say which jobs he would go after first.

Video: Wis. governor: I’m not negotiating over the budget (on this page)

"Hopefully we don't get to that point," the governor said in a statement.

Borrowing the strategy pioneered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Walker planned to take his case straight to the voters Tuesday evening with a fireside chat.

Similar battles take shape in Indiana, Ohio
While Wisconsin remained the main front in the national debate over union rights, similar battles were taking shape in other states.

In Indiana, House Democrats walked out of the Statehouse on Tuesday, blocking a GOP-backed bill against mandatory union dues. Only three of the 40 Democratic members of the chamber were present, depriving it of a quorum. The Indianapolis Star reported that the Democrats had fled the state to go to Illinois or Kentucky.

Slideshow: Protests in Wisconsin (on this page)

A similar debate in Ohio drew thousands of union protesters Tuesday, prompting officials there to lock the doors to the Statehouse.

In Wisconsin, if lawmakers take no action on the union bill by the end of the week, the state will not be able to refinance debt that Walker had counted on for $165 million worth of savings under the legislation. The governor warned that not doing that would force even deeper cuts and possibly lead to 1,500 layoffs by July.

Republican leaders in both the Senate and Assembly said they have the votes to pass the bill.

Fitzgerald said the bill was a key part of the Republican agenda to cut government spending that won the GOP majorities in the Legislature in November.

"When you talk about a compromise, no. We're going to make a reform," the Assembly speaker said.

'Tempers are going to flare'
Debate began on the bill in the Assembly around noon with Democrats railing against the way the Republicans handled votes when the bill first came up last Friday. Given the number of amendments Democrats were proposing, an actual vote on the measure may not happen until Wednesday or later.

"It's going to be a long day," Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca said at the start of debate. "Tempers are going to flare."

The roar of protesters in the Capitol rotunda, many of whom were banging on drums and chanting through megaphones, could be heard while both the Senate and Assembly met.

The Wisconsin bill would force state and local public workers to contribute more toward their pensions and health care and would strip them of the right to negotiate benefits and working conditions. They would largely be limited to negotiating pay raises no greater than the inflation rate.

The proposal, designed to help Wisconsin plug a projected $3.6 billion hole in the budget, has led to eight straight days of monumental protests that grew as large as 68,000 people on Saturday.

The Senate was stymied for a second time in its attempts to take up the bill after none of the 14 Democrats who skipped town on Thursday showed up. Under Senate rules, 20 lawmakers must be present to take up a budget bill. There are only 19 Republicans.

Remaining lawmakers take up non-budget issues
Unable to act on Walker's proposal, the remaining Republicans instead took up some non-controversial measures, voting to extend tax breaks to dairy farmers and unanimously commending the Green Bay Packers on winning the Super Bowl. The Senate does not need a quorum to deal with non-budget matters.

Unlike last Thursday, when the Senate galleries were filled with protesters who disrupted action by shouting, only about a dozen people showed up under heavier security to watch the action on Tuesday.

In the Assembly, the gallery was packed with hundreds of spectators who watched the debate without causing any disruption. Democrats wore orange shirts to show solidarity with protesters that read, "Fighting for working families." Thousands more people watched the debate on TV monitors inside the rotunda.

Walker and Republican leaders have repeatedly called on the Senate Democrats, who fled to Illinois, to return and get back to work. Democrats have said they won't come back until Walker is willing to negotiate.

"We'd love to come back today," said Sen. Jon Erpenbach. "We could be up there this afternoon and pass this if he would agree to removing the language that has absolutely nothing to do with balancing the budget."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker warned Tuesday that state employees could start receiving layoff notices as early as next week if a bill eliminating most collective bargaining rights isn't passed soon.

Walker said in a statement to The Associated Press that the layoffs wouldn't take effect immediately. He didn't say which workers would be targeted but he has repeatedly warned that up to 1,500 workers could lose their jobs by July if his proposal isn't passed.

"Hopefully we don't get to that point," Walker said.

It could take weeks or even months to lay off workers under the terms of their current union contracts.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald announced Tuesday the Republican-led chamber would pass its version of a bill cutting collective bargaining rights for most public employees. Fitzgerald said Republicans were elected to lead the Assembly in November to make deep cuts to state spending, and they will deliver on that pledge.

"When you talk about a compromise, no. We're going to make a reform," Fitzgerald said.

Wis. Democrats walk out
Senate Democrats walked out last week rather than vote on Walker's bill that would force public workers to pay more for their benefits. He also wants to eliminate collective bargaining for nearly all workers except concerning salary increases that aren't greater than the Consumer Price Index.

The proposal, designed to help Wisconsin plug a projected $3.6 billion budget hole, has led to eight straight days of massive protests that grew as large as 68,000 people on Saturday.

Security was tight in the Capitol on Tuesday morning as both the Senate and Assembly were in session. Democrats in the Assembly planned to push for adoption of more than 100 amendments.

Video: Wis. protests swell as budget standoff looms

The Senate continued to be stymied in its ability to vote on the bill after the 14 Democrats walked out on Thursday, making it impossible for the remaining Republicans to take up the measure. The Democrats stayed away again on Tuesday, while the 19 Republicans continued on with other business, including passing a resolution commending the Green Bay Packers on winning the Super Bowl and extending a tax break to dairy farmers.

The Senate met under the watchful eye of state patrol troopers, but only about 15 members of the public, in the galleries. The roar of protesters chanting and beating on drums just outside the Senate chamber in the Capitol Rotunda could be heard as Republicans conducted its business.

Walker and Republican leaders have repeatedly called on the Democrats, who escaped to Illinois, to return and get back to work.

Democrats have said they won't come back until Walker is willing to negotiate.

In Indiana, too?
Meanwhile, The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday that Democratic members of Indiana's House had left the state to go to Illinois or Kentucky to protest Republican-backed labor bills.

Speakers at a midday rally in Indiana on Tuesday told the union members that Republicans had declared a "war on labor" with proposals restricting teacher collective bargaining and so-called right-to-work legislation.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said he noticed the lack of cars in the legislators' parking lot and that Democrats couldn't be found meeting in the Statehouse.

Rep. Terri Austin of Anderson responded that her fellow Democrats were "together and working" when she last saw them Tuesday morning. She said they were still in the city.

The absence of the Democrats prevents the House from having a quorum to conduct business.

Walker rejects concessions
Public employees have said they would agree to concessions Walker wants that would amount to an 8 percent pay cut on average, but they want to retain their collective bargaining rights. One Republican senator also has floated an alternative that would make the elimination of those rights temporary.

Walker has repeatedly rejected both offers, saying local governments and school districts can't be hamstrung by the often lengthy collective bargaining process. He says they need to have more flexibility to deal with up to $1 billion in cuts he will propose in his budget next week and into the future.

It's a high-stakes game of political chicken that has riveted the nation and led to ongoing public protests. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are budging: Walker says he won't negotiate, and the 14 missing Senate Democrats say they won't return until he does.

"We'd love to come back today," said Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach, one of the 14 who went to Illinois. "We could be up there this afternoon and pass this if he would agree to removing the language that has absolutely nothing to do with balancing the budget."

Republicans planned to forge ahead with other business Tuesday, including a resolution honoring the Green Bay Packers for winning the Super Bowl and a bill extending tax breaks to dairy farmers.

Those bills have bipartisan support, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald — Jeff Fitzgerald's brother — has tried to put pressure on Democrats by threatening to take up more controversial matters, such as a GOP-backed proposal requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

"You have shut down the people's government, and that is not acceptable," Fitzgerald said to Democrats during a brief meeting Monday setting the Senate's agenda for Tuesday. Two Democratic senators participated in the meeting by phone.

Democrats counter that Walker could compromise and put an end to the stalemate.

"It's right in front of the governor," Miller said. "He just needs to pick it up and allow us to move on. ... This is a no-brainer."

'Scott Walker has got to go!'
As Walker spoke under heavy guard at a late Monday afternoon news conference inside his conference room, thousands of protesters could be heard through the doors blowing whistles, banging on drums and chanting "Scott Walker has got to go!"

"This guy is power drunk and we're here to sober him up," said Bert Zipperer, 54, a counselor at a Madison middle school who was among the protesters. "He wants to do it unilaterally without any compromise. He wants to be a national conservative hero and he thinks he can get away with this."

Walker's plan would allow unions representing most public employees to negotiate only for wage increases, not benefits or working conditions. Any wage increase above the Consumer Price Index would have to be approved in a referendum. Unions would face a vote of membership every year to stay formed, and workers could opt out of paying dues.

The emergency plan is meant to address this year's $137 million shortfall and start dealing with the $3.6 billion hole expected by mid-2013. The benefits concessions would amount to $30 million this year, but the largest savings Walker proposed comes from refinancing debt to save $165 million.

That portion must be done by Friday for bonds to be refinanced in time to realize the savings by June 30, the end of this fiscal year.

Walker said not passing the bill by Friday would make even deeper cuts necessary and possibly result in laying off 1,500 workers over the next four months.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Wis. state workers protest for 8th day

  1. Closed captioning of: Wis. state workers protest for 8th day

    >>> and the showdown in wisconsin over balancing the budget, nobody is backing down. thousands of public employees are expected to jam the state house in madison again today to protest scott walker 's plan to strip most of their union bargaining power . he was adamant this morning on " morning joe ."

    >> not negotiating over a budget because the budget is broke. just like nearly every state across the country, we are broke. i cannot negotiate for something where i don't have anything to give.

    >> mike taibbi is at the state house in madison, wisconsin . here you've got governor walker planning to take his case to the people of wisconsin tonight. what are we expecting to hear from him?

    >> reporter: he's going to have wa he's calling a fire side chat. he's scheduled these things very carefully. last night's press conference happened at 5:00 local time . tonight, the fire side chat will start at 6:00 local time , so the local stations will likely cover it live and unedited. he'll get his message across. the budget is broke. there will be no negotiations and he added that unless his bill is passed by friday, a deadline of sorts because trying to reschedule some of the debt, it will cost the state $165 billion and that will cost 1500 jobs in the state of wisconsin . he said layoff notices could go out next week unless those 14 absent democratic senators come back from illinois where they've been hiding out to avoid a vote in the senate here. the assembly in the state senate reconvened today, but didn't get much done. there weren't enough democratic assembly members to get much done. the 14 absent senators are in illinois, but the senate couldn't do anything on the bill. the stalemate continues. you can hear the rally behind me. pan over here, is it possible for you to do it? a lot of the teachers have gone back to work. organized labor , many from other states. we saw two big trucks, one from minnesota and a big rally is scheduled for 3:00 this afternoon. the governor is not backing down and neither are the unions and so far, democratic senator who is stayed out of state. back to you.

Photos: The battle over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin

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  1. Massive crowds gather to see the 14 democratic senators that left the state to protest the bill proposed by the Gov. Scott Walker as crowds continued to protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison on Saturday, March 12. (Darren Hauck / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Democratic Senator Lena Taylor, right, and civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson Jr. greet the crowd as they and the other Wisconsin State democratic senators that left the state to protest the bill proposed by the Gov. Scott Walker return to massive crowds that continue to protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol on March 12. (Darren Hauck / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Republican Wisconsin State Legislatures look on as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker performs a ceremonial bill signing outside his office at the Wisconsin State Capitol on March 11. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Protesters shout outside the office of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as he held a ceremonial bill-signing on March 11. The bill essentially eliminates collective bargaining rights for public union workers except on wage issues (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Protesters hold wooden letters that spell the word "shame" in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol on March 10. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald makes the argument to pass the budget repair bill before the State Assembly in the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, Thursday, March 10. (Allen Fredrickson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Spectators in the gallery of the Wisconsin assembly chambers chant "shame" in protest after the House voted to pass the state's controversial budget bill in the Wisconsin assembly chamber on Thursday in Madison. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Democratic Rep. Jon Richards yells after a vote was cast in the Wisconsin Assembly chambers Thursday in Madison. (Morry Gash / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Wisconsin State Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-WI) flashes the peace sign after the House voted to pass the state's controversial budget bill in the Wisconsin assembly chamber on Thursday in Madison. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The statue "Forward" displays a new sign at the State Capitol in Madison on Thursday, the day after the Senate passed the governor's controversial budget repair bill. (Steve Apps / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Erving Smith, of Madison, Wis., shouts at law enforcement personnel after he was slightly injured while being carried out of the Assembly Room lobby in Madison on Thursday, March 10. (John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Protesters get kicked out by police from the Wisconsin state assembly chamber as they try to block access to the chambers in Madison on March 10. (Carlos Javier Ortiz / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Wisconsin Rep. Cory Mason, center, talks to protesters in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday, March 9, after demonstrators retook the Capitol building. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kensoha, center, calls an impromptu news conference March 9 after Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate voted to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers after discovering a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Tears roll down the face of Liz Sanger of Madison, Wis., after the state Senate passed the budget repair bill following a meeting of a state Legislature conference committee at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., March 9. (Michael P. King / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Wisc. Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, is escorted out of the state Capitol in Madison, March 9, after Republicans in the Senate voted to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers after discovering a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Opponents of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill deride legislators as they leave the senate parlor at the Wisconsin State Capitol Building where the Senate voted to move forward on an amended version of the controversial bill Wednesday. (John Hart / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. After a protester outside throws a snowball hitting a window at the state Capitol, State Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink, D-Milladore, implores demonstrators to remain peaceful during a press conference of Democratic state Assembly members, March 9. (Michael P. King / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Helmut Kenies of the Wisconsin Historical Society sifts through hundreds of signs that were removed from the Wisconsin State Capitol on Tuesday, March 8 in Madison. Posters that were left behind by demostrators that occupied the State Capitol were collected and are being made available for people to claim them until this Friday. Select posters that are not claimed will be acquired by the Historical Society. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Filmmaker Michael Moore speaks to a crowd during a march and rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Saturday, March 5 in Madison. Thousands of demonstrators are staging a protest at the Capitol against Governor Scott Walker's attempt to push through a bill that would restrict collective bargaining for most government workers in the state. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Union members protest inside the Wisconsin Capitol on Friday, March 4, in Madison. Some demonstrators returned to the Capitol hours after they were forced to vacate the building after occupying it for more than two weeks. They are protesting Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to push through a bill that would restrict collective bargaining for most government workers in the state. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman talks with demonstrators Mark Dziedzic, left, and Jeff Dziedzic inside the state Capitol on March 4. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Wisconsin Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kensoha, celebrates with other lawmakers and protesters March 3 outside of the state Capitol in Madison after a judge ordered the Department of Administration to open the Capitol to normal business hours. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A police officer blocks an entrance of the Wisconsin State Capitol on Thursday. A Wisconsin judge ordered all of the pro-union protesters to leave the Capitol after they had camped out inside the building for two weeks. The judge also ruled that the state had violated the public's free speech and assembly rights by restricting access to the building. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Protesters celebrate as they walk outside of the state Capitol after a judge ordered the Department of Administration to open the Capitol to normal business hours. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Protesters wake-up outside of the state Capitol, Thursday in Madison after sleeping the night. Opponents to the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers are in their 16th day of protests. The Wisconsin Department of Administration officials shut the doors to many protesters and some chose to sleep outside. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Wisconsin State representative Fred Clark. left, meets with constituents at his desk outside the capitol building on March 2. Clark and several other Democrat members of the assembly moved their offices outside the building because of the difficulties the public was having entering the building which has been essentially locked down to prevent protestors from spending the night inside. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Demonstrators protest in a hallway below the assembly chamber where Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was delivering his budget address to a joint session of the legislature at the capitol on March 1. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Union Iron Worker Randy Bryce of Milwaukee shows police a court order to open the doors of the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, March 1. It was the 14th day of protests against the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Opponents to the governor's bill protest at the state Capitol on March 1. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Democrats refuse to stand as Gov. Scott Walker arrives to deliver his budget address to a joint session of the Legislature, March 1 in Madison. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Police stand in the rotunda of the State Capitol on Feb. 27 in Madison. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Damon Terrrell speaks to protesters at the State Capitol in on Feb. 27. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Opponents to the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers protest outside of the State Capitol on Feb. 26. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Rally supporters hang an American flag from fourth floor windows of the State Capitol as thousands of opponents of Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill gather for ongoing protests inside and outside the State Capitol on Feb. 26. (John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Protesters gather in the rotunda of the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison the morning of Friday, Feb. 25, after the Assembly passed a bill ending most state worker collective bargaining rights. (Carlos Javier Ortiz / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Protesters who identified themselves as Kenosha city and county workers hold signs as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plane flies away after his news conference about his budget repair bill at the Kenosha Airport in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday, Feb. 25. (Mark Hertzberg / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Messages left by supporters protesting in the State Capitol are stuck on the office entrance of Wisconsin State Assemblyman Brett Hulsey on Feb. 25. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Ryan Eykholt of Madison, Wis., plays "This Land Is Your Land" during a protest at the state Capitol in Madison on Friday, Feb. 25, over the governor's proposed budget measures. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Standing beside fellow Assembly Democrats, State Rep. Christine Sinicki approaches the front of the chamber in outrage as their Republican counterparts cut off debate and vote on the budget repair bill in session at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., early Friday morning, Feb. 25. (Michael P. King / Wisconsin State Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Protester Bridgette O'Brien of Elroy, Wis., does a morning routine of yoga at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Friday, Feb. 25 before another day of protesting. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Escorted by law enforcement officers, Assembly Republicans exit the state Capitol after cutting off debate and rapidly voting to pass a controversial budget repair bill in the state Assembly in Madison, Wis., on Friday, Feb. 25. (Michael P. King / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Assembly Democrats wave to protesters, thanking them after Republicans cut off debate and rapidly voted to pass a controversial budget repair bill in the state Assembly at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., early Friday, Feb. 25. (Michael P. King / Wisconsin State Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Wisconsin Reps. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, left, and Donna Seidel, D-Wausau, walk to the governor's office at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Thursday, Feb. 24. Opponents of the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers were in their 10th day of protests. Gov. Scott Walker was trying to get at least one Democratic senator back to the Capitol to vote on the bill. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Wisconsin Democratic state Sens. Tim Cullen, left, and Robert Jauch leave a home on Thursday, Feb. 24, in Woodstock, Ill. The senators have been in Illinois after leaving Wisconsin to try to stop a vote on bill that would take away public workers' collective bargaining rights. (Lauren M. Anderson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Opponents of the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers sleep on the floor of the rotunda at the state Capitol on Feb. 24. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Wisconsin state representatives start to fade as they listen to arguments on one of the expected 200 amendments to the governor's budget bill early Feb. 24. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. A protester sleeps on the floor in the Capitol on Feb. 23. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Protesters sleep in the rotunda of the Capitol on Feb. 23. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Democratic and Republican assembly members rise before the start of a session Feb. 22. (Darren Hauck / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Teamsters President James Hoffa speaks at a rally in the Capitol on Feb. 23. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pauses while giving an address in Madison on Feb. 22. to explain his budget bill. (Pool / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. A man sits surrounded by protesters' signs at the state Capitol in Madison on Feb. 22. (Darren Hauck / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Protesters walk outside the Wisconsin Capitol on Feb. 22. (Jeffrey Phelps / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Opponents of Walker's budget bill sleep in the rotunda on Feb. 22. (John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. John Henneman, left, and Dan Kuhl, right, teachers from Wisconsin Rapids, protest Feb. 21 outside the King Street entrance to the Capitol. (Steve Apps / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. A protester gestures in the Capitol building, after a week's mass protest against Walker's bill on Feb. 21. (Darren Hauck / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Kathryn Schulze delivers a silent message at the state Capitol on Feb. 21. (Jeffrey Phelps / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Protesters rest inside the State Capitol on Feb. 21 in Madison. (Jeffrey Phelps / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Arnold Chevalier, left, of Stoughton, Wis., shouts inside the State Capitol on Monday. (Jeffrey Phelps / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. State Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI) speaks to Democratic Senators via telephone during a meeting of the committee for Senate Organization inside the Wisconsin State Capitol on Monday. (Eric Thayer / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. A union advocate, left, and a Tea Party supporter argue in Madison, Wis. on Feb. 19, on the grounds of State Capitol over the governor's proposed budget bill. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. About 30 members of the AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, protest State Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester on Feb. 19. (Scott Anderson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Protesters gather outside the state Capitol in Madison, Wis. on Feb. 19. A few dozen police officers stood between supporters of Republican Gov. Scott Walker on the muddy east lawn of the Capitol and the much larger group of pro-labor demonstrators who surrounded them. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Protestors take a moment to rest inside a bus shelter as crowds continue to gather at the State Capitol grounds, while members of the Wisconsin state government discuss the proposed bill by Gov. Scott Walker in Madison on Feb. 19. (Darren Hauck / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. Democratic Wisconsin Assembly members cheer on the crowd on the fourth day of large scale protests outside of the State Capitol in Madison on Feb. 18. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Teacher Nicole North Hester, right, cries and applauds as union iron workers pass by during the fourth day of large demonstrations at the State Capitol on Feb. 18. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. Two protesters put up a sign at the State Capitol on Feb. 17, that reads "Run Dems Run" in support of 14 state Senators that have left the state in opposition the bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers. (Andy Manis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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