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Wisconsin Democrats Still Hiding Out In Illinois

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Wisconsin Protest

Teachers protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS/AP) – Wisconsin Democrats who left the state to block a vote on sweeping anti-union legislation might stay in hiding for weeks.

Wisconsin State Sen. Jon Erpenbach was staying at a Chicago hotel on Friday, although he would not disclose exactly which one in a phone interview with WBBM Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports

Erpenbach and other Democratic lawmakers from Wisconsin left the state on Thursday to prevent the near-certain passage of legislation backed by Republican legislators and GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

The proposed legislation would strip state employees of their collective bargaining rights. Thousands of protesters flocked to the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison on Thursday to rally against the proposal.

Erpenbach said there’s no fixed date for when Democrats would return to Wisconsin, but said they might stay away for days, or even weeks.

All 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats planned to meet somewhere in Illinois on Friday to discuss their plans.

There are 19 Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate, but 20 senators must be present to vote on budget initiatives like the bill in question. So, without at least one Democrat present, the legislation has been stalled indefinitely.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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