UPDATED 03/04/11 10:57 a.m.
MADISON, Wis. (CBS) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican colleagues are threatening to send out police to detain and forcibly bring back the 14 absent Democratic state senators.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Walker is also threatening to begin laying off state employees if the Democratic senators don’t return from Illinois to vote on his controversial budget plan.
“If this is what it takes, to get a Democratic senator back to the chamber, then this is what it takes,” said Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
Walker also says he will have no choice but to make good on his threat to start sending layoff notices if the vote doesn’t go ahead. He says unless at least one Democratic senator returns to the Capitol on Friday, pink slips will go out by the day’s end.
“I believe the senate Democrats know this full well, that if we do not get to have those savings effective April 1, I mentioned back then, and it is true today, that the alternative is to find $30 million in savings elsewhere, and that is the equivalent of 1,500 layoffs,” Walker said.
Senate Republicans have approved a measure holding their 14 Democratic colleagues in contempt. This is the order would allow police to bring the Democrats back to the Capitol forcibly.
Meanwhile, the situation at the Capitol is becoming tense too. On Thursday night, Wisconsin state Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range) was tackled by police when he tried to come in, after a judge ordered that no one be allowed inside the capitol until Monday morning.
Later, Rep. Milroy was allowed up, but he was furious.
“I’m a legislator, and I need my clothes in my office!” he yelled at the officers.
Demonstrators had occupied the Capitol around the clock in order to protest Walker’s move against state employee unions. Walker budget’s plan would strip collective bargaining rights from unionized public employees.s
But the judge’s ruling forced them out of the capitol building.
Still, some protesters say they’re not going away.
“I’m going to sleep outside here still to be part of it,” one protester said inside the capitol.
Inside, Walker and state Republicans continue their tough talk against the 14 absent Senate Democrats.
Walker blamed a core group of what he called “extreme” dissenters for standing in the way of compromise by remaining out of state.
“There are some, who apparently, would appear to be OK with staying two months, in some cases maybe as far as two years,” Walker said. “That is unacceptable.”
But the Democratic Senators say they are staying away to prevent Walker from destroying hard-fought union rights. They say they will not return unless Walker backs down on his plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights.
But Walker has said consistently that he will do no such thing.
Recall efforts have also begun for both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, CBS News reports.