MADISON, Wis. (CBS) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is rejecting an offer by Democratic state senators to meet him at the Illinois-Wisconsin state line for a discussion ending the budget standoff.
Walker called the offer “ridiculous.”
The 14 Wisconsin senate Democrats are holed up in Illinois, to avoid voting on a budget that would strip collective bargaining rights from unionized state workers – including teachers.
Republicans have enough votes to approve the measure, but not at least one Democrat must be present in order to establish a quorum to vote on such budget matters.
Late last week, Walker said he would issue pink slips to 1,500 state workers if the Democratic senators didn’t return for the vote, but the senators said they are not backing down.
Republican senators have also voted to find their Democratic colleagues in contempt, a move that means Democrats could be forcibly returned to Madison if they return to Wisconsin. They have suggested sending police out to detain the Democrats and haul them back to Madison.
Meanwhile, protesters continue to gather in a heated opposition to Walker’s plan. On Monday, they lined up in Wisconsin Dells, where Walker was attending an annual conference on tourism.
“Support our schools the same way you support tourism,” said protester Peter Vedro. “That’s my message to Governor Walker.”
Walker claims that the protesters are in the minority, and the people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly support his decision.