No Wis. Democrats present for Senate session again

Wisconsin Senate
Republican State Senators Terry Moulton, lower left to right, Senator Robert Cowles and Senator Van Wanggaard talk during a recess in the Senate chambers at the state Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, in Madison, Wis. Opponents to Governor Scott Walker's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers are taking part in their eighth day of protesting.
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

The Wisconsin state Senate has met for a third time with no Democrats present.

The 14 Democrats stayed away again on Wednesday. They left last week so they wouldn't have to vote on Gov. Scott Walker's proposal stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights.

They say they won't return until Walker is willing to compromise, but he has said he won't do that.

The 19 remaining Republicans are only able to take up other bills that don't affect the budget. On Wednesday they passed a resolution commending the University of Wisconsin football team on its Rose Bowl appearance and took up a bill repealing a racial profiling law.

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On Tuesday they passed a resolution honoring the Green Bay Packers and a bill extending dairy farmer tax breaks.

Meanwhile, local government officials across the state are publicly registering their opposition to Walker's plan.

More than 200 mayors, school board presidents and other local officials held a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday to voice their objections to Walker's budget repair bill.

The group, representing at least 20 cities, 41 towns and 22 counties, has sent a letter to the governor asking him to restore collective bargaining to his bill. The officials say the proposal harms their ability to find common ground with municipal and county employees when crafting budgets.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, says they won't compromise on their request. Other local leaders, including Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, have supported Walker's bill.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)