MADISON, WI Just after 1 a.m., amid protests by labor supporters and Democrats, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill that would end collective-bargaining by most state government employees who belong to public sector unions.
Gov. Walker said that the measure was necessary to address the state's $3.6 billion budget shortfall. Walker has set a deadline of Friday for approval of the measure to give the state time to refinance bonds and make a payment on state debt that is due by March 15.
The fate of the bill is unknown as 14 Democratic Senators fled to Illinois to prevent the Senate from voting on the measure. The Senate needs at least one Democratic senator present or does not have the quorum to call a vote.