Senate Democrats are working on ways to schedule an extraordinary session to vote on state employee contracts, which could include ousting their current majority leader.
The Assembly has already cleared the way for a vote on the delayed union contracts, but Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Wausau) appears hesitant to call members back. However, Senate President Fred Risser (D-Madison) says there are other methods to make it happen.
Risser says Democrats are currently circulating a petition that would allow the membership to call the chamber into session, without Decker’s approval. The measure would need support from 50-percent of the lawmakers in each chamber. Currently, Risser says they are working to hit that mark, but it’s unclear if they will.
If that effort fails, Risser says Democrats could always select a new leader to replace Decker, who could then open a floor period that would allow the contracts to be scheduled for a vote. Risser would not comment on whether Democrats are seriously considering that option at this time.
Decker initially won his post as Majority Leader in 2007, with a mid-session leadership change that removed Senator Judy Robson (D-Beloit) from the post.
As for why Decker has not been willing to open an extraordinary session, Risser says he doesn’t know. The Madison Democrat says he has not spoken to Decker in over a week and has been unable to reach him by phone.
Senate Democrats have a caucus scheduled for Wednesday morning. Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) says he’s still hoping to bring the contracts to the floor in that chamber for a vote by Wednesday afternoon.