Senate Democrats are not seeing eye-to-eye on a plan that would prevent future large scale absences. Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville wants to remove the requirement that 20 senators need to be present to vote on bills that spend money. He and the chamber’s 13 other Democrats left the state for weeks, to delay a vote on the Governor Walker’s bill to strip many public union rights.
Cullen is proposing a constitutional amendment that would make the move ineffective in the future.
Fellow Democrat Dave Hansen doesn’t like the idea and says there are some occasions when the ability to delay a vote is necessary.
“Had that constitutional requirement not existed and we had not done what we did, Governor Walker and Republican leaders would’ve stripped away 50 years of workers’ rights in less four days,” says the Green Bay lawmaker.”
Hansen says the option of leaving should remain but it should only be used in extreme circumstances
“It’s not desirable obviously but when rubber stamps are happening in the legislature at some point in time in life and as a legislator. You have to stand up for what you believe in.”
The Democratic caucus also disagrees with Cullen’s proposal, according to Hansen.
For Cullen’s amendment to be added to the state constitution, it needs to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions, and pass a statewide referendum.