UPDATE: Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state

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MADISON (AP) -- A Wisconsin state senator says the 14 Democratic lawmakers who are boycotting a vote on a controversial anti-union bill have left the state.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach says the group wants to force negotiations over the Republican-backed bill, which would strip most public employees of their collective-bargaining rights.

Erpenbach told The Associated Press that he and his colleagues had left Wisconsin, but he would not say where.

He said the plan is to slow down the bill because it's "tearing the state apart."

Senate Republicans can't vote on the bill unless at least one Democrat is present. Police could be dispatched to retrieve them, but it was unclear if they would have the authority to cross state lines.

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

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Police officers are looking for Democratic Wisconsin lawmakers who were ordered to attend a vote on a bill that would strip public employees of collective bargaining rights.

No Democrats showed up for Thursday's Senate session, meaning a vote cannot be taken. Republicans need one Democratic senator to be present. Calls to Democratic leaders were not immediately returned.

Republicans are pushing the anti-union bill proposed by GOP Gov. Scott Walker. Thousands of people clogged the halls of the Statehouse for a third straight day in opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says law enforcement officers were searching for Democrats after they were ordered to attend the Senate session.

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

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