Reuters: Wisconsin lawmakers are talking compromise

March 3, 2011- Absent senate Democrats in Wisconsin are talking with the majority Republicans about possible compromises aimed at ending a stalemate over a bill to strip public sector unions of bargaining rights.

In a telephone interview with his hometown Green Bay Press-Gazette, Democratic Senator Dave Hansen said negotiations on a compromise to bring the senators back for a vote may involve preserving some union bargaining rights.

One area under discussion would allow unions to continue to negotiate on workplace safety issues and another might extend the interval between union recertification votes to two years from every year, Hansen told the newspaper.

"I'm disappointed they wouldn't give us that one (the safety issue) out of hand. It makes as much sense as anything. But we continue to discuss it and hopefully soon we'll come to an agreement," Hansen told the Press-Gazette.

"I know we won't get all that we want, but we're trying to get as much as we can."

The compromise may entail voting on the budget repair bill as is, then passing a second bill or additions to the biennial budget that would preserve some collective bargaining rights.

But Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller was quoted in the newspaper as saying the 14 Democratic senators are no closer to returning for a vote than they were a week ago.

The Democrats fled the state February 17 to deny the majority 19 Republicans a quorum to vote on the bill, which was subsequently passed by the state Assembly.


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