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Workers Brace For Layoffs During Protests

After weeks of protest, it doesn’t look like there is any compromise between the two.

Wisconsin Governor Walker Presents Budget Proposal To State Assembly
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

MADISON, Wis. — Thousands of Wisconsin state workers were bracing for layoff notices Friday as Republican Gov. Scott Walker and absent Democrats remained in a standoff over a budget balancing bill that would also strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

Walker said he would issue 1,500 layoff notices Friday if at least one of the 14 Senate Democrats doesn’t return from Illinois to give the Republican majority the quorum it needs to vote. Senate Republicans voted Thursday to hold the missing Democrats in contempt and force police to bring them back to the Capitol.

The legislation has led to nearly three weeks of protests — some attended by tens of thousands of union supporters — in and around the state Capitol, which was completely cleared of demonstrators late Thursday for the first time in 17 nights after a judge ordered the building closed during non-business hours.

The final 50 or so protesters left peacefully about two hours after the judge’s order, which also said the state unconstitutionally limited access to the building since Monday and ordered the state to grant greater access to the public by next Monday.

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