As WI Lawmakers Hide Out in Rockford, Local News Crews Find Themselves at Center of National Story

By Andrew Gauthier 

Wisconsin lawmakers are hiding out in Rockford, IL, giving local news crews there an opportunity to go one-on-one with those at the center of a political controversy that is gaining national attention.

Fourteen Democratic lawmakers fled Wisconsin this week in protest of Republican Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal, which, among other things, would limit the bargaining rights of those employed by the state.

“We hit the road,” Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller told WTVO reporter Alex Shabad. “This was not planned in advance.”

Shabad was able to catch up with a handful of the lawmakers as they stayed at a Best Western in Rockford.

“We felt by doing this, we’re delaying a vote and people will have more time to talk about the bill,” Senator Jim Holperin explained to Shabad (video here).

Because Democrats make up a small minority of the Wisconsin senate, they don’t have the power to vote down Walker’s budget but by fleeing the state they have at least been able to postpone a vote.

The Wisconsin State Patrol has the right to return the lawmakers to the capital but only if they’re within the state.

On Friday morning, George Stephanopoulos spoke with Sen. Miller on “Good Morning America.”  While Miller would not disclose his location on “GMA,” Shabad probably has a good idea of where he is.