OCONTO - An Oconto County man is suing one of the 14 Democratic state senators who have left the state to stop a vote on a controversial budget repair bill.
Kevin Barthel of Lakewood filed the suit Tuesday. It demands State Sen. Jim Holperin, D-Conover, return to Wisconsin and attend Senate sessions.
Holperin and 13 Democratic colleagues fled to Illinois two weeks ago after Gov. Scott Walker introduced his budget repair bill. The bill would strip public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights. Having passed the state Assembly, the bill is now stalled in the Senate, because, by state law, at least 20 Senators are required to vote on spending measures. The missing Democrats have left the Senate with only 19 members, not enough for a quorum.
The lawsuit states, in part, "Senator Holperin…must attend the daily sessions of the State Senate…"
"Substantial damage will follow if Senator Holperin is not compelled to…respond to the Call of the Majority Leader to address the Budget Repair Bill."
"There is no adequate remedy at law to prevent this substantial harm, as there is no substitute for representative democracy in this country or in this state."
Holperin's office issued a news release saying it would not comment on ongoing legal matters.
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