Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is praising Republicans in the state Senate who have voted to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers.
Republicans cast the quick vote Wednesday after discovering a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats.
All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker's so-called "budget repair bill" _ a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.
Walker says the Democrats were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused.
Walker said: "In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature's action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government."