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Ind. Democrats Could Meet with Wisc. Lawmakers

(Additional reporting from the Associated Press)

Indiana House minority leader Pat Bauer said he wants to meet with Wisconsin state Senate Democrats who have also fled to Illinois to block action on Republican-backed legislation.

Bauer said the roughly 30 Indiana Democrats he led to an Urbana hotel to avoid votes on anti-union and school-related legislation could commiserate with their counterparts from Wisconsin.

The South Bend Democrat said such a meeting would be like a pair of crime victims meeting to talk about their attacker. One of the other Democrats staying in Urbana is Charlie Brown of Gary. He said he is intrigued by the idea, saying there are a lot of people that weren't aware of the odds faced by the party in each state.

"It's amazing the number of people that were not into the real minute points," Brown said. "They were trying to eliminate collective bargaining for public employees. They wanted to set up some kind of merit system for teachers and so forth. People say 'really?' Yes, that's what we're fighting for."

With the Indiana House now adjourned until Monday, Brown said it is likely the caucus will return home for the weekend to pick up clothes, and return to Urbana before the chamber convenes on Monday. But Brown said the caucus is staying in Urbana at least through Thursday night.

He said it is still possible Governor Mitch Daniels could use the state police to bring Democrats back to the capitol if they simply stayed home. Brown says he and colleagues who have been staying at a hotel in the area since Tuesday have also gotten their first look at some of the labor protests at the capitol in Indianapolis.

"That was a booster for us," said Brown. "We're isolated up here, and only get bits and pieces of what's going on. But that was really a plus for us, to see that our constituents are really concerned in these pieces of legisation."

Wisconsin Senator Tim Cullen says he and his fellow Democrats are focused Thursday on the situation in their state and didn't know of any plans to meet up.

Indiana's Democratic caucus will meet Friday morning at 10 a.m.

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