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Senate head signs orders of contempt against Democrats (UPDATE)

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgeral, R-Juneau, signs orders finding the 14 missing Democrats in contempt at the state Capitol in Madison on Thursday. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgeral, R-Juneau, signs orders finding the 14 missing Democrats in contempt at the state Capitol in Madison on Thursday. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican leader of the Wisconsin Senate has signed orders finding 14 AWOL Democrats in contempt. The orders signed Thursday allow the sergeant at arms to detain the missing senators and use police force if necessary.

The Democrats say they are all in Illinois and won’t return.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the orders are only binding in Wisconsin.

The Senate passed a resolution calling for the action earlier Thursday but gave Democrats until 4 p.m. to return. None of them did, which led Fitzgerald to sign 14 orders of detainment in dramatic fashion in the center of the Senate chamber.

State patrol officers watched silently from the gallery as Fitzgerald signed the orders executing the order.

The Democrats left in protest over an anti-union bill.

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