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Despite Layoff Threats, Wis. Budget Rallies Rage

LYNN NEARY, NEARY:

Wisconsin state workers and their supporters were out in force again yesterday, to protest Governor Scott Walker's budget proposal and his move to end collective bargaining for most state employees. Yesterday's rally at the state capitol was the latest in a series of protests. It was held a day after Governor Walker sent notices to state workers' unions, warning that he would institute layoffs if his budget proposal is not passed.

The bill has been stalled in the Wisconsin Senate for more than two weeks now, after 14 Democratic lawmakers left the state denying a quorum for a vote.

Thousands turned out for yesterday's rally. Singers Ryan Bingham and Michelle Shocked entertained the crowd. And liberal filmmaker Michael Moore took a turn at the microphone.

Mr. MICHAEL MOORE (Filmmaker): I'm so proud of you.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Mr. MOORE: You have aroused a sleeping giant known as the working people of the United States of America.

(Soundbite of cheering)

NEARY: Supporters of Governor Walker have been on a bus tour of the state, rallying in favor of his proposal. They're scheduled to arrive in Madison today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.