(CNN) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday warned 14 absent lawmakers trying to stall his controversial budget bill to return to the state Capitol immediately to vote on the measure, or layoff notices will be sent to 1,500 public employees before the weekend.
“Unfortunately, if we don’t have action by tomorrow we have a legal and moral obligation to start forewarning people,” Walker said a Thursday night press conference.
The layoffs would take effect April 1, the governor said.
Walker’s threat to start laying off workers capped the third week of a high-stakes drama playing out in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, a Dane County judge on Thursday issued an order barring demonstrators from the state Capitol after business hours. During protests, some demonstrators have been sleeping inside the building. The order from Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge John Albert gave the state Department of Administration the authority to forcibly remove anyone who refuses.