UPDATE: Assembly, Senate pass Walker's bill to balance budget - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Assembly, Senate pass Walker's bill to balance budget


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin 14 return to the senate floor for the first time since mid February. It has been more than 6 weeks since all 33 Senators were on the floor together and in their first time back together, they passed legislation with bi-partisan support.

Given it was their first day back together, no one really knew what to expect including the Senators, but, overall, it was a very civil day of debate.

They took up Governor Walker's second version of the budget repair bill and passed it with support from Democrats. For the first time in more than six weeks, all 33 seats on the senate floor were full. The first piece of legislation they took up was Governor Walker's 2nd version of the budget repair bill. For the most part debate was very civil.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says, "We made sure we kept tempers in control and made sure we didn't lash out and I think we did that today."

Republicans say this bill will plug the states $137 million budget deficit for this fiscal year. Democrats got heated at times arguing this is the bill they wanted back in February. A bill with fiscal elements and no collective bargaining.

Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) says, "This bill, the one before us today, the one I will vote for, one I would've voted for in February if it was introduced in the same fashion it was today had that bill been introduced we would have the polarization in this state. We would not have demonstrations, we not have anxiety, we would not have this split."

Senator Jauch, Senator Cullen and Senator Holperin were the three Democrats who voted for the bill. Giving the senate's first piece of legislation since the Democrats left bi-partisan support.

A sign the senate is putting the past behind them and moving forward to show the public the two sides can get along and work together.

Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) says, "Frankly I think there was more nervousness over what others would do but it was like no other day. We came to work and we spoke about the issues where we disagree."

Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) says,"Everybody wanted this work, we just need to show the people the legislature can work and that's what happened today."

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said after the session if the courts don't rule on the collective bargaining law soon, it will be rolled into the full budget.

After the Senate voted on the Governor's budget repair bill 22-11 it went directly to the Assembly. They passed it 58-36. It will now head to Governor Walker's desk. The Senate and Assembly have adjourned until Thursday.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Walker's plan to fix the state's projected $137 million shortfall in the state budget has passed the Senate and the Assembly and is headed to Gov. Walker's desk to be signed.

It was the first piece of legislation the Senators took up today. Three Democrats joined 19 Republicans to pass the bill through. Portions of the bill passed had been included in Gov. Walker's budget repair bill but were taken out before Republicans passed it last month with no Democrats present. This vote is the first one by the 14 Democratic senators since early February when they left the state.

Gov. Walker says it could save the state $165 million through refinancing of debt.

Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), released the following statement on Senate passage of the Balanced Budget Bill, "No matter what drama and politics are surrounding us, Wisconsin needs a balanced budget. This bill gets us back to doing what our constituents elected us to do: improve the economy, create jobs and balance the budget."

Back on Feb. 17, the Democrats crossed the state line, the day the Senate was to vote on Gov. Walker's original budget repair bill. On March 9, the bill was altered so Republicans could pass it with a lower quorum and no Democrats present. The law has not taken effect because of an ongoing court fight.

27 News' Colby Robertson will have more from today's session tonight on 27 News.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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