UPDATE: Senate committee takes up voter ID; Dems still absent - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Senate committee takes up voter ID; Dems still absent


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Senate remains stalled unable to vote on Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill as they still need one Senate Democrat to reach quorum, but Senate Republicans can and are moving forward with non-fiscal bills.

Senate Republicans continue to move forward in session without Senate Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says they're prepared to do so as long as Democrats stay away.

It was a quiet day on the Senate floor and up in the balcony as protestors stayed out in the rotunda. The 19 Republicans quickly passed three non-controversial measures. They voted on the appointment of Eloise Anderson as Secretary of the Department of Children. They also passed a resolution honoring the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The third measure they passed was regarding an Ag Tax Bill.

Around 1:00 p.m. a Senate Committee took up Voter ID and that's when things got heated.

Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) says, "We are under a call of the house. Will you be here shortly? If you will be here I'll wait. Will you be here?"

Democrats have opposed the legislation requiring people to show ID at the polls. Democratic Senator Jon Erpenbach joined the committee by phone, but because of the call of the house Republican Committee Chairperson Mary Lazich told Erpenbach he couldn't vote.

Over the phone, Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) says, "Mary, do you want the headlines to be Republicans won't let Democrats vote." Senator Lazich offered to wait for Erpenbach to return to Wisconsin, but he said it was up to Governor Walker to determine when he would return.

The Senate Committee did pass the voter ID requirement and did not count Senator Erpenbach's vote. Senator Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) was absent from the meeting.

Meanwhile, thousands of protestors remain inside the Capitol, but it is a completely different picture from last week. Dozens of State Troopers have blocked off south wing of the Capitol. That's because last week protestors were right here, banging on the windows right outside the Senate chamber something Senator Fitzgerald says is a security concern that needed to be taken care of.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says, "I'm much more okay with the situation we have today. What we were really concerned about the Senators were locked down in Chamber, Presidents room or my office. They've got to be able to have access to their staff and their offices and that was not available last week."

Senator Fitzgerald says they're checking to see if there is any way to call the Democratic senators back other than the Call of the House.

Republicans are hoping that votes on controversial bills like voter ID will force Democrats, who want a voice in the matter, to come back to Wisconsin.

The Senate will be back on the floor at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday. They plan to take up a measure commending the Wisconsin Badger Football team as well as Senate Bill 15 which has to do with law enforcement training standards.

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Committee on Transportation and Elections have begun the executive session on a proposed voter identification bill.

The bill would require voters to show a photo ID in order to vote at a polling place or obtain an absentee ballot.

Democratic Sen. Erpenbach joins the session over the phone. Sen. Lazich says Erpenbach can't vote over the phone but says she'll wait for him to arrive.

Sen. Erpenbach and the rest of the Democratic Senators crossed the state border last week in order to delay a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill. They have not yet returned to Madison. The bill moves through committee. Sen. Erpenbach's vote doesn't count. Lazich says it's up to Sen. Fitzgerald to decide when voter ID will hit the floor.

Five state troopers are in the parlor.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Senate Republicans took the floor this morning without Senate Democrats.

Several state troopers were present in the balcony.

Traffic held up two senators from arriving on time. When they arrived, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald asked for another call of the House.

The Senate went over the appointment of Eloise Anderson to the Department of Children and Families. It passed unanimously 18-0.

Lawmakers also commended the Green Bay Packers. The Senate passed a resolution honoring the Super Bowl XLV champions.

The Senate also took up the agriculture tax bill. Sen. Kapanke says the bill will ensure that agriculture growth continues in Wisconsin. It passed 19-0.

Sen. Fitzgerald then asked for the call of the house on regular session.

Fitzgerald has requested the leave of absence by Democratic Sen. Carpenter be denied.

27 News' Colby Robertson will have updates on-air, online and on the go.

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