Senate Republicans, Democrats say it's time to move forward - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Senate Republicans, Democrats say it's time to move forward


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- After weeks of political stalemate, there are signs of reconciliation among state senators.

Less than 24 hours after deciding Senate Democrats votes in committee won't count, the senate majority leader backs down rescinding that decision, among other orders.

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate agree it's time to move forward; an idea that seemed far fetched just yesterday.

Monday, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced Senate Democrats remain in contempt and any votes cast in committee would not count, but Tuesday he changed his mind.

For the first time in more than a month, the Wisconsin State Senate appears to be putting the past behind them and making moves to work together.

Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says, "What we want to do is move the senate forward."

Sen. Fitzgerald announced he is rescinding the orders of contempt against the 14 Senate Democrats thus allowing their votes to count in committee.

Fellow Republican and Senate President Michael Ellis also says he will not enforce the $100 fines put in place each day Democrats miss session. He says it's time to, "stop bickering" and, "cool off."

Sen. Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) says, "Inside the Senate Chambers we need to have civility. We need to maintain decorum, we have to put people's agenda ahead of any animosity which may exist on either side."

UW Political Science Professor David Canon agrees politically changing gears was a good move for Republicans.

Canon says, "If I was an advisor to Fitzgerald or the other Republican leaders, I'd say look what you want to do right now is get this off the front page of the paper as quickly has you can, the longer you keep this in the news, the longer you're making this a partisan issue."

Republicans have been outraged over the Democrats decision to leave the state to prevent a vote on the budget repair bill, but Tuesday, it was Democratic Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) who proposed an idea that would prevent that move from being effective in future legislatures.

Cullen drafted this constitutional amendment removing the three-fifths quorum requirement to vote for any fiscal bill.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald quickly showed bi-partisan support by signing on as co-sponsor.

Scott Fitzgerald says, "I like the idea of making sure this never happens again to any legislature no matter who is in control."

Sen. Fred Risser (D-Janesville) says, "It's been in the constitution a long time and it has never created any problems and I wouldn't anticipate it wouldn't create problems in the future."

For all involved on both sides of the aisle, this has movement toward reconciliation is exactly what was needed to move forward in the Senate and bring some normalcy back to the Capitol.

Fitzgerald says, "What we're trying to do is move forward to a place where we can be productive again as a body and with assurances, some members of the democratic caucus have given me, that's going to happen."

In order for Sen. Cullen's proposal to take affect two consecutive legislative sessions would have to approve it. It would also have to be approved by voters statewide either in a fall or spring election.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic state senators, who left the state for 3 weeks to stall voting on Gov. Walker's budget repair bill, will have votes they cast in committee counted and other penalties imposed against them will be rescinded.

Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Sen. Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) tell 27 News they will not prevent democrats from voting in committee. They're rescinding fines and will not hold the democrats in contempt anymore.

Republican senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald had told WKOW 27 News Monday he still considered the fourteen democratic senators in contempt of the senate despite their return to Wisconsin on Saturday.

Sen. Fitzgerald and Sen. Ellis told 27 News on Tuesday it's time to move forward.

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