UPDATE: Biennial budget passes Assembly overnight - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Biennial budget passes Assembly overnight


MADISON (WKOW) -- At 3:05 a.m. Thursday, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed the two-year budget bill on a party-line vote, 60-38.

After the vote Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said, "We feel good there were no tax increases, no fee increases, to put the state in the right direction is something we feel good about, a good strong vote, all Republicans supporting it."

Rep. Barca said afterwards, "Wisconsin middle class families feel they are under attack."

The vote came after 13 hours of debate. 

Democrats railed against the plan, repeatedly calling it an assault on middle class working families. They pointed to deep cuts to public education, the University of Wisconsin, and programs designed to help the poor.

But Republicans defended it, saying it makes the tough choices necessary to deal with a $3 billion shortfall and position the state for economic growth in the future.

The bill is scheduled for consideration in the State Senate later Thursday during their session.

Keep tuned to 27 News and WKOW.com for more information.


MADISON (WKOW) -- As of 11 p.m. the Assembly is still debating the two-year budget. At 7 p.m. a Republican amendment was released.

After a two hour caucus, lawmakers returned to the floor to continue debating the Democrat amendments.

Most of the changes in the GOP amendment were technical things expected throughout the day.

Under the amendment, proposed changes to school vouchers would not be expanded to Green Bay. It would also allow WiscNet to keep more than $35 million in federal funds and allow public employee contributions to be taken out pre-tax.

Under Act 10 (Collective Bargaining Act) public employees would make contributions after they pay taxes, which would have reduced their check.

Rep. Vos says, "The amendment we're adopting today makes everything pre tax so it saves employees a lot of money, it cost the Wisconsin Treasury $95 million but that is all money that will remain in the employees hands."

The amendment also exempts transit workers from the collective bargaining law.

In response to the GOP amendment Assembly minority leader Peter Barca says, "Most of them are technical in nature, so the vast majority don't raise objections. It's just modifying what's already done that is so objectionable to us."

The minority party argued throughout the debate that Republicans are balancing the $3 billion budget deficit on the backs of the middle class and children.

Democrats introduced their "Big 10" amendments; ten large group amendments ranging from education to healthcare to tax credits.

So far, debate has been civil and protests have been minimal. Half a dozen protesters were carried out of the gallery in the beginning of the debate. There have been no interruptions since.

Debate is expected to continue overnight into the early morning. Once the bill passes the Assembly it will head to the Senate for a full vote.

Assembly Republicans say they have worked closely with the Senate and don't anticipate any changes as they take up debate Thursday.

Follow 27 News' Colby Robertson on Twitter @crobertson_wkow for the very latest from the Capitol, and she'll have a full report tomorrow on Wake Up Wisconsin.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The roll call in the Assembly came at 2:00 p.m. -- more than 24 hours behind schedule.

Rep. Peter Barca, (D-Kenosha), gave an opening statement, saying middle class families are "being backed over."

Rep. Robin Vos, (R-Burlington), says, "This budget has so many good things in it."

Rep. Mark Pocan, (D-Madison), says, there is no truth to the budget, and that the only truth is it's an assault on the middle class.

"We will pass a budget this week that eliminates our deficit," Assembly majority leader Scott Suder, (R-Abbotsford), says. "It will actually leave us with a surplus in the biennium."

Three protesters were carried out by three state troopers.

Follow 27 News' Colby Robertson on Twitter @crobertson_wkow for the very latest from the Capitol, and she'll have a full report tonight on 27 News at 5.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Assembly is now scheduled to take up debate on the budget at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

A spokesperson with Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, told the media that they are still waiting on drafting.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Assembly has delayed the start of the budget debate once again.

At 9:15 a.m. Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, came to the floor and said that they were still waiting on drafting.

Suder said, "Hang tight. We should be on the floor within the hour."


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Assembly delayed the start of its budget debate until 9 a.m. today.

Republican leaders decided around 10:15 p.m. to delay the start of the debate because it was going to take several more hours to draft amendments.

People in the gallery began singing when lawmakers made the announcement in the nearly empty Assembly chamber.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald says there are no deadlines in mind for when debate will end on Wednesday. The Senate is scheduled to take up the bill on Thursday.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Assembly has begun to debate Governor Scott Walker's proposed two year budget today. Republican leaders say with confidence this is a responsible budget and it will pass.

At a press conference Tuesday, Joint Finance co-chair Robin Vos, R-Burlington, said, "There are no tax increases, at all, inside this budget."

Assembly Republicans say the budget on the floor Tuesday balances the state's books with a possible rainy day fund for the future.

Assembly Jeff Speaker Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, says, "To do that without raising taxes, without raising fees, without using one time gimmicks, to do that is remarkable. I personally didn't know if we could get there in one session, but we are going to do it."

Speaker Fitzgerald says we can expect collective bargaining to be put in the budget through a floor amendment if the state supreme court doesn't rule on the case before Tuesday.

They are convening in extraordinary session giving the majority party more flexibility and the minority party less opportunity to delay.

Speaker Fitzgerald says, "If there are any objections to our budget or objections to messaging it over to the Senate it would delay that so an extraordinary session would give us the tools to send it over to the Senate right away."

Rep. Donna Seidel, D-Wausau, says, "It appears to be the strategy that anything can happen and things can continue to be rushed through with little or no scrutiny."

Democrats will likely bring dozens of amendments to the floor, possibly hundreds but they will start with major amendments addressing cuts to education and changes to healthcare.

Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, says, "As we go through this week our caucus continues to talk about inequities as the budget goes forward. I don't believe rhetoric matches reality."

As for how long it will go, speaker Fitzgerald said he fully expects to debate for a day or two, but it will really depend on collective bargaining and the number of amendments democrats bring to the floor.

Republicans will have a few technical changes, but this budget will look very similar to what went through Joint Finance.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Debate of Governor Scott Walker's two-year budget begins Tuesday in the Assembly.

Republican lawmakers have said if the proposal taking away collective bargaining rights from most public workers remains tied up in court, it may get added to the budget this week.

Assembly Democrats will discuss their strategy for Tuesday's budget debate Monday at 11:00 a.m.

27 News' Colby Robertson will be there and bring you the latest on Twitter and 27 News at 5, 6 and 6:30.

Powered by Frankly