UPDATE: Assembly leaders strike deal to avoid overnight sessions - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Assembly leaders strike deal to avoid overnight sessions


MADISON (WKOW) -- Assembly leaders say they have reached an agreement that should put an end to marathon debates and overnight sessions.

Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) appeared at a news conference with other Assembly leaders Thursday morning to announce some changes to the chamber's rules.

One major change will be a consistent effort by minority and majority leaders to minimize the number of contentious bills scheduled on any one session day.

The leaders will also consult before each session day to determine how much time will be allotted for debate on a certain bill, from the time the bill is read to the time there is a vote for final passage.

However, those times can be extended if the debate warrants it.

Overnight debates have become common in the Assembly, including 61 straight hours of debate in March 2011 before Republicans passed a bill to limit collective bargaining for public sector employees.

Several other, more contentious changes are expected to be debated Thursday afternoon in the full Assembly, including a requirement that representatives adhere to a specific dress code if they want to speak on the floor.

Another measure would implement a three-strike policy for members of the public who break Assembly gallery rules.  Anyone who breaks the rules three times will not be allowed back in the gallery for the rest of that legislative session.

Rep. Barca also made mention of a so-called "nuclear option" Republicans were expected to introduce, but neither side would provide details on what that included.  Speaker Vos said while that option will be introduced, he would not allow it to come up for a vote.


MADISON (WKOW) -- State lawmakers have said job creation is their top priority this session.

But first, they'll have a debate about their debates.

Republican and democratic assembly leaders have met the past few days on new rules to prevent them from working late into the night and into the morning.

A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the proposal will be released Thursday  before the assembly takes them up.


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