UPDATE: Assembly Republicans want more money for school vouchers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Assembly Republicans want more money for school vouchers


MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin Assembly Republicans want to put additional money into the state budget for an expansion of the school voucher program.

Debate on the budget was delayed Tuesday while Republicans worked on an amendment.

A draft of the amendment obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows the plan calls for an additional $5 million for the voucher program.

Projections from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau show the change would bring another 750 students into the program.

The GOP amendment would also keep protesters away from the site of an iron ore mine near Lake Superior.

Democrats say they have more than 200 amendments and they plan to introduce them after they see the Republicans' changes.


MADISON (WKOW) -- After vowing to hold a six-hour debate on the state budget Tuesday, the State Assembly only made good on 15 minutes of budget discussions before recessing until Wednesday morning.

Democrats originally had over 200 amendments to the budget prepared, but planned to introduce them only after they saw what was included in a technical amendment the Republicans were working on Tuesday.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said the technical amendment would include small changes, such as the reinstatement of a property tax exemption for veterans.  But the GOP didn't finish that amendment it until after 5:00 p.m., nearly six hours after leaders of both parties had boasted about a more structured debate.

"We're giving more time, it is better managed, it will not be done in the middle of the night," said Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abottsford), the Assembly Majority Leader.  "We will be doing all of the state budget this year in full daylight.  And it will be a full healthy debate by both sides." 

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) echoed those sentiments.

"That's certainly a plus for the institution that we can do that, but more importantly its a plus for the people of Wisconsin so that they can actually tune in and understand what is transpiring on the most important action we will take in this legislative session," said Rep. Barca.

But after waiting until after 4:00 p.m. to start debate on the budget, the Assembly heard only three amendments presented by Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) before recessing for the rest of the night so both sides could review the Republican's technical amendment.  They will come back Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. and debate until 5:30 p.m.

But if today is any indication, that schedule may be somewhat unrealistic

The delays today could push everything back for both the Assembly and Senate, which both hope to have a budget passed by the end of the week.


MADISON (WKOW) -- State legislators have agreed to try and avoid all-night debate of the state budget in the Assembly, with a schedule that will allow for 12 1/2 hours of debate spread over Tuesday and Wednesday.

If they go by that schedule, budget debate would end by 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with a vote occurring before 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Past budget debates in the Assembly have gone all night and typically not wrapped up until the early morning hours.

The Assembly has been working under an agreement this year to avoid late-night debates and votes.

The Senate is scheduled to start debating the budget proposal Thursday.


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