Several bills before the Wisconsin State Senate Tuesday - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Several bills before the Wisconsin State Senate Tuesday

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Several bills are before the Wisconsin State Senate Tuesday.

WKOW 27 News Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann is covering today's senate session and will have more on today's votes on these key issues tonight on 27 news at 5pm and 6pm.

Bills going before the Senate today include:

New Requirements for Voucher Schools

Under a bill that's before the State Senate, private schools will have to meet new tougher requirements if they want to participate in the Wisconsin's voucher program.

The proposal that's up for a vote Tuesday has received support from both the State Department of Instruction and groups that advocate the voucher program.The program allows students to receive a taxpayer subsidy to pay for their private school tuition.

The Republican sponsored bill would require voucher schools to maintain accreditation from legitimate agencies. The previous state law only require schools to get accreditation but not necessarily keep it.

If approved, the new requirements would begin with the 2015 school year.

Extending Lobbying Donations

Lobbyist would be able to start giving money to a candidate running for office 6 weeks earlier under a proposed bill in the State Senate.

The Republican sponsored bill would allow donations starting on April 15th in election years. Currently no donations can be made until June 1st.

Driver Liability Bill

A new bill that's up for vote in the Senate limits parental liability for young drivers. Right now children under the age of 18 need a parent or other adult sponsor to sign and verify for their drivers license application, and therefore they are held liable for the negligence or misconduct by the driver.

Under Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman's bill the liability of the parent would be limited to $300,000.

Write-In Candidates would not have to be Counted

Celebrities and fictional characters who are wrote in on ballots wouldn't have to be counted anymore under a bill before the Senate.

Current law requires that very vote be counted for a candidate regardless who it is. Election officials call the practice time consuming.

The proposed bill would require that in most cases write-in candidates only be counted for registered candidates. The proposal received unanimous support in the Senate Elections Committee.

Limiting Voting

Under a bill the Republican-Controlled Senate is scheduled to vote on, in-person absentee voting would no longer be allowed on weekends.

This proposal is opposed by a variety of groups who view it as an attack on access to the polls, especially for minorities.

The bill up for vote would only allow in-person absentee voting between 8am and 7pm on weekdays in the 2 weeks before an election.

Propane Loan Program

The Wisconsin State Senate is prepared to put finishing touches on a bill that would create a loan program to help offset the high propane prices.

The proposed measure calls for the state to guarantee up to $2,500 in loans to purchase propane and heating supplies and pay down interest. However, the household income level couldn't exceed 200 percent of their county median household income to qualify.

The assembly overwhelmingly approved the bill last month, if approved in the Senate it would be sent to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

Milwaukee Mental Health

A bill that would take control of the troubled Milwaukee Mental Health Complex away from the county board is up for vote Tuesday in the State Senate.

The bipartisan proposal would give the control of the complex to a group of medical professionals, patients and family members. This vote comes after 6 patients died at the facility in 2012.

In addition to creating a new board the proposal would also require and extensive audit to be completed by December 1st which would consider whether the state should take over operations.

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