State Senate debates multiple bills - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State Senate debates multiple bills

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MADISON (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Senate debated multiple issues and bills on Tuesday.

One of the bills that were passed is for a propane loan program.  Under the bill, the state would guarantee up to $2,500 in loans to purchase propane or other heating supplies and pay down interest.  The borrower's household income could not be higher than double the county median household income.  Now, the measure gets sent to Governor Scott Walker for his signature.

The Senate also approved a bill that would take control of the troubled Milwaukee mental health complex away from the county board and give it to a group of medical professionals, patients, and family members.  Opponents to the bill say control should not be taken away from elected local officials on the Milwaukee County Board.

A change to the DNA law was passed by the Senate as well.  The Senate voted to change a state law that requires police to collect DNA from people arrested for felonies.  The change has it for DNA to go directly to the state crime lab rather than a local law enforcement agency.  Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says delaying getting the DNA to the crime lab needlessly complicated the law, which takes effect in April 2015.

A bill that would limit parents' liability for young drivers is closer to passing.  Currently, children under 18 years old need a parent or adult sponsor to sign and verify their driver's license application.  That makes the parents or sponsors liable for the driver's negligence.  Senator Glenn Grothman's bill would limit that liability to a total of $300,000; the current law has no limit.  Senator Fred Risser says if liability is going to be capped the parent should be required to have at least that much insurance.  Democrats used a procedural move to block a vote on final passage until Wednesday.

Lobbyists would be able to start giving money to candidate for office nearly seven weeks earlier under a bill.  The bill would allow lobbyist to start giving donations starting on April 15 in election years; currently, they can't make any until June 1.  Democrats blocked a vote on final passage until Wednesday.

The Wisconsin state Senate has moved closer to passing a bill opponents say would slow asbestos-exposure lawsuits, many of which are brought by veterans.  The measure would require plaintiffs to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to go after.  A final vote on passage will be on Wednesday.  The Assembly passed a similar version of this bill last year.


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