COPY-UPDATE: Senate passes state budget after delay - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

COPY-UPDATE: Senate passes state budget after delay

MADISON (WKOW) -- The state Senate approved the state budget Friday morning, about 14 hours after debate began on Thursday.

The measure passed on a 17-16 vote. Sen. Dale Schultz was the only Republican to vote against the plan.

It now heads to Gov. Scott Walker's desk. He has not commented on what he may veto, if anything at all.

Senators were scheduled to vote on the budget around 10:15 p.m. Thursday, but Democratic Sen. Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee objected to a third reading of the bill. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald motioned to adjourn until 12:01 a.m. Friday.

During debate earlier in the day, Republicans tabled every amendment proposed by Democrats. 

The $70 billion spending plan includes an income tax cut, an expansion of the school voucher program and rejects a federal expansion of Medicaid.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Senate Democrats used a procedural move to delay the passage of the state budget.

Sen. Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee objected to a third reading of the bill, so Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald motioned to adjourn until 12:01 a.m. Friday.

At that time, the Senate is expected to approve the budget.

Every Democratic sponsored amendment was rejected over 12 hours of debate, but Democrats wouldn't allow the budget to come up for a final vote.

Democrats tried to undo the voucher expansion, alter the income tax cut to benefit the middle class more and accept federal money to expand Medicaid.

The $70 billion spending plan will head to Gov. Scott Walker once it passes the Senate as expected early Friday morning. The Assembly passed it Wednesday.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Nearly 40 amendments put forth by Democrats to change the state budget have been met with strong resistance by Republicans in the Senate so far.

The Senate is expected to pass the Assembly version of the budget tonight, sending it to Gov. Scott Walker's desk for a signature.

Republicans have already said no to a Democratic amendment aimed at job creation and to another that would have saved UW-Madison's relationship with the Center for Investigative Journalism.

Senate Democrats started the day by saying the Republican budget simply doesn't do enough to create jobs.

"We heard the rhetoric last session that we were gonna focus like a laser on jobs, but then somehow the laser got pointed at women's uterus's and everything else," said Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). 

While no Republicans supported the Democrats job creation changes, one was very supportive of several others.  Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) joined Democrats on a number of measures.

"Without these amendments, I cannot support the bill which is before us today, because its too far removed from representing the interests of the common men and women I represent," said Sen. Schultz.

One would have saved the Center for Investigative Journalism's arrangement to have office space at UW-Madison and work with students and faculty there.

"But because the Center broke the story about the recent Supreme Court...couple of Supreme Court justices not getting along, let's boot them off campus.  I don't know what that does for Wisconsin's economy.  I don't know what that does to create a job," said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton).

"We are not muzzling them.  Nobody is gonna prevent Bill Lueders from continuing to investigate things," said Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend).  "And I hope he does investigate things.  I hope he will because I see there's enough independent money coming in outside of the UW that I think he will."

Bill Lueders is one of the Center's reporters.

But that and every other non-fiscal policy item will stay in the budget, which Republicans say not only cuts taxes, but funds health care and schools.

"The two most driving factors of our budget were Medicaid and education," said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).  "Those were the two components that got the most new investment.  And I'm very proud of that."

The Senate has also struck down a number of amendments aimed at abolishing a statewide school choice expansion.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have the latest from the Senate budget debate on 27 News after Game 7 of the NBA Finals.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Senate Democrats plan to introduce 32 separate amendments that would gut just about everything Republicans hold dear in the 2013-15 state budget, but few have any chance of passage.

The Senate started debate on the budget at approximately 10:30 a.m. Thursday and are expected to go for 10 to 12 hours before taking a vote.

The Democratic amendments would eliminate a provision to expand school choice statewide, accept the full expansion of Medicaid in Wisconsin and remove all non-fiscal policy items from the budget.

The Democrats also seek to restore the Center for Investigative Journalism's presence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and remove a provision to allow bounty hunters in the state.

Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) co-sponsored a number of the amendments, but may be the only Republican who will support any of them.

At least need two Republicans would have to join Democrats in supporting an amendment in order for it to pass.


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