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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

 11:36 AM 

Sheridan says path for clean energy bill still being determined

Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan said it is still not decided if the "Clean Energy Jobs Act" will again be run through committee once the substitute amendment is final, or if it could go right to the floor for a vote.

"If there are significant changes, if there were things we hadn't discussed before that (going through committee again) would probably be the case," Sheridan said. "We'll take a look at it and see what makes the most sense."

Sheridan made the comments this morning at a press conference with other Assembly Democrats to tout the job creation initiatives on the calendar today. The Assembly is currently in recess for caucus.

Sheridan said he has been in ongoing discussions with Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker about the clean energy bill and other legislation. The substitute amendment is expected to be released today.

Sheridan said his priority with the payday lending bill is to pass a "strong bill" by the end of the session, but said he wasn't sure what form the final product will take. The Assembly passed a bill in February to regulate payday lenders, and the Senate is considering a different proposal today.

"There's a lot of work that's going on behind the scenes to come together on a package we can all agree upon," Sheridan said.

Among the bills the Assembly will consider today are bills to create two additional enterprise zones in Wisconsin, and a bill to offer tax incentives to enterprise zone businesses that create a supply chain with other in-state businesses.

Zach Brandon, executive assistant in the Department of Commerce, said the enterprise zone program was created as a recruitment tool in 2005 and was almost immediately successful in attracting Uline from Illinois to the state. He said the additional enterprise zones, adding to the current 10 zones, will mean there will be no wait for businesses who want to take advantage of the program.

Brandon said the enterprise zone program is designed for large employers, but the tax incentives for in-state supply chains will benefit small businesses who work with the major employers.

Also on the agenda today are bills to extend the dairy modernization tax credit and a bill that offers tax credits for food processing.

Sheridan also said the Assembly Dems continue to consider legislation to enact the BadgerCare Basic program, a health insurance program for individuals on the waiting list for BadgerCare Plus. The program would be paid for by monthly premiums from enrollees.

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