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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

 6:27 PM 

Bill to override sick leave ordinance headed to governor

The Assembly has concurred in SB 23, which would pre-empt local governments from requiring employers to provide leave to deal with family, medical or health issues -- including the city of Milwaukee's sick leave ordinance.

Lawmakers voted 59-35 to back the bill, which now heads to the governor's desk. Gov. Walker said this afternoon he'd be inclined to sign it.

Democrats ripped the proposal as an assault on local control and a "slap in the face to the people of the city of Milwaukee."

"Who are we, as a legislative body, to question 69 percent of voters in the city of Milwaukee?" asked Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, noting the margin that supported the binding referendum to enact the sick leave ordinance in November of 2008.

"We're questioning their ability to make decisions, we're questioning their ability to go to the voting booth."

Rep. Chris Danou, D-Trempealeau, noted that no co-sponsors of the bill reside in Milwaukee, while Rep. Cory Mason argued that lawmakers should be advocating for more referendums to directly hear from the public.

"You can't undo a local referendum just because you don't like the results," said Mason, D-Racine. "It's just wrong."

Rep. Richard Spanbauer, R-Oshkosh, countered that he supports local control, and that members of both parties voted to override local smoking ordinances in the statewide smoking ban bill.

Spanbauer said he supported the smoking ban in part because the wide variety of different local standards was hurting businesses in his district.

"I think the bottom line on this is that it is hurting business," Spanbauer said.

Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, said voters are increasingly afraid of GOP proposals, likening the caucus to "a cult" and "Night of the Living Dead."

When Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Kramer interjected to ask if Berceau was calling the Republicans zombies, she responded, "That would be a compliment."


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