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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

 12:36 PM 

Senate passes transpo fund protection

The Senate has passed the first consideration of a constitutional amendment to create a firewall around transportation funds. The first consideration of the joint resolution passed with bipartisan support on a 26-6 vote.

Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, is absent today after giving birth to a daughter on Sunday.

The constitutional amendment must be passed by both houses of the Legislature in two consecutive sessions and approved by voters to become law.

Sen. Randy Hopper, a lead author of the legislation, said the constitutional amendment will protect the fund from "both political parties" who have used the fund to plug budget holes.

"Raids on the transportation fund have been all-too-easy for a fall back for past administrations," Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, said.

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said the amendment is "a good deal for the highway lobby."

I don't think we need to constitutionally segregate highway funds," he said.

Risser said the amendment takes away legislative prerogative over budgeting.

"Don't you trust this body to do what's best with the state's money?" he asked.


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