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Thursday, May 19, 2011

 9:52 AM 

Voter ID vote set for 11 a.m.

Senate Org this morning set an 11 a.m. vote on legislation to require voters to show an ID at the polls, giving the chamber an hour to debate final passage after a marathon session Tuesday on the bill.

Dems used a procedural motion to block a final vote early Wednesday, forcing the Senate to return this morning.

Dems on the committee objected to the time limit, saying it limited debate, and Minority Leader Mark Miller complained Tuesday's session was only on the amendments before the body, not the bill's substance.

But Republicans countered the chamber spent more than 12 hours on the bill Tuesday, allowing more than enough time for adequate debate on the legislation.

Senate President Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, said Dems could use today's hour to caucus, but anything they do counts toward the time limit.

Remaining tensions over the Dems' decision to flee the chamber in February over the collective bargaining bill flared up again.

Assistant Minority Leader Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, complained debate has only been limited twice in the past 16 years, while Miller said the move set a bad precedent.

That drew a rebuke from Ellis, who pointed out the Senate took the voter ID to third reading back in February, but Dems made the decision to flee the state and miss out on the debate. He said it was disengenuous to accuse Republicans of limiting the debate.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Dems' complaint about the rules and procedures was becoming tough to take considering their boycott in February.

"When it's convenient, you want to play by the rules," he said. "When it's not, you don't."

The motion, approved 3-2, allows for other motions on the bill following the vote. Ellis said after the meeting Republicans anticipate Dems will object to messaging their actions and the move will allow them to avoid that manuever.


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