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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

 10:02 AM 

Fitzgerald's office says vote on oral chemo bill possible today

After bottling up the bill through procedural moves, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is now indicating a vote may occur on legislation that would require health insurance plans to cover oral chemotherapy.

A Fitzgerald spokeswoman said the majority leader planned to discuss in caucus this morning whether to bring the bill up for a vote. The Senate is scheduled to hit the floor later this morning.

"He stressed that there is definitely still some uncertainty about this bill," said spokeswoman Myranda Tanck.

Fitzgerald's decision to hold up the bill has come under scrutiny over the last week, particularly since his brother, former Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, has been lobbying against the legislation. Scott Fitzgerald has acknowledged the bill likely has the needed support to pass the Senate, but has said he does not have the support of 17 Senate Republicans. That means it would require Dem votes to clear the chamber.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, promised this morning a fight over the bill with the session winding down. Besides today, the Senate is only expected to be in April 1 before adjourning.

"I have drafted an amendment to add the Oral Chemo bill to every bill we have scheduled on the floor today," Erpenbach posted on his Facebook page this morning. "With only two days left in session, there is nothing more important. We have to get this done! #wipolitics #sb300"

Gov. Scott Walker suggested yesterday the bill could still receive a vote in the Legislature before session's end despite moves by Fitzgerald and Speaker Robin Vos to hold up the legislation.

"Just looking at the number of sponsors .. both in the Republican caucus and the Democrat caucus, I would not be surprised if it ultimately ...ended up on our desk," Walker said during a stop in Milwaukee.

A Vos spokeswoman said late yesterday the Assembly GOP also planned a discussion on the bill in caucus today; she added the guv's office hasn't lobbied Vos to take up the bill.


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