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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

 9:39 PM 

Senate holds off on another elections bill after Dems block final vote

Dems held off a final vote on an elections bill on that extends the window for lobbyist campaign contributions to legislative candidates, among other smaller elections changes.

Dems once again objected to third reading of the bill, meaning it could not be taken up until tomorrow.

Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, said that the most controversial parts of the bill have been stripped -- language regarding lobbyists "furnishing" gifts has been removed, and other language has been tuned down based on the GAB's recommendation.

"The bill, while it received a whole lot of attention when it came out and was portrayed as being something new in the session, what we did was size it down," Lazich said.

Dem Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, offered an amendment to the bill that would require disclosure for spending made by outside interest groups prior to an election.

"It's not a freedom of speech issue by any means. You are a coward if you don't put your name on something you're financially responsible for," Erpenbach said.

After some debate, that amendment was deemed not germane because it expanded the scope of Lazich's bill.

Another amendment was drafted to push back the date when lobbyists can donate to legislative candidates to June. However, Lazich cited a memo from Legislative Council saying they would likely not be able to receive contributions this year until May 21, when the veto review floor period ends.




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