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Assembly scheduled to pass state budget

Published On: Jun 18 2013 07:02:14 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 19 2013 06:36:02 AM CDT

The state Assembly is scheduled to vote on passing the state budget after debate barely got off the ground on Tuesday.

The vote on passage is scheduled to happen at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

State lawmakers finished their day Tuesday after taking up one Democratic amendment that was tabled after lawmakers continued behind-the-scenes wranglings on the budget bill and only two members of the Assembly spoke on the floor.

“If you are a conservative in Wisconsin, and you choose not to vote for this budget, I cannot see a scenario where you would say you would ever vote for a budget,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington.

The state budget debate was supposed to be wrapped up for the day around 5 p.m. under the original plan agreed to by both parties. However, debate was delayed for most of the day and didn’t start until late Tuesday afternoon.

The Assembly came to the floor just after 11 a.m. and announced a planned 12-hour time limit for debate that is spread over Tuesday and Wednesday.

Republicans plan to offer one technical amendment to the bill, which is still in drafting and has held up the session all day.

“We want to guarantee since it is a technical amendment that we get it done right and that it is brought forward on a timely basis but hopefully by the end of the day today,” said Vos.

That amendment is expected to remove a cap on a property tax credit for veterans and make changes to provisions on high-capacity wells and the UW Center for Investigative Journalism.

“We’ll make it crystal clear today that the policies and budget numbers make this the most extreme anti-middle class budget that we’ve had certainly in a generation,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “All totaled, we will have 12 and 1/2 hours of debate on the state budget.”

Although lawmakers didn’t offer details, Vos said he was very confident no changes will be made to the budget outside of this amendment, which could explain the delay as they work with moderate republican senators, who have sought changes, before they would vote for the bill later this week.

Lawmakers say they will now come back at 9:30 Wednesday morning after both caucuses have seen and considered this technical amendment. They plan to continue debate until 5:30 Wednesday night.

One of the late additions to the budget includes giving the state Department of Natural Resources the authority to pass a rule restricting access to the proposed site of an iron ore mine near Lake Superior.

Another would delay for a year loosening requirements for high-capacity wells.

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