UPDATE: Wisconsin GOP Lawmaker Explains 'No' Vote on Budget

UPDATE: (AP) -- One of three Assembly Republicans who voted against the state budget says he had made up his mind a long time ago.

Representative Steve Kestell of Elkhart Lake said Wednesday that his "no" vote was because the budget contains too many non-fiscal policy items he opposes or didn't have time to understand.

Two other Republicans, Representatives Steve Nass and Howard Marklein, joined Kestell and 39 Democrats in opposition. Messages left for Nass and Marklein were not immediately returned.

Nass had promised earlier in the week to vote against the plan.

The Assembly vote came after Democrats surprisingly decided against offering any amendments or prolonging debate, saying the $70 billion spending plan can't be fixed.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on the budget.


UPDATE: (AP) -- 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.

The Assembly was scheduled to spend all day Tuesday on the plan, but discussions among Republicans on more than two dozen changes caused a delay. Lawmakers spent only 15 minutes debating the plan as talks dragged on behind the scenes.

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.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Assembly plans to begin debate of the state budget, with Republicans hoping to fight back any significant changes to the $70 billion two-year spending plan.

The budget up for debate Tuesday would cut income taxes by $650 million, extend private school vouchers statewide, and reject a federally funded Medicaid expansion.

The proposal would also allow for the sale of public properties, including prisons and state highways, create a bail bondsmen program, change rules for high capacity wells, and remove residency requirements for local government workers.

Assembly debate is scheduled to last all day Tuesday and then resume Wednesday. A vote is expected Wednesday afternoon. The Senate will then take it up on Thursday.

The budget must pass both houses in identical form before heading to Gov. Scott Walker.


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