MADISON - State lawmakers will have their hands full Wednesday. The Assembly adjourned around 5:30 Tuesday night, after debating the $70 billion state budget for only 15 minutes.
That's all because of some Republican-sponsored amendments brought forward Tuesday morning.
Hours after recessing for the day, Assembly Democrats were still reviewing the changes.
Both sides agreed to limit debate to 12 ½ hours over two days, but it turns out on Tuesday they didn't have to limit much of anything.
The State Assembly was only on the floor for a few minutes, before recessing for several hours. Action was delayed on Tuesday while lawmakers waited for a Republican-sponsored amendment that makes a series of changes.
Assembly Speaker Republican Robin Vos says some of those changes include removing a cap for a property tax credit for disabled veterans and changing release rules for Department of Public Instruction.
"I believe that the technical language in the agreement will go through both houses without any amendments," explained Vos, R-Rochester.
But Democrats say the changes are far from technical. And they told reporters they wanted to debate those proposals before taking up any other budget items.
"We arrived this morning, expecting to have the entire budget in front of us, and it seems like its changing by the minute," explained Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.
When it comes to the budget as a whole, the Democrats plan to present more than 200 amendments. They feel the budget needs to change.
"This is a completely, anti-middle class, anti-job development type of budget and it's so unfortunate," Barca explained.
However, leaders of the Republican-controlled Assembly say otherwise.
"At least people on this side of the aisle know that Wisconsin is moving in the right direction," Vos said.
The Assembly is scheduled to reconvene Wednesday morning at 9:30.
Republican leaders told reporters Tuesday night, no matter what, the final budget vote will take place by 5:30 Wednesday night.
Republicans hold a 60 to 39 majority in the Assembly.
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