Politics

The Latest: Senate unanimously approves youth prison bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on action in the Wisconsin Legislature (all times local):

3:05 p.m.
The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller regional facilities.

The Senate voted without any debate Tuesday to pass the plan, which largely mirrors what the Assembly unanimously approved last month.

The Assembly was expected to concur with the Senate's plan on Thursday, a vote that would send the bill to Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker had urged the Legislature to pass a juvenile justice plan before adjourning for the year. The proposal would put the most serious offenders under control of the state and other juveniles would be housed in county-run facilities.

Federal investigators have been looking into allegations of inmate abuse by guards at the Lincoln Hills prison for three years.
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3 p.m.
The Wisconsin Senate has approved a $100 per-child tax credit and a sales tax holiday the first weekend in August.

The Senate approved the bill 17-15 Tuesday. It is a priority of Gov. Scott Walker.

Approving the sales tax holiday was a reversal for Senate Republicans who had been publicly critical of that, deriding it as a gimmick.

The sales tax would be waived on pieces of clothing costing less than $75, a computer costing less than $750, computer supplies costing less than $250 and school supplies costing no more than $75.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says what will reduce the cost from $50 million to $12 million.
The Assembly was expected to vote Thursday on approving the scaled-back version of the bill after it previously passed the original proposal.
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2:30 p.m.
Some repeat drunken drivers would lose their licenses for life under a bill the Wisconsin Senate has passed on a voice vote.

The Republican measure approved Tuesday would require revocation of a person's license if they commit four or more operating while intoxicated offenses. The fourth offense would have to occur within 15 years of the third. People also could be revoked for life if they commit two or more OWIs and have two or more convictions for certain types of vehicular homicide within a 25-year period.

Offenders could apply to have their licenses reinstated after a decade.

The Assembly passed the measure in February. It now heads to Gov. Scott Walker for his consideration.
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1:45 p.m.
The Wisconsin Senate is slated to approve a $100 per-child tax credit and a sales tax holiday for the first weekend in August.

The bill up for a vote Tuesday is a priority of Gov. Scott Walker.

The sales tax would be waived on pieces of clothing costing less than $75, a computer costing less than $750, computer supplies costing less than $250 and school supplies costing no more than $75.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says what will reduce the cost of the bill as it passed the Assembly from $50 million to $12 million.

The Assembly was expected to vote Thursday on approving the scaled-back version of the bill after it previously passed the more expensive proposal.
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1:20 p.m.
The Wisconsin Senate is tweaking Gov. Scott Walker's school safety proposal, but still making $100 million in grants available to schools.

The Senate planned to vote Tuesday on the proposal with the Assembly following on Thursday.

The bill as introduced by Walker specifically referenced the grant money being available to pay for armed guards at schools, in addition to other safety improvements. The Senate removes references to armed guards, but doesn't prohibit using the money for that.

A new office of school safety would be created under the state Department of Justice, which would be in charge of the grants.

The Senate version also removes a provision allowing schools to share surveillance footage with law enforcement. And it also doesn't require the school to notify a parent or guardian within 48 hours of a bullying incident involving their child.
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12:10 p.m.
The Wisconsin Senate has reached deals to pass an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan, a $100 million school safety package and a $100 per-child tax rebate and sales tax holiday.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Tuesday that agreements had been reached on those three major proposals to allow them to clear both the Senate and Assembly this week.

All three had been in jeopardy as Republicans were trying to break an impasse before the session ends this week. Fitzgerald says after the Senate passes them the Assembly will convene on Thursday for final approval in an extraordinary session.

The juvenile justice plan will closely mirror was the Assembly unanimously passed. The bill would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller, regional facilities run by the state or counties.
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11:10 a.m.
Republicans appear to be making progress to break an impasse on a number of Gov. Scott Walker's priorities that have been hung up in the Legislature.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told reporters Tuesday that the Senate was nearing a deal on a juvenile justice overhaul package and a school safety plan. Fitzgerald says the Senate also plans to approve Walker's $100 per-child tax rebate with a sales tax holiday, even though Republican senators had previously said they thought that was a gimmick.

Fitzgerald's comments come on the final planned session day of the Senate.

Senators still haven't released what school safety plan they will support. The Assembly Education Committee held a hearing Tuesday on Walker's proposals, which include $100 million in grants for armed guards at schools.
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10:46 a.m.
Gov. Scott Walker's $100 million school safety plan is being considered by the Wisconsin Assembly Education Committee as Republican senators meet privately to decide whether they will sign off on it.

Walker continued his tour of Wisconsin schools on Tuesday to urge Republicans to reach agreement on the school safety plan and pass it this week. Walker was at an elementary school in Ashwaubenon.

Walker proposed six school safety bills, including a $100 million grant program to help Wisconsin schools pay for armed officers. The hearing on that bill came just hours after a school resource officer at a Maryland high school fired at a shooter who died.

Democrats and others have criticized the school safety plan for not imposing tougher gun control measures like reinstating a 48-hour waiting period and universal background checks.
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11:10 p.m.
A stalemate in the Wisconsin Legislature among Republican leaders is threatening to derail several of Gov. Scott Walker's priorities as the Senate plans to convene for its final day in session.

Hanging in the balance Tuesday are Walker's $100 million school safety plan, an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul that includes closing the troubled Lincoln Hills prison and a $100 per-child tax rebate.

The bills must pass both the Senate and Assembly in identical form. But the Senate is expected to vote on different versions of each of those proposals before ending its work for the year Tuesday night.

That puts the pressure on the Assembly to return and vote on Senate versions of the bills, something Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has repeatedly said will not happen.
 


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