State Senate moves bills forward on final session day

Number of measures will die this session
State Senate moves bills forward on final session day

The State Senate has passed legislation making oral chemotherapy more affordable, requiring independent investigations of police shootings and legalizing a marijuana oil to treat childhood seizures. But a number of other measures will die this session after not getting a vote on the floor.

The chemotherapy bill took center stage for much of Tuesday afternoon with a disagreement over an amendment added to the bill in the Assembly.

“Remember that this is poison,” Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, said. “This amendment puts a $100 copay at least, on poison.”

“I think that if we send a message to the Assembly from the Senate that this will not stand because we care about people more than you think we do,” Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center said, who advocated for sending the bill back to the Assembly without the amendment.

“Look, I’m not happy with this amendment,” said Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and author of the oral chemo bill. “I’m not happy with it, I liked our bill a lot better. I sent out a recommendation that the Assembly look at our bill and not amend it. That didn’t fly, they did amend it. That’s their right to do that.”

The bill ultimately passed 26-7.

What’s not on the agenda? Bills passed in the Assembly to crack down on drunken driving were not put on Tuesday’s calendar, including one that passed unanimously in a Senate committee to require operating-while-intoxicated offenders to appear in front of a judge.

“I thought it would be very broadly accepted but there were a few people that felt it would add costs and we couldn’t get them to move it,” said Darling, an author of the bill.

Another bill to raise the speed limit in the state will also die this session. Democrats also lament that same-sex marriage bills or measures to raise the minimum wage didn’t move.

“It’s a frustrating day to say the least, and I think not just for me as a Democrat but for the people of Wisconsin,” said Sen. Chris Larson, Senate Minority Leader. “They really want to see us come together and actually work through some problems but unfortunately we’re seeing more of the same.”

Neither house of the legislature is expected to be back in session for the rest of the year, unless the governor would call lawmakers back for some reason. At this point, he’s only said that would be to re-do voter ID legislation.

Instead, lawmakers will now head out on the campaign trail for the remainder of the year.