- Associated Press - Monday, March 17, 2014
Assembly not scheduled to take up big bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Bills to rewrite Common Core academic standards and limit regulations on sand mining in Wisconsin are not scheduled for votes in the state Assembly before it adjourns for the year.

The Assembly also did not schedule a vote on a bill to make cancer drugs in pill form more affordable or a measure limiting the state’s ability to regulate high capacity wells

They were not included in the tentative agenda for Thursday’s final planned meeting day that was released on Monday. That agenda will be finalized on Tuesday and proposals could be added or dropped then.

The Assembly was to wrap up its work Thursday with the Senate planning to meet Tuesday and April 1.

Bills that don’t clear both chambers in identical form are dead for the year.

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Veterans call for end to asbestos lawsuit bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Veterans opposed to a bill affecting asbestos-exposure lawsuits in Wisconsin urged Gov. Scott Walker on Monday to stop the measure, arguing that it would deny justice to asbestos victims.

The heavily lobbied proposal would require plaintiffs who have suffered from asbestos exposure to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to sue. They would also have to go after money from an asbestos trust before they could sue for more in court.

Proponents, including Wisconsin’s chamber of commerce and Republican sponsors, argue the bill is needed to prevent filing multiple claims against both trust funds set up to pay victims of asbestos exposure as well as individual businesses.

Opponents who gathered Monday strongly disagreed.

“If you think that the bill is protecting the rights of victims, it is not. It is about protecting corporations,” said a tearful Renee Simpson, state commander of the Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars. She held up a picture of her dad, a U.S. Army veteran, who died in 2013 nine months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

The Senate passed the bill last week on a narrow 17-16 vote. A similar version previously passed the Assembly and it’s expected to pass again Thursday, the last day of the session, which would send it to Walker.

Walker said Monday in Milwaukee that he has heard from veterans on both sides of the issue, and he’s waiting to see what happens in the Legislature.

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