- Associated Press - Thursday, March 22, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on state Assembly actions Thursday (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

The state Assembly has passed two school safety packages.

The Assembly approved a plan on a 78-8 vote Thursday that would lay out $100 million in grants for school security upgrades and require annual school safety drills. The Senate passed that legislation on Tuesday. It goes next to Gov. Scott Walker.

The Assembly also passed two more school safety bills. One would require the state Department of Justice to conduct background checks on long-gun buyers. Right now the federal government conducts those checks but Assembly Republicans said the DOJ would consult more state databases in its checks. The other bill would allow school boards to share surveillance camera footage with police. Both bills call for establishing an online hotline for reporting bullying and prohibiting attackers from profiting off their stories.

The bills passed on voice votes. They go next to the state Senate. That chamber wrapped up its two-year session on Tuesday and it wasn’t clear if Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald would reconvene the body to take up the bills. That led Assembly Democrats to accuse their Republican counterparts of simply trying to give themselves campaign talking points.


4:25 p.m.

Assembly Republicans are moving ahead with both their school safety plan and the Senate’s proposals.

The Senate passed a plan Tuesday that lays out $100 million in grants for school security upgrades, require annual safety drills and require all mandatory child abuse reporters to report any threats of school violence to police.

The Assembly is slated to vote on the Senate bill Thursday. Republicans who control the chamber also plan to pass their own package that includes prohibitions on school attackers profiting from their stories, establishing an online hotline for reporting bullying and requiring the state Justice Department to conduct background checks on long gun purchases. Right now the DOJ runs background checks on handgun purchases and the federal government conducts long gun checks.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the DOJ conducts far more through background checks than the federal government.

Assembly passage of the Senate plan would send that package to Gov. Scott Walker. It’s unclear if the Senate would reconvene to take up the Assembly legislation.


2:45 p.m.

The state Assembly has approved a scaled-back version of Gov. Scott Walker’s child tax rebate and sales tax holiday proposal.

Gov. Scott Walker proposed giving parents a one-time $100 per-child tax rebate and establishing a sales tax holiday on certain purchases during the first weekend in August.

The Assembly passed the plan in February. The Senate passed it on Tuesday but scaled back the items subject to the sales tax holiday. The tax would now be waived on clothing costing

Senate Republicans say the changes will save the state $38 million in revenue.

The Assembly approved the bill 59-31 Thursday. It goes next to Walker for his signature.


The bill is SB 798.


1:45 p.m.

The state Assembly has passed a Republican bill that would prohibit local governments from enacting a wide variety of employment regulations.

The chamber passed the bill on a voice vote Thursday, sending it on to Gov. Scott Walker.

The measure would block local officials from setting requirements for overtime or benefits, minimum wages for local government employees, employment discrimination ordinances and requirements for labor peace agreements. Those are deals in which employers agree to allow a union to attempt to organize.

The Assembly passed the bill in February. The Senate passed it this week but removed a provision exempting communities around the Foxconn Technology Group plant project in Mount Pleasant and sent it back to the Assembly.


The bill is AB 748.


1:25 p.m.

The state Assembly has put the final stamp of approval on a plan to close Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison.

The chamber passed an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan unanimously Thursday that calls for closing the prison outside Irma by 2021 and replacing it with smaller regional facilities. The measure now goes to Gov. Scott Walker.

The measure cleared the Assembly unanimously in February and passed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday. The bill had to come back to the Assembly for a final vote, though, because the Senate included new language that requires the Legislature’s budget committee to sign off on any spending on new juvenile facilities after the youth prison closes. Both houses must pass the identical bill before it can go to the governor.

Federal investigators have been probing allegations of guards abusing inmates the prison for the past three years.


The bill is AB 953.


11:20 a.m.

The state Assembly is preparing to vote on bills that would hand schools $100 million for security upgrades, close Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison and give parents a tax rebate.

The Senate passed all three measures Tuesday. The Assembly is scheduled to take them up during a Thursday afternoon floor session. Approval would send the bills on to Gov. Scott Walker.

The school safety bill would create $100 million in grants for schools to use on security upgrades.

The prison measure calls for closing the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools outside Irma and replacing it with smaller regional facilities.

The tax bill would give parents a $100 per-child tax rebate and create a sales tax holiday during the first weekend in August.

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