February 7, 2016

Assembly leaders quiet on proposed rules changes

Members of the state Assembly are expected to vote today on new rules for the chamber, although details of the proposed package remain unclear.

Leaders of both parties have been meeting behind closed doors this week to discuss what those rules will look like. As of late Wednesday though, no official rules package had been released.

Republicans hold a majority in the chamber and have the votes to pass whatever rules they want to, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has said he wanted to work with Democrats on changes that could prevent all-night debates on legislation this session. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said he agreed with the concept, but the two sides were “worlds apart” on how to accomplish that goal.

The rules are also expected to address the numerous disruptions from protesters that occurred last session, following the contentious battle over Governor Walker’s legislation that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public employees.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Vos says the proposed rules are expected to be released before the Assembly meets later this morning. A vote on them could come later in the day or, possibly, in an all-night session.

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