December 21, 2014

Senate passes abortion bill amidst shouting

A short session in the state Senate this morning had fireworks but not the celebratory kind. The senators gathered to take up an abortion bill that had been blocked from final passage Tuesday by Democrats.

Following speeches by Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and the bill’s author Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), Sen. President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) immediately went to a vote; meanwhile, Democrats shouted for more debate on the measure.

Ellis shouted back while repeatedly slamming his gavel. “You’re interrupting a roll call and that will not be tolerated. Sit down!”

AUDIO: Ellis’ gavel and a few of his stern words

The legislation which requires an ultrasound prior to an abortion passed 17-15 on a party line vote with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed. Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) was absent.

Afterword, Democrats accused Republicans of jamming through the bill with little discussion.  Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-LaCrosse) told reporters the Senate majority engaged in “legislative bullying” to push through a bill that involves “medical bullying.”

The proposal now heads to the Assembly.