An Assembly committee approves a bill that would end a sick leave credit program used by elected officials. Legislators, Constitutional officers, judges, and several other elected state officers are currently allowed to convert unused sick time in to health insurance premiums when they retire. State Representative Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) is a sponsor of a bill that would end that benefit. She says it would not be a hardship for many lawmakers to get rid of the program, which many weren't even aware of until recently.
However, the proposal is being met with some resistance. State Representative Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) says ending the program limits who can take part in state government. He says many lawmakers have made public service their life, and will rely on the ability to convert unused sick time after they retire from the legislature. Schneider has served in the State Assembly since 1971.
Lawmakers began calling for an end to the benefit after newspaper reports showed potential abuse of the sick leave policy by lawmakers. Schneider says those worried about criticism of the policy can simply choose not to take part in the program.
A legislative committee approved the bill Wednesday on a 5-2 vote. It now heads to the Assembly floor.