A bill expanding circuit courts in Wisconsin has cleared the state Senate. It creates additional circuit court branches in seven Wisconsin counties (Barron, Chippewa, Dodge, Green, Juneau, Monroe, and St. Croix). In the Senate, concerns over costs were raised by Green Bay Republican Rob Cowles. "This will be one of many bills that will layer costs into the next biennium," said Cowles. The price tag on the additional courts was a point of contention in Senate debate, as amounts of more than a million dollars to just $900,000 were cited. But Neenah Republican Mike Ellis argued the state can't afford those costs: "in the event you want to spend more money, show us where the money is coming from."
Milwaukee Democrat Lena Taylor argued for the additional courts, saying many state residents wait months to have cases heard, "in counties where there is one judge, and judges are working hours that are outrageous." The measure had previously passed in the Assembly.