Lawmakers from opposing parties got in each others faces at the Capitol Thursday, as a press conference turned into an impromptu and noisy debate. Senate Republicans, who want a vote during today's floor session on a constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification , had called the press conference in front of the Senate chamber. Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald , and Senators Joe Leibham and Alberta Darling made the case for the measure, and pointed to a recently released Milwaukee police report on voter fraud to buttress their arguments. Also speaking was Assembly Republican Jeff Stone, who along with Sen. Darling, began arguing with Milwaukee Democrat, Sen. Spencer Coggs . Stone, who had blamed Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker for blocking a floor vote on the measure last week, had an angry exchange with Decker: “let the people of this state vote,” on the constitutional amendment, said Stone. “Go back in the Assembly and take care of your business there,” said Decker. “I did, I'm waiting for you to take care of the peoples' business here,” responded Stone. “Let the people decide,” added Darling. As Decker stalked off, Sen. Dale Schultz stepped in. “What has happened on this particular issue, is the Democrats in the state Senate simply don't want to have a debate, they don't want have votes,” said Schultz. “They have been running and hiding for years.”
Coggs also spoke briefly with reporters. Asked why he has never scheduled a committee hearing on the constitutional amendment, Coggs noted that Governor Jim Doyle has vetoed photo ID legislation three times , and called the issue “old news.” Coggs characterized the Milwaukee police report into voter fraud as “anonymous,” and said the investigation found that poll workers did not do their jobs properly, which doesn't mean the state should require photo ID to vote.