Things get a little heated at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Committee Chair Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) refuses to let missing senator Jon Erpenbach vote on the controversial photo ID bill. The Middleton Democrat had fled the state with other Senate Democrats to avoid a vote on Governor Walker’s budget repair bill.
The New Berlin Republican scolds Erpenbach for not being present. “I’ll wait an hour.” She says, “If you are in Illinois you can be here in two hours; I can wait.”
While phoning-in from an undisclosed location, Erpenbach chimes in, “Mary, I’m here now. I’m ready to vote.” Erpenbach asks Lazich to extend a courtesy allowing him to cast his vote via phone, just as he had done for her. Lazich says considering the “Call of the House,” his absence is “unethical” and no courtesies will be extended.
The vote is taken, while ignoring Erpenbach’s disembodied voice. “OK, the members present have voted for the bill,” says Lazich, while trying to be heard over Erpenbach, “I vote no. Erpenbach votes no.” After yet another attempt by Erpenbach to get his voice heard, Lazich adjourns the meeting.
The other Democrat on the Transportation and Elections Committee, Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee, was also absent. The bill goes to the full Senate as early as Thursday.