The Assembly returned to the Capitol Tuesday for its first floor session since last month’s marathon debate on the budget repair bill.
Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) called on lawmakers to pass a resolution that asks the governor to begin good faith negotiations with public employee unions. Barca says those discussions need to happen because of the current impasse on the budget repair bill.
Passage of the measure remains blocked in the state Senate because the 14 Democratic Senators left the state nearly three weeks ago, preventing a vote.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) says it’s a misconception that negotiations are not taking place, pointing to e-mails released by Governor Walker that show discussions with Senate Democrats have been ongoing. He says it may be frustrating for Assembly Democrats not to have a role in the process, but talks have been going on.
State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) fired back at Fitzgerald, saying those talks are really more like discussions than negotiations, because the Governor remains unwilling to compromise.
Action on the resolution was blocked by Republicans, who sent the bill to a committee to prevent a vote.
Also on Tuesday, the Assembly approved changes to state auto insurance laws that lower mandatory minimum levels of coverage. The bill passed without debate, after Democrats had earlier delayed a vote with a procedural trick.
Members also passed resolutions honoring the UW-Madison football team for its Rose Bowl appearance and the UW-Whitewater football team for winning a third straight national championship, along with a resolution declaring January 26th Bob Uecker Day in Wisconsin.