Legislation that would prohibit someone from serving in the state Legislature and as a county executive at the same time is on its way to the governor’s desk, after receiving final approval in the state Assembly early this morning.
Backers of the bill say the change is needed to prevent the risk of “double dipping,” where someone is able to draw two taxpayer-funded salaries at the same time. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has also argued it could create a conflict of interest when issues are taken up in the Legislature that could impact counties.
Opponents have been quick to note though that the introduction of the bill comes as Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democrat, is running for a seat in the state Senate this fall. Harris issued a statement Friday morning, in which he said he was undeterred in his decision to run for office. He called the bill “a sign of the misplaced priorities of Republican leaders.”
The legislation passed on a 53-40 vote, with several Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the measure. It passed the state Senate earlier this week. While Governor Scott Walker has not said if he will sign the bill, he has previously indicated that he’s supportive of the arguments behind its introduction.