A bill that would prohibit holding legislative office and a seat in the legislature simultaneously is scheduled for a legislative hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday. The measure’s sponsor, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), has said that the measure is needed to prevent elected officials from “double-dipping” — drawing two taxpayer-funded salaries at the same time.
Democrats have called the timing of the bill suspicious, noting that it comes as Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democrat, is planning to run for an open seat in the senate next fall. Democratic state Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) is also running for Milwaukee County executive this spring.
Several state lawmakers have run for county executive offices in the past, although most have given up their legislative seat shortly after winning those races. Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, a Republican, briefly held onto his state Senate seat after being elected county executive in 2015. Former state Representative Bob Ziegelbauer, a Democrat who later switched to an Independent, served in both the legislature and as the Manitowoc County executive for nearly six years, between 2006 and 2012.
The bill is on the agenda of the Senate Government Operations and Consumer Protection Committee, which meets beginning at noon.