The State Assembly approves legislation ending a perk that allows elected officials to cash in unused sick time when they retire. The bill would strip away the ability of state lawmakers, constitutional officers, and several other elected officials to accumulate unused sick days. State Representative Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) sponsored the measure. She says the benefit is something many lawmakers won't miss because they weren't even aware of it until recently.

But State Representative Frank Boyle (D-Superior) says eliminating the benefit allows only the wealthy to run for public office. During Thursday's floor session, he cited concerns that the working class would be discouraged from taking a role in politics because it could put their families at risk.

The legislation was sparked by a newspaper investigation showing very few lawmakers ever claim sick leave. State Representative Terese Berceau (D-Madison) was among those critical of the press for targeting the benefit, accusing reporters of just trying to dig up a scandal.

The bill passed Thursday on a 66-29 vote. It now heads to the State Senate.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (MP3 1:05)

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