Tough regulations on traveling sales crews have passed the state Senate. The new rules would be the toughest in the nation. Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) argued for an amendment that would have exempted Nashville-based Southwestern Company , which hires college students as independent contractors to sell books during the summer. Grothman noted that several Southwestern employees testified about positive experiences, during a public hearing on the bill. But the legislation's author, Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach, said the amendment would have gutted the bill.

Erpenbach's bill was drafted in response to a crash on the Interstate near Janesville in 1999, in which seven young members of a traveling sales crew were killed. A statement from Southwestern said the bill in it's current from would prohibit students in Wisconsin from participating in its summer sales program. The bill will still need Assembly approval and Governor Jim Doyle's signature in order to become law.

AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:10 MP3)

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