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WEAC's spending on lobbyists falls dramatically

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s largest teachers’ union says it’s making its case at the local level, instead of spending millions to lobby state legislators for what they want.

A new state report showed that the WEAC teachers’ union spent $84,000 to lobby lawmakers during the first six months of this year, when they were acting on the new state budget.

That’s a pittance, compared to the $2.1 million WEAC spent on lobbying in the first half of 2011, during the last budget period. At that time, the union was fighting to keep the collective bargaining privileges they eventually lost under Act 10.

Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend said public unions didn’t have much to lobby for this year, since the near-elimination of bargaining no longer required bills to tweak the process.

WEAC, which lost a-third of its teachers after Act 10 was passed, says it’s now working with community coalitions to promote their cause.

Other public unions have also cut their lobbying expenses dramatically. That leaves business groups as the biggest spenders.

The Wisconsin Insurance Alliance spent the most to lobby lawmakers in the first half of this year – around $357,000.