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Assembly rules focus on late-night votes

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MADISON (WSAU)  The Wisconsin Assembly’s Republican and Democratic leaders say they’re negotiating on a way to avoid the all-night meetings which were a hallmark of the last session.

Republican Speaker Robin Vos and Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca talked privately for three hours yesterday, spoke with reporters, and then resumed their talks. They’re not giving a lot of details yet. The full Assembly will act on the chamber’s rules tomorrow – and there’s talk that an overnight meeting will be needed to figure out how to end those overnight meetings.

Barca said debates should end at 9 p-m, but Vos said he doesn’t want a curfew. Both leaders say they’re not close to an agreement – but they’re committed to having one by tomorrow’s full Assembly meeting.

In the last session, Democrats delayed voting on G-O-P measures as long as possible by holding private caucuses all day – causing full Assembly meetings to start late at night and drag on until the next day. That normally happens at budget deadlines and the ends of sessions. But even routine bills didn’t get debated until the wee hours in the last session, while the people those measures affected were sleeping.

In 2001, the Assembly met for 61 straight hours as Democrats delayed passage of the G-O-P’s limits on public union bargaining.

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