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Wisconsin's used-car "Lemon Law" relaxed

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Ford trucks are shown for sale on a car lot in Carlsbad, California March 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ford trucks are shown for sale on a car lot in Carlsbad, California March 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The state Senate has watered down Wisconsin's Lemon Law. The vote was 32-to-1 yesterday to give fewer legal protections to those who buy defective new cars. Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach cast the only no vote. The measure now goes to Governor Scott Walker for his signature. An association of plaintiffs' attorneys endorsed the bill's final version.

It would end the requirement that automakers pay double-damages to consumers who win in court. Wisconsin is the only state which mandates that. Also, the time limit for filing lawsuits would be reduced from six years to three years after the purchase of faulty vehicles. In addition, car manufacturers would have 45 days instead of 30 to give refunds or replacements -- or they can negotiate settlements for the first time.

The bill's sponsors said they took direct aim at Milwaukee Lemon Law attorney Vince Megna. He won $880,000 in damage, interest, and legal fees in a long court case involving a Waukesha man's defective sedan.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted to ban registered sex offenders from being on school property unless they notify school officials first. The Assembly okayed the measure 95-to-1 in May. It now goes to Walker for his signature.

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