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Public financing bill takes a beating

An attempt made by Assembly Democrats on Tuesday to force a vote on public financing for, among other offices, Supreme Court justices was given the swift punt that most expected.

The move, spearheaded by Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Milton, was to take AB 298 out of the joint finance committee, where it has languished without a hearing since Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, introduced it in August.

The bill would, among other things, restore some semblance of a public financing option to the state’s elections. This was done away with in 2011.

When the vote came, though, the Democrats’ 39 “ayes” were drowned by the 59 Republicans who voted to leave it in committee.

This isn’t the only bill that Hebl sponsored this session that sought the return of public financing.

But Republicans haven’t given the ideas the time of day since they took over the Legislature and governor’s office in 2011. And it would be surprising if it got anywhere by the time the Legislature’s session ends in April.

The next Supreme Court election will be next year, for Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s seat.

About Eric Heisig, eric.heisig@wislawjournal.com

Eric Heisig is the Milwaukee courts and legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. He can be reached at eric.heisig@wislawjournal.com or 414-225-1826.

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