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Budget panel votes to eliminate domestic-partner registry

Domestic partners of state and local Wisconsin government workers would no longer have state health coverage and other benefits under a vote by the Legislature’s budget-writing committee.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has said it was making the change since all couples, including same-sex couple, can now be legally married.

The state’s domestic-partnership registry now lists nearly 4,400 partnerships. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports that 78 percent of them are of opposite sex, suggesting that the benefits offered have a value to workers separate and distinct from what they’d get if they were married.

Walker’s proposal, which was approved Thursday by the state’s Joint Finance Committee, would result in the domestic-partner registry ending in 2018.

Also, Wisconsin state workers and University of Wisconsin employees would get a 2 percent pay increase in each of the next two years under votes by the same budget committee.

The Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously to go along with Gov. Scott Walker’s recommendation to pay for the salary increases.

The committee is voting on making changes to Walker’s budget before the full Assembly and Senate takes action.

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