Fitzgerald considers democratic senators in contempt - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fitzgerald considers democratic senators in contempt

MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald told WKOW 27 News he still considers fourteen democratic senators in contempt of the senate despite their return to Wisconsin.

Fitzgerald said he's considering whether votes by the returned lawmakers in connection with senate matters should be recorded.

"It's just another question as to what is the profile of a senator that is in contempt of the body right now."

In a email to senate republicans late Monday afternoon, Fitzgerald clarified his position.

"They (democrats) are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded."

During a subcommittee meeting of the state building commission Monday, votes by subcommittee member Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) were recorded by a commission staff member, but the email indicated such a vote will not be entered into the Senate Journal.

Office privileges of democratic senators are still restricted, including the use of common-area copy machines.

Fitzgerald said the status of the democratic senators is not scheduled to be decided until the next senate floor session April 5.  

"I'm not going to change the legislative schedule to make sure these senators are no longer in contempt of the of the body, no,"   Fitzgerald told WKOW27 News.

The 14 democratic senators left the state for three weeks in an unsuccessful attempt to block senate consideration of a bill with drastic changes to public employee collective bargaining.   The bill passed Thursday, but is being challenged in court.

Risser was unable to leave the subcommittee meeting to comment on Fitzgerald's comments.   Senate minority leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) also was unavailable to comment.

Fitzgerald said he is considering convening a special committee to develop methods of compelling senators to attend senate sessions, and wants Miller as a member of the committee.   Fitzgerald said if the committee is formed, it will look at constitutional, statutory and rules changes as needed.

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