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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate has narrowly passed six bills that all Democrats and one Republican voted against.
The bills passed Wednesday include:
Limit on Abesentee Voting Hours: The bill would limit in-person absentee voting to Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the two weeks before an election. No weekend voting would be allowed and only 45 hours a week of early voting would be permitted. Democratic opponents say the bill is designed to make voting more difficult.
Election Observer Access: The bill would set parameters for where election observers can stand, allowing them to be as close as three feet away from the table where people register to vote and where they receive their ballot.
Earlier Donations from Lobbysits: The Senate also passed a bill allowing lobbyists to start giving campaign donations seven weeks earlier than currently allowed. Lobbyists would be able to start making personal donations the day candidates can circulate petitions for office, which is April 15. Under current law they can't make any donations until June 1. However, state law would continue to bar lobbyists from giving campaign donations to members of the Legislature while it is still in session.
Asbestos Lawsuits: This measure would require plaintiffs to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to go after. Trials could not start until six months after that disclosure. Republican supporters say such a move would prevent lawyers from hiding multiple claims in hopes of maximizing awards.But opponents, including veterans exposed to asbestos during their service, say the bill is designed to slow cases down in the hopes plaintiffs will die and protect corporations from making payouts.
Parent Liability: Also passing is a proposal that sets a new liability limit of $300,000 for parents of drivers under age 18 who gets in an accident. Currently, children under 18 need a parent or other adult sponsor to sign and verify their driver's license application. That makes the parents or sponsors liable for the driver's negligence or willful misconduct.
Republican Sen. Dale Schultz joined with Democrats in voting against all the bills, which now head to the Assembly.Wednesday, March 12 2014, 03:10 PM CDT
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