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Politics & Government

Wisconsin Lawmakers Push Dozens of Bills in Final Weeks

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Wisconsin lawmakers will return to session on Tuesday. Their floor period ends in March, so they could start burning the midnight oil trying to pass dozens of bills.

One of the biggest, is a plan to change the way the state hires and fires civil service employees. The measure before lawmakers would eliminate the hiring exams that Wisconsin has used for decades; instead applicants would submit a resume. The bill would also base layoffs on job performance rather than seniority, and the plan would allow managers to award bonuses for good job performance. Democrats have opposed the bill, saying it invites cronyism.

Other items GOP lawmakers are hoping to pass: banning the sale of fetal tissue from abortions, requiring school districts to wait at least a year before re-introducing failed spending referendums and allowing people to carry switchblades as concealed weapons.

Lawmakers also are scheduled to take up several issues related to the environment. A bill on the Assembly agenda Tuesday would lift Wisconsin’s building moratorium on new nuclear power plants. Later in the session, lawmakers want to take up a measure that would alter local government control of certain property rights, along with a plan that would outlaw harassment of hunters in the woods. It stems from incidents in which animal rights activists followed and filmed hunters.