MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - For 31 hours the Wisconsin Assembly was in session.
Finally, members of both parties agreed to move forward on a vote to make changes to the board of the Milwaukee Area Technical College.
It was basically a Democratic filibuster. They had called changes in the original bill’s wording a power grab by Republicans. But, Republicans were dedicated to changes they saw as strengthening the ties between MATC and local businesses.
When agreement was finally reached, Democrats withdrew about 70 amendments they have offered for debate – and that debate could have dragged through another day or more.
At one point, the bill’s major Senate sponsor, West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman, brought pizzas to the Assembly floor to help those with failing energy levels.
Other technical colleges in Wisconsin wouldn’t be affected, but the legislation will reshape the MATC board without the changes becoming an official transfer of control – the factor which troubled Democrats in the first place.
The Assembly also approved a number of bills before the session closed Friday evening.
One involved providing a way for crime victims to sue public officials who harass them. The bill was written in response to the actions of former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who resigned following revelations that he sexually harassed a domestic abuse victim while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend.
Lawmakers also approved bills designed to keep crime victims off the witness stand, allowing hearsay evidence during preliminary hearings and on water permit restrictions.