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Assembly committee votes on election law changes Monday

Wisconsin State Capitol at night
Wisconsin State Capitol at night

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)   A Wisconsin Assembly committee is scheduled to vote today on a compromise package of changes to the state’s election laws.

The compromise, announced on Friday night, would drop some of the most controversial measures like changing the photo I-D requirement for voting – restricting hours for early voting – and making it harder to recall local officials.

The new bill would give lawmakers of both parties something they favor – higher limits for individual campaign contributions. Those running for top offices like governor could get up to $20,000 per donor in an election cycle, up from the current $10,000. Legislative candidates could also get double the donations from supporters, to a maximum of $2,000 per cycle for Senate hopefuls and $1,000 for Assembly candidates.

Democrats have said the change would make for cleaner government – because more donors would identify themselves by giving directly to candidates, instead of certain special interest groups that do not have to say where they get their money. At least one watchdog disagrees. Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says it would only bring more money into politics. Racine millionaire Fred Young has also come out against the new campaign donation limits. He wants limits eliminated altogether – and he filed suit in federal court last week, calling the donation limits an infringement on free speech.

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