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Assembly Passes Repeal of Milwaukee Sick Leave Mandate

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MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Assembly voted 59 to 35 Tuesday to stop communities from making employers offer paid sick leave.

GOP senators approved the bill last month while the Democrats were gone – and it now goes to Governor Scott Walker, who expects to sign it.

The bill nullifies Milwaukee’s sick leave mandate approved by 69 percent of voters in a 2008 referendum. A circuit court struck it down at the request of Milwaukee’s major business group. The Supreme Court later deadlocked on the issue, but an appeals court upheld the Milwaukee law last month.

One of the bill’s authors, Assembly Republican Chris Kapenga of Delafield, said it lets business people run their companies instead of the government. But Madison Democrat Terese Berceau accused Republicans of lacking humanity and refusing to look people in the eyes. She called them “zombies” – which Republican Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer called a compliment.

Greendale Republican Jeff Stone said business laws need to be the same in each community, so employers are not put at a competitive disadvantage. But Milwaukee Democrat Christine Sinicki called the bill a “slap in the face” to her city’s voters. Trempealeau Democrat Chris Danou asked, “Why don’t we just eliminate local government and rule everything from Madison?”

Independent Bob Ziegelbauer of Manitowoc joined all Republicans in voting for the bill, as did Democrats Peggy Krusick of Milwaukee and Lou Molepske of Stevens Point.

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