Future of bill to dismantle GAB is unclear

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The future of a bill to dismantle the Government Accountability Board is unclear after the state Senate canceled a session Tuesday where they were likely going to vote on it.

Senate Republicans held a caucus for most of the day on the GAB and campaign finance bills, both of which have already been passed by the Assembly but are hung up in the Senate.

The bills the Assembly passed last week to disband the GAB and replace it with a partisan elections board and ethics commission have not moved in the Senate.

Conservative groups are lobbying the offices of four GOP senators who have expressed concerns about the bill.

“I am confident that the Senate will find an answer. They see the same information that we have. They see the same concerns we have with the way the GAB has operated, the out-of-control nature that it has had over the past several years,” Rep. Robin Vos, R-Assembly Speaker, said.

“I’m hoping that they are seeing that there’s great political disagreement over those kind of corruption types of legislation,” Rep. Peter Barca, D-Assembly Minority Leader, said.

It’s unclear whether the Senate will get the bill to the floor of their house before the end of the legislative floor period this week.

Assembly leaders also brought up that there was a provision keeping judges on the ethics panel, which was removed by Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, while the bill was being drafted.

“That was taken out at the request of the Senate, so if they wanted to have a negotiation to talk about it, how can we make the bill stronger and better? If they are constructive, positive ideas, of course we’d take a look at it,” Vos said.

If changes are made, the bill would have to go back to the Assembly to be considered again before going to the governor.