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Trio of ex-GOP Assembly speakers to lobby for private school voucher expansion


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Three former Republican speakers of the state Assembly will urge their ex-colleagues this spring to expand private school voucher programs in Wisconsin.

Jeff Fitzgerald – who just left the speaker’s post earlier this month – has registered as a lobbyist for School Choice Wisconsin.

Another former speaker, John Gard, is also registered as a lobbyist for the group. And ex-speaker Scott Jensen represents the American Federation for Children, which also wants to expand the programs that let low-income kids get state-funded vouchers to attend private schools.

Right now, those programs are in Milwaukee County and Racine. But Green Bay just barely avoided getting such a program in the last session – and Governor Scott Walker has expressed support for expanding the vouchers.

He’s expected to detail his proposals in his budget for the next two years, which is due out in February.

GOP Senate President Mike Ellis has said that voucher programs should only be expanded in communities where local residents approve them in referendums.

Meanwhile, the government watchdog group Common Cause is renewing its call to ban legislators from becoming lobbyists for a certain period of time after leaving office.