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State Senate approves earlier campaign donations

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Lobbyists would be able to make campaign donations to state lawmakers and officials earlier than they do now, under a bill passed by the Senate Wednesday.

The vote was 17-15 in favor of a bill that was introduced last week and moved quickly through the hearing and committee approval process.

It allows lobbyists to give personal donations to state candidates starting on April 15th of an election year, a month-and-a-half earlier than the current start time of June 1st. All Democrats voted no, as did moderate Republican Dale Schultz. Milwaukee Democrat Lena Taylor did not vote.

GOP supporters said the change is needed because the partisan fall primaries were moved from September to August. Opponents said it only feeds the image of politicians being beholden to special interests.

The bill was one of several that were blocked Tuesday by Democrats in procedural moves. The biggest bill, one to put limits on early in-person absentee voting, was approved 17-16 with Schultz and all Democrats voting no.

Both these bills were sent to the Assembly for final action.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)