MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Assembly Democrats and Republicans are collaborating on a bill that would increase political donation limits — doubling them — and allow voters to register online.
A draft of the new measure was released Friday. It was sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/13O8vhS ).
The bill represents a concession by Republicans that would make it easier for people to register and vote. In return, the parties get something they both want: higher contribution limits.
An earlier measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeff Stone included aspects that would make it harder to recall local officials, tweak the voter ID law and put new restrictions on when voters can cast ballots in clerks' offices prior to an election.
The new version of the bill drops all those elements. The redrafted version would allow people with valid Wisconsin driver's licenses to register to vote on a secure state website up to 20 days before an election. Supporters say it's a key way to boost turnout.
The bill would also double the amount donors can give candidates. People running for governor would be able to receive up to $20,000 per supporter, up from $10,000. Limits for Senate candidates would rise from $1,000 to $2,000, and for Assembly candidates from $500 to $1,000.
The redrafted bill is sponsored by Stone; Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester; Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee; and Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison.
The Assembly Campaign and Elections Committee is expected to vote on the bill Monday, with the full Assembly slated to vote Wednesday.
The Senate hasn't begun work on the bill.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are moving quickly on a separate bill that would force women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds and require doctors performing the procedure to have hospital-admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic.
Proponents of the measure say requiring admitting privileges helps ensure patient safety in case something goes wrong with an abortion. Opponents say the rules are aimed at closing clinics.
The bill is moving quickly in both chambers. A Senate committee plans to vote on it Monday and the Senate itself will likely take it up Tuesday, according to the office of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. The Assembly could take it up as early as this week.
Republicans also are advancing legislation that would ban the use of taxpayer money to cover abortions in public employees' health plans. It would also free religious groups from having to provide contraception in their employee health plans and ban abortions that are sought based on the gender of a fetus. However, those bills don't appear to be moving as quickly as the ultrasound measure.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com