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Senate debate continues into night on biennial budgetSubmitted: 06/20/2013
Senate debate continues into night on biennial budget
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

MADISON - The biggest bill in Wisconsin government is just two steps from becoming law.

But that second-to-last step is taking a long time.

The Senate started to debate the state budget this morning.

But they're several hours into debate late at night.

The biggest debate between Democrats and Republicans has been whether Wisconsin is going in a fundamentally good or bad direction.

"Forty-seven states plus the District of Columbia are doing better than the state of Wisconsin. Of those three states, Wisconsin lost the most jobs," said Sen. Julie Lassa, (D) Stevens Point.

"Look at what you have done to the property-taxpayers of this state. We aren't going to apologize for giving people back their money. We will not apologize for that," said Sen. Mike Ellis, (D) Neenah.

Minority Democrats have brought several amendments to the floor.

One of the most controversial was to kill the proposal to expand private school vouchers.

Each amendment has been defeated so far.

Democrats plan to introduce several more amendments.

Democratic leader Chris Larson told reporters they hoped to have a final vote "before midnight".

Republicans expect the budget bill to pass.

If it does, it will go to Governor Walker for final approval.

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GLEASON - A church volunteer in Lincoln County noticed something was not right on Friday.

Vandals struck the church in Gleason - spreading paint on the walls and even painting a satanic symbol.

The church is a historic site and isn't used regularly.

This isn't the first time the Estonian Church in the Town of Schley has been vandalized.

It's actually the third documented complaint to come from the church in the past year.

Complaints included theft, removal of doors, breaking of property and vandalism.

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ANTIGO - Langlade County takes pride in having a long-standing and successful County Fair.

In fact, the 131st annual fair will open on Wednesday.

On Monday, workers were in preparation mode. Within a few days, the fairgrounds will be ready to welcome thousands of visitors to the free fair.

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EAGLE RIVER - "Just a lot of fun to fly," said Eagle River Union Airport manager Rob Hom.

Hom loves to share his passion for flying with others.
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Hom has attended the Experimental Aircraft Association "Air Venture" in Oshkosh since 2002.

"It is truly an amazing experience," said Hom.

The EAA is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts with more than 200,000 members.

"What you see is thousands and thousands of airplanes," said Hom.

Hom wanted to share his passion for planes along with the experience of going to the largest plane show in the world.

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VILAS COUNTY - When Dee Burlingame walks into the Sayner Cemetery, she walks to the very back of it, near the wooded area.

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RHINELANDER - Volunteers will walk the streets of the Northwoods late at night this week.  They're looking for homeless people, hoping their count gets people the help they need.

The count is part of a statewide effort that happens twice a year.  Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness -- or N*WISH -- runs the count for Oneida, Vilas, Forest, and Langlade counties.

Program facilitator Lori Hallas says her teams usually don't find many people.

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GREEN BAY - A police officer from the Green Bay area remains in critical condition after being hit by a car.

Ashwaubenon Officer Brian Murphy underwent surgery for injuries received when he was hit along Interstate 41.

On Saturday night, Murphy was struck by an apparent drunk driver while standing at the scene of a car fire.

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WASHINGTON - The Latest on the ongoing effort by congressional Republicans to pass a health care bill (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

Arizona Sen. John McCain is returning to the Senate on Tuesday to vote on GOP health care legislation just days after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

McCain's office made the dramatic announcement late Monday in a brief statement saying he looks forward "to continue working on important legislation including health care reform."

Republicans are holding the high-stakes vote on Tuesday to open debate on legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare."

They have almost no margin for error making the presence of the 80-year-old McCain crucial if the vote is to succeed.

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