Wisconsin lawmakers to avoid late-night debates

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Associated Press

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 10 at 1:10 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin lawmakers have a bipartisan deal to avoid all-night debates in the state Assembly.

Party leaders announced the agreement Thursday. The deal hinges on Republican and Democratic leaders agreeing each day on how much time they will spend on each measure.

As a test of the new procedure, both sides have agreed to limit the day's debate to no more than five hours.

Going past midnight happens elsewhere, especially at the end of sessions or as other deadlines loom. But the Wisconsin Assembly in recent years has routinely pushed debates and votes on contentious bills into the wee hours, when only lobbyists and the cleaning crew are left in the building.

Republican Speaker Robin Vos says both sides want to eliminate all-night sessions, saying they're not in the public interest.

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