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The Journal Gazette

  • Wisconsin Republican state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos speaks at a news conference announcing a bipartisan deal designed to end all-night debate Thursday, Jan. 10, 2012, in Madison, Wis. Leaders of both parties said the deal heralded a new day in the Republican-controlled Assembly that in recent years has been torn apart by contentious debate that frequently stretched deep into the night and devolved into lawmakers hurling insults at one another. (AP Photo by Scott Bauer).

Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:58 pm

Wisconsin lawmakers to avoid late-night debates

The Associated Press

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.