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Landlord bill OK'ed by state assembly

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The state Assembly has given its second approval to a Republican bill to give landlords more power over their tenants. The Assembly made some minor changes to the bill's language yesterday on a 57-37 party-line vote, with Democrats voting no. The Senate would have to approve the changes before the bill goes to Governor Scott Walker for his signature.

The bill would let landlords dispose of property that evicted tenants leave behind. Building owners could immediately tow improperly-parked vehicles without having to call police. They could also evict tenants if crimes occur in their units, and the tenants are in a position to prevent those crimes.

Republicans say the package would provide much-needed fairness to building owners. Opposing Democrats say it would force tenants to give up some of their rights, and reduce local control of rental housing. They say it would also result in more evictions and legal challenges. Just over 3,500 eviction cases were filed in Wisconsin courts last year.