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Fox Valley RTA bill passes Senate; won't make it in Assembly

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Voters in the Fox Valley could decide whether to tax themselves for regional bus service, under a bill approved by the state Senate Tuesday afternoon.

The vote was 25-7 to send the measure to the Assembly -- but GOP Speaker Robin Vos said there's no way his chamber would ratify it.

Republican Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah proposed the measure, saying it balances the need to pay for transit buses while letting the public decide whether to create a new taxing group to run them.

Back in 2011, majority Republicans in both houses and Governor Scott Walker scrapped the regional transit authorities, saying it allows unelected boards to impose new or higher taxes. The bill would have given the Fox Valley authority the power to impose a half-percent sales tax.

Vos says there needs to be a statewide solution to transit funding problems.

Seven Republicans voted no to the Senate bill -- Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Tom Tiffany, Neal Kedzie, Frank Lasee, Joe Leibham, and Leah Vukmir. Democrat Bob Jauch didn't vote.  

Also Tuesday, senators approved a bill on a voice vote to make hospitals provide tests for congenital heart disease in newborns. Many hospitals already do it voluntarily.

Senators also voted to let people sell baked goods without getting a state food processing permit, as long as they have less than $10,000 in annual sales.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)