Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Late maneuvering in Senate blocks cannabidiol measure"

From JSOnline:

By Jason Stein and Cary Spivak of the Journal Sentinel

"Madison— A bill to help anguished parents get a child seizure treatment failed to get a vote amid Tuesday's hastily adjourned Senate session, even though a strong majority of senators support the proposal.

"Three top GOP senators successfully blocked the bill, which would have made it easier to get a drug that is derived from marijuana and used to treat children who suffer from severe seizures and have few other medical options.

"Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) stymied a floor vote on the legislation Tuesday by scheduling a hearing on the bill and then canceling it on Wednesday. Bills can't be brought to the floor if they have a hearing pending.

"Fitzgerald, who indicated he would have voted for the bill himself, said he used the parliamentary rule to keep other GOP senators from having to vote against a bill that they support.

"When Democrats tried to take a two-thirds vote to override that rule, Fitzgerald abruptly adjourned the Senate before the vote could be held. The action drew sharp criticism Wednesday from the bill's bipartisan supporters, including Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

"'They should use actual facts to explain why they are blocking the will and hope of parents statewide,' Wanggaard said of the bill's opponents.

"'That three senators stopped that bill — it's outrageous and it's unconscionable,' Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) said.

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