Walker confident juvenile justice, other bills will pass

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker emerged from a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans on Wednesday confident that his $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan and other priorities such as a $100 child tax rebate can pass, even as the more skeptical Republican leader of the Senate said changes were coming.

Walker said the juvenile justice bill, which would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison in Irma, was in a “great spot” and would “pass overwhelmingly in the Senate.” But minutes earlier, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the bill was “not ready for prime time.”

That proposal is one of several Walker priorities that passed the Assembly but remains in limbo in the Senate, with reticent Republicans there talking about changes that would force the Assembly back into session after it had adjourned for the year.

Another Walker priority in trouble is a $100 per-child tax rebate and August sales tax holiday. Walker wants the rebate to arrive before the school year starts, just months before he’s on the ballot for re-election. Walker would pay for the $147 million tax cut out of a budget surplus, money he argues must be returned to taxpayers.

But Fitzgerald said the sales tax holiday, which Republicans have derided as a “gimmick,” doesn’t have the votes to pass.

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