Assembly committee votes to approve County Board reform bill

MADISON (WITI) -- An Assembly committee on Thursday, April 11th voted 6-3 to approve the bi-partisan Milwaukee County Board reform bill.

The debate over whether the Milwaukee County Board should be downsized moved to Madison on April 10th. Several County Board members and other leaders spoke out in the state's Capitol against a plan to overhaul how the Milwaukee County Board operates.

State Representative and former Board member Joe Sanfelippo sponsored "Assembly Bill 85." The bill would call for a referendum on whether to make the County Board part-time and cut its budget.

"All this bill is doing is resetting back to the structure that this Legislature set up in the first place. And things were working pretty well then. We have a lot of reason to think that the current system is not working," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

"It's the epitome of micro-managing. That the state Legislature would come into local government and dictate what our budget, our salary, and how we should function. It's not what the people of Milwaukee County want. And I would also say that people across the state of Wisconsin would not like the same thing happening in their own county or local government," Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimirijevic said.

Abele issued a statement on Thursday, following the Assembly Committee on Government Operations and State Licensing's vote, saying: “I applaud the committee for passing this important piece of legislation. In nine hours of testimony (Wednesday) they asked good and thoughtful questions. As always, I look forward to answering any other questions lawmakers have about this important issue.”

The bill is scheduled to go to the full Assembly for a vote next Tuesday.