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Vote delayed on ending residency rule, Rep. Nygren calls "work in progress"


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State lawmakers did not reach an agreement by late Thursday morning on a compromise to let Wisconsin communities tell their public employees where they can live.

The Joint Finance Committee was planning to consider a residency proposal for the next state budget. But Republican co-chair John Nygren says it’s a quote, “work in progress.”

Nygren says the compromise would let public workers live within a certain distance from the communities they serve, or pay a penalty if they don’t to do.

Senate finance co-chair Alberta Darling says her colleagues agree with the distance requirement, but not a penalty for violating it.

The governor’s proposed budget would eliminate residency requirements statewide.

But critics say the Republican Walker is just trying to pay back Milwaukee’s police-and-fire unions which supported him in the last two elections – and who oppose their residency rules. The finance panel also endorsed a budget measure that could kill a proposed street-car line for Milwaukee.

Twelve Republicans voted yes and four Democrats voted no on shifting the street-car’s related costs from utility customers to Milwaukee city taxpayers.

The state’s utility regulators are trying to decide whether utility lines would have to be moved – and the bill requires the city to pay those costs.

Mayor Tom Barrett’s chief-of-staff does not believe electric lines would have to be moved.