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Assembly passes bill cutting power of Milwaukee County Board

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Milwaukee County Board members would get less power, and maybe smaller paychecks, under a bill passed by the state Assembly Wednesday.

59 Republicans voted yes, and 39 Democrats voted no to giving more authority to the chief executive of Wisconsin’s largest county.

Governor Scott Walker used to hold that job – and he supports the reforms proposed by former County Board member Joe Sanfelippo soon after he joined the Legislature.

Meanwhile, a Senate committee endorsed its own version of the bill, which clarifies the county executive’s authority on union negotiations. That means both houses will have to reconcile their differences.

Senate leaders plan to take up the measure next week.

Sanfelippo says he does not care which version ultimately passes. Democrats say the bill is another example of Madison meddling in local government affairs.

Assembly Democrat Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay said all the proposed changes should be subject to a binding referendum. The current bill demands a referendum only for a proposed 50 percent pay cut for Milwaukee County Board members.