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Civil Service Overhaul Headed To Governor’s Desk

State Senate Approves GOP-Backed Bill Along Party Lines

Wisconsin state capitol building dome
Jeff E. (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The state Senate voted to approve a bill overhauling Wisconsin’s civil service system.

The bill eliminates applicant exams and bumping rights for more experienced workers, creates merit raises, extends probation periods from six months to two years and defines just cause for firings.

The Senate considered the bill during their floor session Wednesday. It passed 19-14 along party lines.

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Democrats complained the measure would open the door to political patronage and favoritism in hiring. Republicans countered that hiring would still be based on merit.

The Assembly passed a version of the bill in October that erases a requirement that job applicants indicate prior criminal convictions. Sen. Stephen Nass had been trying to retain the requirement in whatever the Senate passes, but on Wednesday said he had dropped that fight and the Senate took up the Assembly version of the measure.

The measure now goes on to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. He has expressed support for the changes.

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