Senate Votes To Keep Christmas Trees In Churches, Capitol Rotunda

Measure Overrules Local Fire Safety Policies

Rough Tough, Real Stuff (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Local fire departments would have to allow Christmas trees in churches under a measure that passed the Senate Tuesday night.

The plan would prohibit cities from enacting or enforcing any rules related to fire safety that prohibit the placement of a Christmas tree in a church. It would also apply to the rotunda of the state Capitol. Whitewater-area Republican Sen. Steve Nass called it a common sense bill.

“Never did I think that we would be here in the state Senate having to pass legislation so people can enjoy a Christmas Tree,” he said.

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But Madison Democratic Sen. Fred Risser said the bill was essentially asking local officials to ignore their own judgement.

“Can you imagine legislating against fire safety?” he said. “That’s what we’re doing here.”

Still, the plan passed on a bipartisan 25-7 vote and heads next to the governor for his signature.