State Legislature to Convene Extraordinary Session over Kimberly-Clark

Wisconsin state Senate

Author: Will Kenneally

State legislative leaders say the legislature will return to Madison consider a bill to give paper goods company Kimberly-Clark tax incentives to stay in Wisconsin.

They plan to hold a public hearing on the bill Nov. 12, with a floor session later in the month.

The bill would give tax breaks to the company to keep one of two Fox Valley factories open. The legislation hit a roadblock when some Republican senators announced they would not support legislation already passed in the Assembly.

Republicans hold a 18-15 majority in the Senate, meaning a bill fails if two Republican senators and all Democrats vote against it. Republican Sen. Chris Kapenga, Delafield, says he does not support tax incentives for the company outright. Another, Republican Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater, is critical of the size of the tax incentives.

It is unclear whether the Senate will make any changes to the Assembly bill. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Dan Romportl, tells WSUM that the leader’s preference is to take up the bill as-is.

Romportl says there has been no discussion yet of what changes might be made to the Assembly legislation or whether the Assembly would be willing to adopt any changes the Senate makes.

The legislature will reconvene in what’s called extraordinary session, which means the legislature calls itself back to Madison instead of the governor. Last month, Gov. Scott Walker asked the Senate to return to Madison to take up the Assembly bill, but stopped short of calling a special session.

The session will occur roughly a month and a half after the Sept. 30 deadline before which Kimberly-Clark asked for legislative action to be taken. The Appleton Post-Crescent reports however, the company will further delay closing its facility.

The vote on the measure will noticeably be taken after the Nov. 6 election. This drew criticism from the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, whose executive director Scot Ross characterized the move as “using a lame duck session full of potentially un-elected politicians.”

Senate President Roger Roth tells WPR that Democrats may want to delay the vote as well, if it could be perceived as a win for Walker.