MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Republican-controlled state Senate has passed a bill that would allow lobbyists to start giving campaign donations seven weeks earlier than current law allows.
The bill passed Wednesday would allow lobbyists to start making personal donations the day candidates can circulate petitions for office, which is April 15. Under current law they can't make any donations until June 1.
However, state law would continue to bar lobbyists from giving campaign donations to members of the Legislature while it is still in session.
Republican supporters say the change is needed because partisan primaries have been moved up from September to August. But Democratic opponents say it will only feed into the view that politicians are beholden to lobbyists.
The bill passed 17-15, with Republican Sen. Dale Schultz joining Democrats against it.