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Democrats vote to keep DNR service centers open and reverse new hunting limits

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Wisconsin Assembly Democrats have started to make their own changes to the proposed state budget.

Among other things, they voted to keep all Department of Natural Resources service counters open, after Gov. Jim Doyle proposed closing many of them.

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They also voted against new limits on hunting and other recreational activities on certain state nature lands, as proposed by the Joint Finance Committee.

The Assembly Democrats also decided not to extend property tax exemptions to all non-profit retirement homes with units worth up to 160 percent of the market values of single family homes.

Right now, some non-profit complexes get tax breaks and some don't and Milwaukee's mayor was among the local government criticizing tax exemptions for senior apartments in the suburbs worth more than $0.5 million.

A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan said the majority Democrats worked until about 11 p.m. Tuesday on the budget changes and they'll consider more of them today.

The entire Assembly was planning to vote on the budget today, but Democrats delayed the vote until at least Thursday.

The party is struggling to get the 50 votes they need to pass something their members will accept.

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