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Lawmakers feuding over who pays convention tabs

Wisconsin lawmakers are always feuding about something, whether they're in session or not.

This week, the question is whether to stick taxpayers with the costs of attending their national meetings.

We're paying six Democratic senators -- four of their aides -- and two Senate staff members to go to New Orleans for the annual convention of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The tab is more than $1,000 each. It starts July 22.

Meanwhile, several Republicans will have corporate groups pay their costs for a different convention - the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Chicago that starts July 30.

Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, says the National Conference is valuable because it deals with issues in a non-partisan way.

Rep. Phil Montgomery, R-Ashwaubenon, is the only Republican who's going and he'll use his campaign funds to pay for it.

Assembly Speaker Rep. Mike Huebsch, R-Weston, says he's happy that taxpayers won't be stuck with the bill for the Chicago gathering.

Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, says they won't know who's paying their way, because several firms donate into a blind trust for the event.

But Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, calls Exchange Council meeting a, "corporate propaganda-fest." Pocan went to it last year, using campaign funds.