MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Supporters of a bill that a group of Wisconsin second-graders suggested years ago to limit the sale of novelty lighters are disappointed that the proposal has failed to pass.
In 2009, students in Londa Kuehn’s class at Pittsville Elementary School wanted to keep the lighters shaped like toys from being sold to children. Pittsville Fire Chief Jerry Minor has been taking the children’smessage to legislators for the last seven years. The students who started the idea are now freshmen.
This year, it looked like the measure might finally pass. The Wisconsin Senate passed its version in January. But the proposal failed to pass early Friday as the Assembly wrapped up its work for the two-year legislative session, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune Media reported. “I was watching it when it died,” said Minor, who was viewing the session on the live feed provided by Wisconsin Eye. “I’m beyond disappointed. We were so sure this time.” One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Rep. Scott Krug of Rome, Wisconsin, said he had 55 votes for the proposal, but many were on condition that it would be on a voice vote and not a roll call, which means legislators’ votes are recorded.
Krug said the bill, which targets manufacturers and retailers, is not very Republican-friendly. The bill needed a majority of the 99 members of the GOP-controlled Assembly to pass. Although disappointed, Krug said he’s ready to start again next session. Minor said he does not understand why anyone would object to the bill. “This affects kids and firefighters, and I cannot believe who cannot support that,” he said.