Democrats hold roundtable on paid family leave after Republicans reject proposal

NOW: Democrats hold roundtable on paid family leave after Republicans reject proposal

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Democrats on the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee held a roundtable discussion with business owners over their push for paid family leave.

It comes a day after the Republican-controlled committee rejected Democrats' proposal to fund a study to examine the economic impacts of paid leave, and at one point turned off Rep. Evan Goyke's microphone while advocating for the issue Tuesday.

On Wednesday, business leaders talked about how such a program in Wisconsin would help attract and retain workers in a competitive job market.

"It impacts everyone. Whether you have children or not, whether you have parents that are aging, or you need to take care of your own health issues," said Macy Buhler, owner of the Yahara River Learning Center in Deforest. "To me it's inhumane we don't offer this."

During the committee hearing, the Republican co-chairs repeatedly asked Democrats to stop talking about Gov. Tony Evers' budget proposal to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave because it was removed from the state budget weeks ago.

Evers' proposal would have created a $243 million program for public and private sector workers.

For years paid leave has been largely supported by Democrats, but last year, a former Republican candidate for governor and an anti-abortion lobbying group both expressed interest in the idea.

"It's not some radical policy, it's not a public benefit welfare it's earned," Goyke said during the committee. "You guys have buried your hand in the sand on this issue. You lost in November, you got trounced in April. The more you silence us, the more you turn off my microphone, the more elections you're going to lose."

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