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Legislators get earful on gift card bills

Wisconsin legislators have been getting an earful this week on how far the state should go to regulate those retail gift cards.

Public hearings were held on two competing bills.

One makes it a crime for stores to put expiration dates or service fees on their cards. The other simply makes stores disclose those dates and fees.

Wednesday, business groups lined up to support the latter.

Sen. Peggy Krusick, D-Milwaukee, says stores love that bill because "it does nothing."

She says Wisconsin consumers lose $11 million a year when their gift cards expire or get slapped with fees.

And Krusick says people should get what they pay for. But not all Democrats want to go that far.

Sen. Jeff Plale, D-Milwaukee, says shoppers have to be responsible, too, and the disclosure bill would give them the tools to do it.

Bob Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, head of the Senate's Small Business Committee, says he'll try to work out a compromise between the two measures.

Similar bills came up in the last session, but they never went anywhere.