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Assembly says contracts should go to companies using Wisconsin products, no enforcement included

The Wisconsin Assembly has passed its first two bills in the new session.

Both are aimed at giving more government work to the state's recession-plagued companies.

The lower house voted 77-22 to have state and local governments buy at least one-fifth of their goods and services from Wisconsin-based firms.

And they voted 69-30 to require most of the state's contracted work to be performed within the U.S., so suppliers don't ship jobs overseas.

The measure would not apply to donated or federally-funded items, University of Wisconsin grants and endowment funds, or services which are not available in this country.

Assembly Republican Jeff Stone of Greendale says neither measure does anything to create jobs and they won't be enforced in any way so they're basically toothless.

But Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, who proposed the contracting bill, says the state should spend its money in Wisconsin whenever possible.

The original bill said at least 5 percent of state goods should come from state firms. But Republicans were able to increase that percentage to 20.

Both bills now go to the Senate.