Weather Forecast


Joint Finance Committee endorses $5 hike in handgun fee

Owning a handgun will be more expensive in Wisconsin.

The state Legislature's Joint Finance Committee endorsed a budget measure Tuesday to raise the fee for buying a handgun from $8 to $13.

The Justice Department said the $5 increase would cover the cost of performing the necessary background checks on handgun buyers.

But Gov. Jim Doyle wanted to jack up the fee to $30, and use the extra revenue for other law enforcement programs. The finance panel scrapped that idea.

The committee also said no to a new fee on the slaughtering of farm animals, to help pay for more state meat inspectors.

Doyle proposed fees of 1 to 14 cents per animal, but lawmakers said it would hurt the meat industry and put the state at a competitive disadvantage.

Lawmakers told the state agriculture department to get input from meat processors on the best way to raise revenue for such inspections.

Also, the finance committee okayed the governor's request to let the Department of Natural Resources issue permits for ships to discharge ballast water on Wisconsin portion of the Great Lakes.

The idea is to reduce the number of dangerous foreign species brought in by international boats.