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Wis. Sen. Votes On Planned Parenthood Funding, Strip Searches, Switchblades

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Senate is set to vote on a pair of bills that would strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding and raise the organization's Medicaid expenses.

One bill would require the state to apply for $3.5 million in federal Title X grant money, which currently all goes to Planned Parenthood. The measure would forbid abortion providers from getting any of that money and instead give it to health departments and the state's Well Woman program.

Approval would send the bill on to Gov. Scott Walker. The Assembly passed the measure in September. The other bill would cost Planned Parenthood about $4 million annually by raising the cost of birth control drugs it receives through Medicaid.

The state Senate is also set to take up a bill that would expand situations where authorities could conduct strip searches. Right now, anyone who is arrested or detained on suspicion of a crime that isn't a felony can be strip-searched only if he or she will be held in a jail or prison with other people for at least 12 hours. The Republican-authored bill would remove the 12-hour holding period needed to conduct a strip search.

Last month the Milwaukee city attorney recommended a $5 million settlement for 14 federal lawsuits alleging illegal strip searches by Milwaukee police. Seventy-four black men alleged they were subjected to illegal strip and body cavity searches.

Additionally on the table is a bill that would allow people to carry concealed switchblades and knives. Manufacturing, selling, transporting, purchasing or possessing a switchblade has been illegal in Wisconsin for decades. Violators are subject to $10,000 in fines and nine months in jail.

The Republican-authored bill would eliminate the prohibition as well as allow anyone who can legally possess a gun to carry concealed knives of any length without a concealed carry license.

Local governments would be barred from enacting knife regulations that are stricter than state law but could ban blades in municipal buildings. Schools and colleges could still prohibit knives on their property.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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