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MADISON — The state Senate has passed legislation that would invest millions of dollars in public money in Wisconsin startups despite criticism that it only targets limited industries.

The venture capital program created under the bipartisan proposal would contain $25 million from the state and at least $50 million in private money. The investment will go to qualified young Wisconsin companies operating in agriculture, information technology, engineered products, advanced manufacturing, and medical devices and imaging industries.

Democrats criticize the bill for excluding sectors such as biotechnology, but Republicans say the priority should be industries that can return investments and create jobs quickly.

An amended version of the measure passed the Senate on a 29-3 vote. The Assembly is expected to approve it later Tuesday.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports