MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bill that would legalize blaze pink hunting gear in Wisconsin cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday after a state Assembly committee overwhelmingly approved the measure.

The Assembly Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee passed the bill on a 14-1 vote Wednesday, clearing the way for the full Assembly to take up the bill. A spokeswoman for Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, didn’t immediately respond to an email asking about the bill’s chances.

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Under current Wisconsin law, at least half of each article of clothing that gun deer hunters wear above the waist must be blaze orange. The bipartisan bill would allow hunters to wear fluorescent pink as well.

The bill’s authors, Reps. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, and Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, maintain that the measure will encourage more women to take up hunting, give hunters more clothing options and give apparel manufacturers a boost.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison textile expert Majid Sarmadi, who studied blaze pink’s visibility for Milroy and Kleefisch earlier this year, assured the committee earlier this month that blaze pink would be safe in the woods, saying it stands out better than orange against Wisconsin’s orange-brown fall landscape. He also said deer have an easier time seeing blaze orange than blaze pink, suggesting the color might camouflage hunters.

The committee voted on the bill Wednesday with no discussion beyond Chairman Al Ott, R-Forest Junction, remarking that bill is “very clean.”

Rep. Ken Skowrownski, R-Franklin, cast the lone dissenting vote. He told the committee during the public hearing that he can’t see any reason for the bill beyond making a fashion statement.

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According to the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, no state has legalized blaze pink for hunting clothing. A Maine legislator proposed a bill earlier this year that would have allowed hunters in that state to wear pink during October to raise breast cancer awareness but the measure hasn’t gone anywhere.
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