September 19, 2014

Senate will transition to Democrat leadership

Leadership in the state Senate will once again shift to the Democrats, at least for the time being. Senator Scott Fitzgerald, who led Republicans through a historic session, says the GOP is ready to hand off leadership to Democrats. Democrat Jon Lehman defeated Republican Van Wannggard in a recall. “Now that the recount has been concluded, we want to make sure that it’s once again a smooth transition,” said Fitzgerald, who asked that the Senate return to the floor next week for the purposes or reorganizing. “With that being said, I’m still very optimistic that there will be a change back to Republicans in control in November.”

Until then, Senator Mark Miller will serve as majority leader. “I’m glad that we’re going to have a peaceful transition to the new majority,” said the Monona Democrat. It’s anticipated that Madison Senator Fred Risser will be elected as Senate President.

There are no legislative floor sessions scheduled for the remainder of the year, and Fitzgerald and Miller disagree on the need for any sort of special session. “I really believe that we need to reload, and the way to do that is to allow individual members just to continue to work on bill and concepts and ideas that they’ll be ready to have drafted, and that we can roll out early next year,” said Fitzgerald. Miller would like to see a special session on workforce training, noting cuts to funding for the state’s technical college system budget. “If we can put a small amount in, ten million dollars approximately, for grants to help fill that need now, that would be something we could get started on right away.”