September 17, 2014

Spring Legislative session gets underway today

Members of the Wisconsin state Legislature head back to work today, with lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate being sworn in this afternoon to kick off a new two-year session.

Incoming Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) says improving Wisconsin’s economy will remain a top priority. Vos says he plans to maintain a “laser beam focus” on helping the private sector create new jobs.

Those efforts are expected to include passing a mining reform bill this spring and adopting a new two-year state budget. Vos says he also hopes to see lawmakers take up in an income tax cut for Wisconsin residents making up to $200,000, while also considering a raise for public employees who made sacrifices in the last budget to help get state spending under control.

Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says his chamber will have similar goals, by making sure the next state budget is balanced and has little or no structural deficit. Fitzgerald also believes education reforms could be included in the state budget bill, due out later this spring.

AUDIO: Sen. Fitzgerald (:23)

While Republicans are back in the majority in both chambers, Vos says he wants to work with the minority party on issues that are important to the state. Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) hopes GOP leaders stand by that promise, especially since they campaigned on the issue. However, he says past experience has shown the GOP has a tendency to talk about bipartisanship and then act on socially extreme issues.

Members of both chambers will be sworn in at two this afternoon.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:17)

WIBA’s John Colbert contributed to this report.