2011 state legislative session now underwayWisconsin News
The 2011 Legislative session just opened and a Democratic lawmaker says the new majority of Republicans is already forgetting its promise to focus on jobs and restoring Wisconsin’s economy.
MADISON - The 2011 Legislative session just opened and a Democratic lawmaker says the new majority of Republicans is already forgetting its promise to focus on jobs and restoring Wisconsin’s economy.
State Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says the first bills being circulated for sponsors Monday morning dealt with social issues that will do nothing to live up to the Republican campaign platforms of creating jobs in the state. The proposals cover a wide range of sometimes controversial issues, such as ending same-day voter registration and allowing off-duty law enforcement to carry guns on school property. They also cover lifting the ban on selling motor vehicles on a Sunday, increasing penalties for retail theft, and expanding the ability of minors under the age of 12 to drive an ATV.
Rep. Joel Kleefisch, a Republican who introduced most of the proposals circulating Monday, said the majority of them are bills that passed in the Assembly last session but failed to get a vote in the state Senate. He said Republicans are still very focused on job creation as they begin the session.
Wisconsin senators officially opened their special session today on improving the state’s economy. But nothing else will happen until at least Thursday, when the Senate is scheduled to reconvene.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said he’ll open the session tomorrow and committees will start considering Gov. Scott Walker’s various economic measures next week. Fitzgerald expects some of the bills to pass his house Jan. 18. He said most should be on Walker’s desk by the end of February – which is when the Republican governor hopes to complete his action on the economy.
Assembly leaders are officially introducing the measures today. Walker wants to provide new tax breaks, revamp the Commerce Department and take other steps toward creating 250,000 jobs in the state over the next four years.
Also this morning, Walker met with Senate Democrats and said he’s willing to work with all of them. They gave him a standing ovation when Stevens Point Democrat Julie Lassa introduced him.
But unless Republicans start straying from the party line, Walker won’t need the Democrats to get what he wants. The GOP has a 19-14 majority in the Senate and a 60-38 majority in the Assembly with one independent.