The 101st session of the Wisconsin Legislature came to order on January 7, 2013 at the State Capitol to inaugurate newly elected members. The leaders of all four legislative caucuses, Speaker Robin Vos, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Minority Leader Chris Larson made comments expressing their goals for the upcoming session.
Though the budget will be the 800 pound gorilla in both chambers during the early part of the session, both parties have policy priorities they also hope to pass.
On the Republican side, Vos and Fitzgerald indicated that a mining bill will be introduced early next week, with the intention that it be passed by both houses this spring. The GOP leaders also said their agenda includes measures to cut other regulations on businesses, reduce the income tax, and reform education.
Republican Gov. Walker has many of the same goals. His budget priorities in the upcoming legislative session will be job creation, workforce development, tax cuts, education reform and building transportation infrastructure. He has also expressed his desire that the legislature pass a mining bill and venture capital legislation.
Democrats have similar priorities, including creating jobs, closing the skills gap, reforming and supporting public education and making government more open and responsive to the citizens. As Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said, “Those are not Democratic values or Republican values. Those are Wisconsin values.”
Once they hit the floor, both houses conducted a short opening session for the swearing in ceremonies and remarks by leadership.
Senators were sworn in Monday afternoon by state Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack, who is running for re-election in April.
Most Assembly members were sworn in by Justice David Prosser, but freshmen Assembly Democrats were sworn in during a more personalized ceremony by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.