Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) gave the Republican response to Gov. Tony Evers’s second State of the State address on Jan. 22. Roth highlighted the Legislature’s success in the 2019-21 state budget, which he praised as funding priorities like transportation, health care, and education without increasing taxes.
Roth criticized the governor for his vetoes of several bills and budget items, such as a middle class tax cut, prohibiting “born-alive” abortions, and funding for a mental health treatment center in northern Wisconsin. However, Roth said Republicans are committed to working with Democrats in the remaining few months of session. Roth mentioned the Republican majority is working on legislation to address issues including health care, crime, and property taxes.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) also gave responses to WisPolitics after the governor’s speech. Vos and Fitzgerald, without having yet had an opportunity to review the proposed legislation, weren’t sure whether the Republican majority in the Legislature will support Evers’s package of bills the governor says are intended to help farmers. The Republican leaders were wary of Evers’s plan for a nonpartisan redistricting commission. Both Fitzgerald and Vos noted that the Wisconsin Constitution vests the power to draw the legislative maps in the Legislature, not the executive branch.