This week saw completion of the round of three special elections to replace Republican Assembly members who left their seats for other positions. Jeff Stone’s southeastern Wisconsin seat was won easily by Franklin alderman Ken Skowronski on Tuesday, so the Republican’s in the Assembly retain their 60-39 majority.
Republicans are a lock to hold the Assembly by large margins after 2014, and are major favorites to retain the Senate. While there are a handful of seats that could be competitive in the Senate, stars would have to align for the Democrats to regain the control they last had in 2010.
There are a few dynamics that could affect the remaining months with regard to what items make their way through the legislature and which ones don’t. While the Walker administration may want the legislature to avoid controversial issues in anticipation of the governor’s reelection bid (or something bigger?), some legislators will certainly want to take advantage of the fact that they control all three houses and push ultra-conservative legislation. Additionally, there is talk of a rift between leadership in the senate and assembly that some believe could slow down various bills. Historically, the houses view themselves as something more akin to competitors than collaborators, so this is nothing new. In the end, things have a way of working out as the clock starts to run out on the legislative session.
Under any scenario, as the calendar turns from 2013 to an election year, legislation will be viewed under a different light and the intensity surrounding the capitol will amp up as the pressure of the clock winding down on another session combines with the added scrutiny that comes during campaign years.