Wisconsin Legislature is a deeper shade of red; so what to lawmakers hope to accomplish?

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MADISON (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Legislature is now a deeper shade of red, with big Republican majorities in both houses -- so what do lawmakers plan to accomplish in the next legislative session, and how will Democrats blunt the rise of the Republicans?

With their membership numbers strengthened in both the Assembly and the Senate, Wisconsin Republicans unveil an ambitious agenda.

"I'd like to have a budget that is big and bold.  Tax reform if we can do it, reducing taxes on property and income as well with tax reform, and then regulatory environment that is welcoming," Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said.

Vos has been elected to another term as the speaker of the Assembly -- this time with an even bigger majority. Nearly two-thirds of the 99-member Assembly are Republicans.

"Wisconsin has seen the reforms that we put into action working in every part of our state and they've ratified our decisions. Now we come back to doing even more good reforms in the next two years," Vos said.

"Obviously I disagree with Speaker Vos that Tuesday's result was a mandate for conservative policies," Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) said.

Rep. Goyke will challenge Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) for the position of minority leader, saying voters sent a message on Election Day.

"It's a sign that we need a new voice and a new face and a new message. I don't think we need to change our values, but we need to change how we communicate them to the voters of Wisconsin," Rep. Goyke said.

Republicans say they're looking to pass legislation that would:

  • re-position Common Core standards
  • require school accountability
  • loosen campaign finance restrictions
  • tighten abortion laws
  • take up "right to work" -- which would essentially end unions in the private sector

"I don't think the public support is there at this time, but if we can build it over time, we'll definitely have to take a look at it," Vos said.

"They're not just controversial, they're terrible ideas. They're bad public policy.  They're not necessary in that they don't help average families in Wisconsin.  They take us in the wrong direction," Rep. Goyke said.

As the new Assembly Republican caucus elected its new leadership, Governor Scott Walker addressed them -- saying he needs their support to enact his agenda.

"We're a team that's going to get things done together. We can show people across this state and across this country -- this is what the counter to the dysfunction in Washington is," Governor Walker said.

Governor Walker and the newly elected lawmakers will be sworn into office on January 5th.

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