Old proposals could be resurrected as Democrats take control of Wisconsin's Legislature - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Old proposals could be resurrected as Democrats take control of Wisconsin's Legislature


Madison (WKOW) -- The state legislature will look and operate differently this coming session.

After last nights tally of ballots across Wisconsin.

Democrats picked up five seats in the Assembly, giving them the majority with 52 seats to the Republicans' 46 seats plus one independent.

The Senate Democrats maintained their lead with 18 seats to the Republicans 15.

Meaning the Dems control both houses and the executive seat.

"I believe we should move forward on some of the common sense steps that for no good reason...failed to get done in the divided legislature despite bi-partisan support," says Governor Jim Doyle.

Representative Mark Pocan has spent the last decade in the minority.

He says unlike last session, lawmakers can now hammer out important issues, including the state budget without so much partisan bickering.

"The last budget was a mess when you had split parties, you had horse trading and a budget put together with Band-Aids and chewing gum. Now we will have a budget with our values," Pocan says.

Governor Doyle says we could see a few proposals denied by the Republican controlled Assembly last session come back next session.

They include required healthcare coverage for children with autism and a state hospital tax.

Senator Fred Risser has been trying to pass a statewide smoking ban for years.

Now that Democrats have control, he believes the proposal has a fighting chance.

"Where in the last session it was turned down without any serious consideration," Risser says.

Critics have said with Democrats controlling the legislature, anything could pass.

Pocan says if voters are unsatisfied with their performance next session, democrats could lose their seats in two years, which could sway the balance of power back in the other direction.

The assembly will be picking their leadership sometime next week.

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