Republicans transfer power to Democrats in Senate

Democrats want special session on job creation
Republicans transfer power to Democrats in Senate

Democrats said they want to bring the Legislature back in a special session to take up four issues related to job creation, but the Republican head of the Assembly is dismissing the request as political theater.

Republicans transferred power in the state Senate on Tuesday in a brief meeting that was largely ceremonial. Democrats took control with a one-vote majority after John Lehman won a recall election over Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard.

The majority will hold at least until January, when the lawmakers elected in November will take office.

It’s questionable whether anything can really happen before the November elections, as the Legislature isn’t scheduled to be in session. But Democrats are making that their first issue as they take control of the Senate.

“People looking for jobs need us to do our job,” said Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona. “They shouldn’t have to wait until next year.”


Democrats are calling on the governor or Republican lawmakers to call a special session before the fall elections to pass a four point plan they say would help create jobs, including job training funding and increased borrowing for public works projects.

“We outlined what we think has an opportunity for some short-term benefit to get people back to work soon, and I think in the six months that remain in this biennium that’s what we should focus on,” Miller said.

But Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald called Miller’s request political theater and said it amazes him Democrats want to talk about job creation after they rejected a bill passed by the Assembly designed to help a new iron mine open in northern Wisconsin.

“It’s a little disingenuous now to take over the house when we’re in the middle of campaign season and say, ‘We want to come in and work on jobs now,'” said Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon. “That doesn’t seem to pass the smell test to me.”

Republicans said a special session is unlikely.

“Can you talk to the Governor’s office? Can both houses continue to communicate? Absolutely,” said Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. “I’m being realistic. I just don’t see that happening right now.”

Miller said his caucus is looking forward and wanted to deal with measures that could put people back to work immediately.