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Democrat lawmaker criticizes ‘anemic’ year in state Legislature

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – The State Assembly met for the final time of the calendar year Tuesday, Nov. 12, bringing what some call an unproductive year to an end.

“The number one goal appears to be ensuring Governor Evers has as few bills passed as possible,” said Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D – Oshkosh). “So that, at the end of the day, it looks like he’s signed the fewest number of bills into law.”

Gov. Evers has signed 20 bills into law so far in his first year in office. That number is set to go up as a number of bills are headed to his desk following Assembly and Senate sessions in recent weeks. But it is still behind pace of some of his predecessors.

In his first year in office and also facing a divided government, former Gov. Jim Doyle signed 68 bills into law around the same time in 2003. Doyle eventually ended his first year in office with a total of 111 bills into law.

Former Gov. Scott Walker didn’t face a divided government and passed 51 bills into law around the same time in his first year in office and eventually ended up with 113 bills signed into law.

Hintz expressed disappointment in the amount of production from the Legislature so far in 2019. “I think it’s been a pretty anemic session,” Hintz told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s floor session. “And I think today’s calendar speaks to the fact that there isn’t a lot of interest in addressing and tackling the big issues out there.”

Republicans, however, pushed back on the notion.

“Here we are in divided government where it takes a lot longer to find consensus,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R – Rochester).

Vos told reporters that it’s not realistic for democrats to expect republican leadership to bring bills to the floor if they’re likely to face stiff opposition by the majority and fail.

“If they want to bring up highly partisan, highly controversial bills and they’re surprised that we’re not going to have massive expansions of welfare, or raise taxes or things like that, well that wouldn’t have been changed no matter who the governor was.”

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