State lawmakers return to Madison, back in session Tuesday

MADISON (WITI) -- Lawmakers return to the state Capitol this week, and they have a full plate for the fall "floor period."

For the first time since the state budget was passed in June, the Wisconsin Legislature will return to the floor to debate and take votes on critical issues.

"We have an aggressive agenda that focuses on a few topics that I think relate to every single Wisconsin family," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said.

The Legislature will likely deal with a number of hot button issues in the Fall -- including sweeping changes to voting laws that would scale back voting hours and re-ignite the voter ID debate, revising campaign finance laws to allow greater contributions, tightening drunk driving laws that would create stiffer penalties in several areas, new abortion restrictions, deciding to close public land around a mining site and continuing Wisconsin's economic recovery.

"Governor Walker's policies are working.  We have a balanced budget. We have a surplus. We're reinvesting in schools. We're cutting taxes. That's the perfect formula for success," Vos said.

Democrats say the GOP is focused on "side issues," and ignoring the state's sluggish jobs situation.

"They're focused on giving away money to political cronies, when we need to be focused on the economic vitality of Wisconsin.  Leadership sent a letter to Speaker Vos, indicating we want jobs bills to be brought up," Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa said.

"We're certainly not ignoring the economic recovery. I'm proud of the fact that Wisconsin is finally gaining jobs now that the recalls are behind us," Vos said.

The voting laws have potential to be highly controversial.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to reform that law," Vos said.

Democrats hope to block the proposal.

"I'm hoping that those bills we wouldn't see come back to the floor this year," Zamarripa said.

The Senate is back in session on Tuesday, September 17th, and the Assembly is back in October.