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Thursday, December 4, 2014

 4:20 PM 

Senate committees announced

Sen. Luther Olsen will return next session as Education chair, but one of the Legislature's leading opponents of Common Core will head a new Committee on Education Reform & Government Operations.

Sen. Paul Farrow, who will lead the new committee, has expressed a desire to repeal the Common Core standards, and insiders believe the second education committee was created to address a push by conservatives to do that. Olsen, R-Ripon, has opposed the legislation, which didn't make it out of his Education Committee.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald today announced members of 15 standing committees, along with 10 joint committees, the Building Commission and the appointment of Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Board.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, will co-chair Joint Finance, while Olsen will serve as vice chair and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, was re-appointed as well. Joining them are Sens. Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst and Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa.

Sen.-elect Howard Marklein of Spring Green rounds out the Senate GOP's six slots on the body.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

 3:23 PM 

Vos announces Assembly committees

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos today announced 32 standing committees for the 2015-2016 session, including new committees on Mental Health Reform and Public Benefit Reform.

Vos, R-Rochester, said the new committees reflect his caucus' hopes to expand on mental health bills passed last session and to address "a large number of entitlement reforms."

"We need to weed out fraud, waste and abuse to ensure that people who really need temporary assistance are getting it," Vos said.

The announcement would cut the number of standing committees from 36 at the beginning of the current session. The Government Operations and State Licensing and Rural Affairs committees were repealed in October of 2013, while committees on Urban Education, State and Federal Relations, State and Local Finance, and International Trade and Commerce have been dropped.

The chamber will also have a Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee in the next session -- instead of separate Criminal Justice and Public Safety and Homeland Security committees. In addition, the current Jobs, Economy and Mining panel will be split into separate committees on Jobs and the Economy and on Mining and Rural Development.

Monday, December 1, 2014

 3:02 PM 

Leibham resigns state Senate seat one month early

State Sen. Joe Leibham announced today he is resigning his Senate seat a month ahead of his scheduled departure as he pursues another job.

Leibham, R-Sheboygan, opted against seeking re-election to the 9th SD this fall to instead run for the GOP nomination in the 6th CD. He finished second in a three-way Republican primary for the open congressional seat.

Leibham's term in the Senate was to end early next month with the new crop of lawmakers being sworn in. But he said in a statement his resignation will be effective at 4 p.m. today.

“In the interest of considering future employment opportunities while being compliant with state law, I must resign my position as State Senator for Wisconsin's 9th Senate District," Leibham said.

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