Lawmakers look to focus on road and school funding, healthcare access during legislative session              

By Rose McBride, WJFW

MADISON - Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin saw a dropping unemployment rate, the near elimination of collective bargaining rights for public employees, and a strong focus on business.

Tony Evers' agenda will be very different from Walker's.

While Evers and new members of the assembly and senate just took office Monday, we already know what lawmakers hope to work on this legislative session.

"May we be willing to do what's best for the next generation rather than the next election," said Evers.

Evers wants lawmakers to put people over party.

But prior to Monday's inauguration, partisan battles during a lame-duck session made some people unsure if a divided government would work.

Some compromise will be needed between both parties if they want to get anything passed.

Three things they're hoping to come to an agreement on are education funding, access to healthcare, and long term solution to funding our roads.

On healthcare, both sides want to see increased access and coverage for preexisting conditions.

"Wisconsin is very blessed by the fact that we have the number one healthcare system in the U.S. for quality, but we need to make sure that the access is affordable to rural and urban areas where they might lack it," said Rep. Mary Felzkowski, (R) Irma.

But how they want to get there…isn't as simple.

Evers wants to expand Medicaid coverage, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos thinks it will increase private-sector costs.

Evers will craft a budget in the coming months, which is expected to include a 10 percent increase in school funding. That's something unlikely to get initial approval from Republicans.

"The budget is crafted in a way that we have to save enough money for everybody, for everything, for every department. So if he is just going to carte blanche throw a bunch of money at education I'm not sure the state can take it that way," said Rep. Rob Swearingen, (R) Rhinelander.

People in Wisconsin seem to care most about those topics, and it's why they voted in the leaders they did.

"When I heard from people in Central Wisconsin I always hear the same thing: healthcare, roads, education, and water quality. I think that's what our governor is going to do," said Rep. Katrina Shankland, (D) Stevens Point.