Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) gave some insight into his policy goals for the next legislative session in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal over the weekend, vowing to avoid the type of partisan political battles that overtook the state for a large portion of the previous two years.
"We're not going to do things that are going to bring 80,000 or 100,000 people into the Capitol," Walker told the Journal. "It's just not going to happen again."
Walker said he would attempt to temper his own expectations for the state's agenda by urging Republican lawmakers not to introduce legislation on some of the most contentious issues in Wisconsin. The Journal reports that Walker suggested he would be willing to step away from bills that would scale back same-day voter registration, enact strict immigration enforcement, make Wisconsin a right-to-work state and move to overhaul the state Government Accountability Board. He also said that he'd make approving state mining permits a priority, an issue that failed to pass muster in the previous legislature.
"It's not a flip-flop because I'm not necessarily changing positions," Walker told the Journal of his goals, adding that his plan was simply an issue of prioritizing job creation in the state.
Walker's announcement comes as the new, Republican-controlled legislature prepares to begin its new session on Monday. The GOP retook control of the state Senate in November and still holds a solid majority in the state Assembly.
Not all in the state are ready to take Walker at his word. Progressive watchdog Scott Walker Watch warned on Monday that a number of powerful state legislators were strong allies of outside influences such as the Koch brothers and American Legislative Exchange Council, which have emerged as leading proponents of controversial legislative efforts, such as voter ID laws. Walker Watch suggests that their allegiances could lie with those groups over their governor.