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Wisconsin legislators keep same leaders for 2021-22 session

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Meet the Wisconsin Legislature’s new bosses, same as the old bosses.

Republicans and Democrats in the state Assembly and Senate Democrats met Tuesday to decide on leadership for the upcoming 2021-22 session. Republicans chose to retain Robin Vos as speaker, a post he’s held since 2013.

Democrats again chose Gordon Hintz as minority leader. Hintz held the position during the last two-year session.

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, picked Janet Bewley as minority leader. Bewley has held the post since April, when she took over after Jennifer Shilling resigned to become a lobbyist.

The only new caucus leader is Devin LeMahieu. Senate Republicans picked him as majority leader last week. He replaces legislative veteran Scott Fitzgerald, who is headed to Washington to fill an open congressional seat.

The GOP emerged from last week’s elections with commanding majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. Assembly Republicans hold a 60-36 advantage with three races still too close to call; Senate Republicans expanded their advantage to 21-11 with one race still too close to call.

The two-year legislative session is set to begin in January. Lawmakers’ first tasks will be revising Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ executive budget and redrawing legislative district lines. Pressure is mounting on Republicans to do something to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin, but so far they haven’t signaled any plans. The GOP passed a pandemic aid package in April but hasn’t done anything to address the disease since — aside from mounting legal challenges to Evers’ stay-at-home order.

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