Assembly Speaker Vos to CBS 58: Willing to compromise on abortion law & school funding, Evers doubtful

NOW: Assembly Speaker Vos to CBS 58: Willing to compromise on abortion law & school funding, Evers doubtful

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- On Thursday, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos indicated a willingness to compromise with Democratic Governor Tony Evers on the state's abortion law and school funding.

The movement comes as many politicos are fearing another four years of partisan gridlock at the statehouse.

CBS 58 was the only tv station to speak with Vos after the Republican caucus met Thursday to vote on party leadership.

Vos has long said he supports abortion exceptions for rape or incest, but he wants the legislature to decide the issue, not the courts. Vos told CBS 58 Capitol Reporter Emilee Fannon, "I think that should be our first option. So it's disappointing, and I hope Governor Evers would maybe reconsider his position to say 'we want judges to be able to make this choice.'"

Vos said he's interested in modifying the state's 19th century law that completely bans abortion with no exceptions. "I was very clear: I ran for office, I've done it for every single time I've run. I believe in the exceptions for rape and incest."

At a Wednesday stop, Governor Evers said the lawsuit against the 1849 law will continue. Evers wants to strike down the law in its entirety, and has long argued the courts should decide, not lawmakers.

Reporters asked the Governor if he thought a compromise was possible. He replied, "On that issue? It's going to be difficult."

Evers added that a legislative solution is unlikely. "If the legislature wants to put a proposal up, we can certainly look at it. But just listening to the comments in the campaign, I don't think it exists."

Vos' caucus of 64 Republican representatives is unwieldy. All members may not agree to a law that includes exceptions. Still, Vos said, "I think we need to make sure the definition of the life of the mother is as clear as it can be so we don't have a court, later on, litigating what that is."

For the past four years, Vos and Evers have butted heads on virtually every conceivable issue, but Thursday Vos also indicated there could be another opening on school funding.

Vos said of Evers, "He wants more money, we want some reforms, seems like there's a potential for a deal."

The day before, Evers said Republican lawmakers all represent public schools, and his initial request will be for $2 billion.

Vos countered Thursday, saying, "If he wants more money for schools, we have to have some reform along the way. We're not just going to write a blank check. Because we now see what it looks like over the past couple years."

A spokesperson for Governor Evers did not directly address Vos' comments when reached Thursday night.

They instead passed along the following statement:

The people of Wisconsin rejected radical, divisive state policies on Tuesday, and Gov. Evers is grateful Wisconsinites trust him to keep fighting for them over the next four years.

Gov. Evers looks forward to continuing to work to restore reproductive freedom while finding common ground to help working families facing rising costs, fix our roads and expand high-speed internet, keep our communities safe, and increase investments in our public schools, among other critical issues, that we know Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support.

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