Senator LeMahieu Introduced Senator James
Jesse L. James was born and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. After serving in the U.S. Army for six years, Jesse attended Chippewa Valley Technical College, where he studied police science. Jesse served as the Police and Fire Chief of Altoona, Wisconsin, before being elected to the Wisconsin Assembly. During his tenure, Jesse was the Chair of the Assembly Substance Abuse and Prevention Committee and dedicated himself to pursuing his legislative passions in the areas of the opioid epidemic, mental health, and protecting Wisconsin’s children.
Jesse and his wife Vicki currently reside in Altoona, where they enjoy their four children, two granddaughters, and own a small business together. Jesse still works as a part-time police officer in the Village of Cadott, and is currently the only active law enforcement officer in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Senator LeMahieu Introduced Senator Quinn
Romaine Quinn was born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin and is a graduate of Rice Lake High School. He attended UW-Eau Claire and UW-Green Bay, where he graduated with an interdisciplinary B.A. in Political Science and Public Leadership. Romaine is a real estate agent and currently lives in Cameron, WI with his wife Racquel and their two sons -- his most recent being born just weeks ago. He is a member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Wisconsin Realtors Association, and a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church parish council in Rice Lake.
Romaine is also a former member of the Rice Lake City Council, the former Mayor of Rice Lake, and previously served in the state assembly from 2014 to 2020, where he held the role of caucus vice-chair.  At 24 years old, he was the youngest serving state representative in Wisconsin in 2014.  Romaine will be serving his first term in the state senate this session.
Senator Agard Introduced Senator Hesselbein
Joining the State Senate this session is Senator Dianne Hesselbein, succeeding outgoing Senator Jon Erpenbach. Senator Hesselbein was born and raised in Dane County where she attended LaFollette High School. She graduated from UW-Oshkosh and later completed a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies at Edgewood College.
Senator Hesselbein possesses a rich background of public service and truly lives her values. Before being elected to the State Legislature, Senator Hesselbein was elected to the Middleton Cross Plains Area School District Board of Education in 2005; elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors in 2008 and served 3 terms. 
Senator Hesselbein and her husband Bob, a retired airline pilot and retired member of the Wisconsin National Guard live in Middleton and have three children, Will, Annika and Katie.
I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Dianne since high school when we met during a summer theater program. She and I served on the Dane County Board together and were later elected to the State Assembly in 2012, motivated by our dedication to our great state and lifting up the voices of Wisconsinites. She has been a fabulous partner in the legislature for years and a fierce advocate for veterans and public education. I know she will diligently represent her constituents as State Senator of the beautiful 27th Senate District.
Senator LeMahieu Introduced Senator Tomczyk
“Cory was born in Rudolph, WI and lived there until 5th grade when his family moved to Wisconsin Rapids, graduating from Lincoln High School in 1980.
He is married to his wife Becky and they have two adult children and three grandchildren.
Cory has lived in Mosinee, WI since 1988. He and his wife started a recycling business, IROW, in 1989. IROW serves businesses throughout northcentral Wisconsin by providing industrial recycling services, confidential shredding services, and record storage services.
Cory has served his community as a youth sports coach for many years and is a former member of the Mosinee School Board. He has been active in the Republican Party of Marathon County; he was also an original board member of Get Involved Wisconsin Inc.”
Senator Agard Introduced Senator Smith
I am honored to read Senator Smith’s biography today, specially prepared by his wife and family.
Jeff Smith has served as senator in the 31st district since 2019. He is here today with his wife Sue, and their daughters, Emily and Sarah. Jeff is known for the phrase ‘I can fix that.’ Whether it is a broken dinner plate or a broken voter access policy, he puts his head down and does his best to correct the situation.
Jeff was born and raised in Eau Claire, one of six brothers and one sister. He and his dad operated Bob Smith Window Cleaning and eventually Jeff took over the business. Recently, one of his former employees reminded Jeff how, even though he owned the business, Jeff never asked his employees to do something he wouldn’t do. Which included cleaning windows on multi-story buildings. 
The year he and Sue were married, they built their own home, much of which was learned by following instructions page by page in a home building book. When things went wrong that ‘I can fix that’ determination resulted in the hobby farm which they still enjoy. As a public school teacher, Sue encouraged Jeff to be involved with the schools their daughters attended. He went from volunteering in classrooms to P.T.A. president. When Jeff saw the need for more widespread parental involvement, he created the parent advisory council for the Eau Claire Area School District. The council, renamed family advisory council, is still in operation. When Jeff saw issues that needed fixing in the township in which he lives he ran and was elected to Brunswick Town Chair. This led to the realization that in order to make real change, he needed to work at the state level and so he was elected to the state assembly in 2006. 
In 2018 when Jeff saw many things still needed fixing at the state level, he ran and was elected to the State Senate. Jeff fixed the issue of accountability and availability by elected officials by creating his signature ‘Stop and Talk’ sessions, parked on the roadside with his old red pickup and talking with anyone who wanted to stop. While Sue has lots of things she would like Jeff to fix around home, he is determined to continue to prioritize health care access and affordability, fair redistricting maps and environmental issues such as clean water.
Senator LeMahieu Introduced Senator Kapenga
Senator Chris Kapenga has worked for a Fortune 500 company and as a CPA in one of the largest public accounting firms in the world. He owns several businesses and has served in public office for the past 12 years.
Growing up on a family farm, Chris was the first member of his family to graduate college. His wide-ranging professional experience has empowered his understanding of how organizations function effectively, how to achieve reform, and how to gain efficiencies through planning and execution of process change.
Chris was elected to serve as a member of the state Assembly in 2010 and has been serving in the state Senate since 2015. In 2020, he was elected by his peers to Senate President and currently serves as Co-Chair on the Joint Legislative Counsel, Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, Joint Committee on Employment Relations, and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Senate Organization.
Chris and his wife, Cari, reside in Delafield, WI. They enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, serving in their church community, and traveling.
Senator Feyen Introduced Senator LeMahieu
Devin LeMahieu is a native of Sheboygan County, having attended Sheboygan County Christian High School before graduating with a BA in Business Administration and Political Science from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Devin currently resides in Oostburg and is the publisher and owner of the Lakeshore Weekly, a family-owned small business that serves the Sheboygan County area. He has previously served on the Sheboygan County Board and continues to serve his community as a member of the Oostburg and Sheboygan County’s Chambers of Commerce and Bethel OPC.
In his free time, Devin is an avid golfer and Ironman competitor. Devin has successfully completed nine Ironman triathlons.
Devin was elected to serve a member of the State Senate in 2014. In 2020, Devin was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Senate Majority Leader and currently serves on the Committee of Senate Organization, the Joint Committee of Employment Relations, the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization and the Joint Legislative Council.
Oath of Office
Upon the calling of the newly elected Senators on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 the following appeared before the Senate, took and subscribed the oath of office in the Senate Chamber, which was administered by the Honorable Annette Kingsland Ziegler, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court:
André Jacque       Tim Carpenter
Rob Hutton     Chris Larson
Devin LeMahieu     Steve Nass
John Jagler     Mark Spreitzer
Howard Marklein Rachael Cabral-Guevara
Van H. Wanggaard     Jesse James
Romaine Robert Quinn Dianne H. Hesselbein
Cory Tomczyk     Jeff Smith
Chris Kapenga
Call of Roll
The roll was called, disclosing the presence of a quorum.
Pursuant to Senate Rule 15, the official attendance for session was:
Senators Agard, Ballweg, Bradley, Cabral-Guevara, Carpenter, Cowles, Felzkowski, Feyen, Hesselbein, Hutton, Jacque, Jagler, James, L. Johnson, Kapenga, Larson, LeMahieu, Marklein, Nass, Pfaff, Quinn, Roys, Smith, Spreitzer, Stafsholt, Stroebel, Taylor, Testin, Tomczyk, Wanggaard, Wimberger and Wirch - 32.
Absent with leave - None - 0.
Vacancies - 8th Senate District - 1.
Consideration of resolutions and joint resolutions not requiring a third reading
hist161099Considered as privileged and taken up.
hist161098Senate Resolution 1
Relating to: notifying the assembly and the governor that the 2023-2024 senate is organized.
By Senators LeMahieu, Kapenga, Feyen, Agard and Smith.
hist161102The question was: Adoption of Senate Resolution 1?
The ayes and noes were required and the vote was: ayes, 29; noes, 3; absent or not voting, 0; as follows:
Ayes - Senators Agard, Ballweg, Bradley, Cabral-Guevara, Carpenter, Cowles, Felzkowski, Feyen, Hutton, Jacque, Jagler, James, L. Johnson, Kapenga, LeMahieu, Marklein, Nass, Pfaff, Quinn, Smith, Spreitzer, Stafsholt, Stroebel, Taylor, Testin, Tomczyk, Wanggaard, Wimberger and Wirch - 29.
Noes - Senators Hesselbein, Larson and Roys - 3.
Absent or not voting - None - 0.
Senate Officers Oath of Office
The President, Chris Kapenga, the President Pro Tempore, Patrick Testin, the Chief Clerk, Michael J. Queensland, and the Sergeant at Arms, Tom Engels, having been duly elected by the adoption of Senate Resolution 1, appeared together before the bar of the Senate, took and subscribed the oath of office which was administered by the Honorable Annette Kingsland Ziegler, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
In the Chair
Senate President Kapenga in the chair.
2:48 P.M.
Remarks of President Kapenga
As Senate President, I want to thank the members for allowing me the privilege of being in the chair again.
As we begin the 2023-24 session of the Wisconsin State Senate, and look forward to what will be accomplished, I thought it would be prudent to take a look back at why this body was created, and what our purpose is while temporarily serving in this role.
It goes back to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. We can see the discussion of the Senate in Federalist 62. One house would be, in the words of Virginia’s George Mason, the “grand depository of the democratic principle of government.” This is the Wisconsin State Assembly.
To counter this popular influence, James Madison of Virginia proposed another house that would be small, deliberative, and independent from the larger, more democratic house. It would be a body “requiring greater extent of information and stability of character”. This is the Wisconsin State Senate.
Madison’s concern was that proposed legislation would come from the larger house in an emotional state, and the Senate would vet that emotion with sound and wise logic to ensure proper checks and balances were being applied.
Note that we, as the Senate, are of equal power to the Assembly. It isn’t about power then, but it is about quality of law that our citizens must abide and live with. The purpose of law is to protect our rights as individual citizens, and nothing more.
So as we move into this session, I look forward to directing vigorous debate as we work together to serve those who elected us to this position. My responsibility is to ensure the voice of the minority is heard and that the will of the majority is carried out.
Thank you for once again allowing me the honor of this position.
President Kapenga introduced the Senators returning from the 105th Session: Senators Cowles, Taylor, Johnson, Stafsholt, Felzkowski, Ballweg, Agard, Feyen, Stroebel, Wirch, Testin, Roys, Bradley, Wimberger, and Pfaff.
With unanimous consent, Senator LeMahieu addressed the members from the rostrum.
Remarks of Majority Leader LeMahieu
A new year and a new legislative session brings with it opportunity. Opportunities to work together to address issues that are faced by all Wisconsinites. An opportunity to build common sense policy that improves how our government functions. Opportunities to reform our laws to better serve the future needs of the State.
Let’s focus for a moment on what we have done in the past to put Wisconsin in the unique position that we are in today. In 2010 we inherited a multi-Billion dollar deficit. Over the last 12 years we have focused on investing in core priorities, responsible budgeting, reducing the tax burden on the hard-working families of Wisconsin and passing meaningful legislative reforms. Today we are looking at a projected surplus approaching 7 Billion.
There are challenges that we face. Challenges the people of Wisconsin expect us to tackle. Education, taxes, healthcare, public safety and our State’s infrastructure are all items that we need to address. Families and businesses are facing inflationary pressures. The rising costs of gas, groceries and energy are hurting Wisconsin families. The best way to help them out is by reducing their tax burden.