Assembly Speaker Robin Vos: ‘We’re going to get maps’

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to rule soon in a case challenging the state's Republican-drawn legislative maps

Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is seen at the State of the Tribes
Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is seen at the State of the Tribes event at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis., on February 22, 2022. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin’s top Assembly Republican says he thinks new legislative maps are just around the corner.

In an interview with PBS Wisconsin’s “Here & Now” airing Friday night, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he expects a redistricting lawsuit filed by Democrats, which is currently pending before the state Supreme Court, will result in the current maps being overturned.

“We already know what’s happening,” Vos said. “So it’s not some kind of a big mystery that we don’t know. We’re going to get maps.”

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Vos previously said he’d consider impeaching Justice Janet Protasiewicz — whose election in April swung the court to a liberal majority, and whose arrival on the court predated the maps lawsuit by just a few days — for campaign trail comments that he said amounted to prejudging the case. As a candidate, Protasiewicz called the current maps “rigged.”

But in a separate interview with the Associated Press, released Thursday, Vos said that impeachment over the maps is now “very unlikely.”

Protasiewicz declined to recuse from the case, and oral arguments took place last month. Some court watchers have speculated that a ruling in the case could come any day now.

If the current maps are ruled unconstitutional, the entire Legislature — composed of 132 members — could face reelection.

In the same PBS interview, Vos expressed confidence that Republicans could maintain their majority in the state Assembly even if voters’ districts are redrawn.

“Let’s remember that Republicans have had this majority in the chamber for 30 years with two years exception,” he said. “We’re gonna win again in 2024 because we have better candidates and a better message.”

Vos says he’ll continue challenging DEI programs

In the same interview, Vos also said he would continue challenging programs aimed at increasing diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, in the state.

That comes after he secured a victory on that issue by exchanging pay raises for UW employees and funding for certain university projects — notably, a new engineering building at UW-Madison — for a reduction in DEI-related staff positions in the UW system.

“It’s a start,” he said of that process, which followed months of negotiation and sparked a lawsuit from Gov. Tony Evers.

That same deal, he noted calls for automatic admissions to the UW-Madison for the top 5 percent of each graduating class in the state, and to the other UW campuses for students in the top 10 percent.

“I think a lot of the things that we did were good common sense, middle ground, finding ways to get to an answer that show that DEI isn’t about diversifying the campus,” he said. “Diversity is what we support, but division, exclusion and indoctrination, which is what it’s become, is what we’re opposed to.”

Vos told multiple outlets Thursday that he wants a full audit of DEI programs within state government, saying that process would be thorough and could be done by early 2025.

In separate interviews with other news outlets, Vos also:

  • Told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’d seek to bring a referendum to voters limiting abortion access to the first 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Evers has said he’ll veto any limit on abortion access. The proposal would come amid a legal challenge to a 19th-century law long interpreted as banning abortion in Wisconsin.
  • Told the Associated Press that a bill to legalize medical marijuana in some circumstances is on the horizon. He previously said he will never support recreational marijuana. Evers and Democratic lawmakers have called for full legalization.