New Senate Leader Mum on Priorities

By: Associted Press
By: Associted Press

The incoming state Senate majority leader said Thursday that he needs to meet with fellow Republicans before laying out priorities for 2007, but he listed the economy and health care as top issues.

Sen. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, was elected as majority leader this week and will be the Capitol's most powerful Republican because Democrats won control of the House. He said lawmakers have time before replacing lost revenue from the state's Single Business Tax, which will die at the end of 2007.

"We don't want to rush to any conclusions, and certainly there are a lot of ideas out there," Bishop said of a new business tax. "But this is all too important to rush to a final decision too quick."

Current Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, R-Wyoming, wants to craft a replacement during the post election "lame-duck" session before Jan. 1, but there isn't much time to tackle such a complicated and contentious issue.

Bishop, 39, served in the House from 1999 until 2002, when he won his first four-year Senate term. He won re-election to the chamber last week.

Sikkema will leave office after December because of term limits.

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