The Senate meets in this room to discuss and vote on bills that may be passed into law. In order for a bill to become a law in Wisconsin, it must be passed by both the Senate and the Assembly. Any changes in the bill, called amendments, must be approved by both houses. Once the bill is passed by both houses, it goes to the governor for signature or veto. A veto may be overturned by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of the legislature. About 1600 bills are introduced during each two-year session of the legislature, but only about 20% of them (roughly 300) are passed into law.
There are thirty-three senators, each elected to a four-year term. The majority party traditionally sits in the outer circle of desks and the minority party sits in the inner circle. The Senate president is elected by a majority vote of the senators. He or she sits at the large desk at the front of the room and presides over the floor sessions. We found their chairs to be the most comfy of all the ones we sat in. It was like being Goldilocks, trying all those chairs out!
The walls in this room are Italian Tavernelle marble and the columns are Escalette marble from France. Original furnishings in this room include the president's desk, the clerk's desk, the round table and the senators’ desks, all hand-carved walnut. This room contained the fourth skylight we saw. How to pick a favorite, they were all so beautiful!
The mural at the front of the room was painted by Kenyon Cox and is called "The Marriage of the Atlantic and the Pacific" and it commemorates the opening of the Panama Canal. The groom represents the Atlantic Ocean and the bride represents the Pacific Ocean. The figure in the center presiding over the wedding is America. On the right side of the painting the goddess of peace welcomes to the wedding the Atlantic nations of Germany, France and Great Britain, while on the left the god of commerce welcomes the Pacific nations of China, Japan, Polynesia and the Semitic nations.
That's the last post on my tour of the Capitol, until I go back again, that is. I really do want to get out onto the balcony and get closer to that ceiling mural in the summer. Check out more murals on Monday Mural!