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Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Tuesday announced the creation of a bipartisan task force that will explore legislative solutions to reduce barriers to adoption in Wisconsin.

The announcement of the bipartisan committee comes as Assembly Republicans prepare to vote Wednesday on a slate of contentious abortion bills the Senate will likely consider in June and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will likely veto.

The slate of bills has irritated Democratic lawmakers and heightened tensions between the two parties as they debate the state budget.

Legislators on Vos’ committee will be tasked with examining the termination of parental rights, ways to shorten the timeline for adoptions, how to reduce the costs of adoption and increasing adoption awareness.

“We want to give our most vulnerable children every chance available to become productive members of society,” Vos said in a statement. “We also want to make adoption more accessible to families and expectant mothers.”

Rep. Barbara Dittrich, R-Oconomowoc, will serve as chairwoman of the committee, and other members will be announced in the coming weeks.

Vos said he created the committee after previous findings from a bipartisan committee on foster care that found a large number of adoptions come from the foster care system.

According to the Department of Children and Families, 723 children were adopted in the state during fiscal year 2018.

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