MADISON- After Scott Walker's trial balloon of a sales tax hike went over like a lead zeppelin, he and his Tea Party allies are gearing up for a legislative session that would deny gays the right to visit their ailing partners in the hospital, throw the state into an unnecessary battle over illegal immigration and reignite the divisive debate over Native American mascots.

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"Republicans are on a war path to make Wisconsin the Mississippi of the Midwest, taking us backward in education, health care and women's rights with a focus on divisive social issues," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. "They didn't lift a finger the last two years to help us out of the Recession, but even they know that their focus should be on jobs-not trying to ban a gay person from seeing her partner in the hospital."