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Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight

This page, maintained by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, provides an overview of recent and upcoming activities in the Wisconsin Legislature. Its content is revised weekly during legislative floorperiods and less frequently when the legislature is not in session. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text. Related links are listed at the end of this feature including links to earlier issues of the Spotlight.

July 23, 2003

Special Legislative Elections

The State Elections Board has certified a petition for a recall election in the 6th Senate District. Senator Gary George (D-Milwaukee) will face recall in an August 19 primary. The recall election will be held on September 16.

Unofficial results indicate that Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) won the 21st Assembly District seat and Louis John Molepske, Jr. (D-Stevens Point) won the 71st Assembly District seat in special elections on July 22. The seats became vacant when Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) were elected on April 29 to the 24th and 7th Senate seats, respectively.

When the newly elected members are seated, Republicans will control the senate by an 18-15 margin and the assembly by a 59-40 margin.

0.08% Blood Alcohol

Meeting in extraordinary session, the Legislature passed a law that lowers the drunken driving standard for blood alcohol content from .1 percent to .08 percent. The Governor signed the bill as 2003 Act 30 on July 3.

Budget Bill

After lengthy debate through two days and two nights and consideration of over 120 senate amendments and 40 assembly amendments, the legislature passed the 2003-2005 state budget on June 24.

The bill is before the Governor who is expected to exercise his authority to veto the bill in whole or in part. He has 6 days (Sundays excepted) to sign or veto the bill. The 6 days begin when the bill is formally presented to the governor. The bill will be presented to the governor on August 14 if he does not call for it before that time.

The Joint Committee on Finance completed its deliberation on the state budget bill on June 3 and introduced Senate Substitute Amendment 1 to 2003 SB-44 on June 16. The budget bill was originally introduced as 2003 Senate Bill 44.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau's Comparative Summary of Budget Recommendations: Governor and Joint Committee on Finance provides a comparison of the changes made in the budget by the Joint Committee on Finance as well as information on items which have not been modified from the governor's original bill. Other LFB budget information is available on their pages.

The budget bill is also in a searchable format if you are looking for a specific word or phrase.

The Budget Index Report provides a subject index to the budget and to the LRB drafts which were combined to form the budget.

Governor Jim Doyle's budget address is available on the Governor's Internet site. Executive budget documents prepared by the Department of Administration and a link to video of the Governor's address are also posted on the Governor's Internet site.

Senate Chief Clerk Retires

Senate Chief Clerk Donald J. Schneider retired on July 3 after over 26 years of service to the Wisconsin Legislature. He was the longest serving clerk of either house in the state's history.


The next floorperiod begins September 23. The session schedule was set by 2003 Senate Joint Resolution 1.

Legislative Council Legislative Research Center

The Legislative Council's Research Center provides overviews of topics of interest to the legislature as well as links to Council publications related to the topic.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau Informational Papers

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has issued its 2003 Informational Papers.

2003-2004 Legislative Session

The 2003-2004 legislative session began on January 6. See the Legislative Reference Bureau's Wisconsin State Officers for a list of 2003 legislators.

Sen. Alan Lasee (R-De Pere) was elected President of the Senate and Sen. Mary Panzer (R-West Bend) is Majority Leader. Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) serves as Minority Leader. In the Assembly, Rep. John Gard (R-Peshtigo) is Speaker, Rep. Steven Foti (R-Oconomowoc) Majority Leader, and Rep. James Kreuser (D-Kenosha) Minority Leader. Sen. Alberta Darling (R-Menomonee Falls) and Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) chair the Joint Committee on Finance. For a complete list of officers, see Wisconsin State Officers.

Related Links

2001-2002 Wisconsin Blue Book

2003-2004 Legislative Session Schedule

Weekly Hearing Schedule

Previous Legislative Spotlights

Final Report of the Criminal Penalties Study Committee

Madison: A Capital Idea

Wisconsin Electronic Reader: A digital imaging project of the UW-Madison Libraries and the State Historical Society, reproducing letters and other items from Wisconsin's history.

State Capitol photographs and tour information

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Last revised: July 23, 2003