Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight
Maintained by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB), this page provides an overview of recent and upcoming activities in the Wisconsin Legislature. The LRB revises its content weekly during legislative floorperiods and less often when the legislature is not in session. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text.
Senate Joint Resolution 1 establishes the 2005-2006 Session Schedule. The Senate and Assembly have recessed until January 17, 2006.
On January 4, Governor Doyle signed a total of 15 bills into law. 2005 Assembly Bill 40, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 91, allows law enforcement agencies to keep a percentage of money derived from a drug crime. The bill passed the Assembly on March 10, by a vote of 66-28 and the Senate on November 8 by a vote of 18-15.
2005 Assembly Bill 627, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 92, requires the new touch screen voting machines to produce a verifiable paper ballot. The bill was passed by the Assembly on November 10 by a vote of 91-4 and the Senate concurred on December 6.
2005 Assembly Bill 522, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 101, requires courts to review the criminal records of stepparents, boyfriends/girlfriends, or roommates of parents or potential custodians before awarding custody of a child. The bill unanimously passed the Assembly on September 27, with two representatives not voting. It passed the Senate on November 1 by a unanimous vote.
Governor Doyle also signed the following bills on January 4:
On January 5, Governor Doyle signed 2005 Assembly Bill 436 creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 104. It requires law enforcement to only arrest the “predominant aggressor” in domestic abuse cases. The predominant aggressor is defined as “the most significant aggressor” in the dispute. The law is designed to prevent the arrest of the victim. The bill passed the Assembly on September 27, and the Senate concurred on November 9.
On January 6, Governor Doyle signed 2005 Assembly Bill 184, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 105. It prohibits the use of state or federal funds or resources for hormonal therapy or sexual reassignment surgery for prisoners. The bill passed the Assembly on September 27 by a vote of 82-15, and the Senate concurred on December 6.
A complete list of 2005-2006 Wisconsin Acts can be researched online.
On January 6, Governor Doyle vetoed 2005 Senate Bill 138. The bill would have required that a women seeking an abortion be informed that an unborn child, who is at 20 weeks gestation or older, may feel substantial pain when the most common methods of abortion are used. This bill passed the Senate, as amended, 21-12 on September 27, and it was concurred in by the Assembly on November 8 by a vote of 61-34.
On January 6, Governor Doyle vetoed 2005 Assembly Bill 56. This bill would provide some legal immunity to gun manufacturers, dealers, and other gun related organizations against civil liabilities in some cases and against certain actions taken by the state or other government units against them. This bill passed the Assembly, as amended, 63-32 on June 14, and it was concurred in by a Senate vote of 25-8 on November 9.
The following bills were also vetoed on January 6:
A public hearing was held on January 3 for 2005 Senate Bill 80, introduced on February 24. The bill would create a toll-free telephone number at the Legislative Audit Bureau to receive complaints regarding waste, fraud, and mismanagement within state government.
On January 5, Governor Doyle introduced an ethics reform package designed to do the following:
A public hearing was held on December 20 for 2005 Assembly Bill 745, introduced on October 11, which would provide a tax credit of up to $1,000 for the sales tax paid on hybrid vehicles with EPA ratings of 40 miles-per-gallon or greater.
2005 Assembly Bill 69, introduced on February 1, would require that any alien resident of Wisconsin applying for a driver’s license or identification card provide proof that the person is legally residing in the state. This bill passed the Assembly, as amended, 62-35 on September 27 and was recommended for passage by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Transportation by a vote of 4-1 on December 21.
2005 Assembly Bill 15 would generally require that beginning on October 1, 2006, automotive gasoline that has an octane rating of 87 must contain not less than 9.2 percent nor more than 10 percent ethanol. The bill passed the Assembly on December 15 by a vote of 54-38 and was referred to the Senate Committee of Agriculture and Insurance on December 16.
2005 Senate Bill 403, with certain limitations, would allow licensed individuals the right to carry concealed and armed dangerous weapons. On December 6, the Senate adopted Senate Substitute Amendment 2 (as amended by Senate Amendment 9) and passed Senate Bill 403, as amended, by a vote of 23-10. The Assembly passed the bill by a vote of 64-32 on December 13. The Legislative Council has prepared a memo on the subject.
2005 Assembly Bill 120 would prohibit cell phone use while driving by both teenage drivers during the first nine months of their license period, when other Graduated Drivers License restrictions are in effect, and also by teenage drivers who hold an instructional permit. The bill, which would allow the use of a cell phone to report an emergency, passed the Assembly on December 13 by a vote of 89-6.
2005 Senate Joint Resolution 53 and 2005 Assembly Joint Resolution 67 were introduced for the second consideration needed to pass a constitutional amendment, which would provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman be legally recognized in Wisconsin, and it would prohibit granting identical or similar legal rights to any unmarried couples, effectively banning civil unions and domestic partnerships. If either of these resolutions pass both houses of the legislature without any changes to the language, a statewide referendum would become necessary before ratification. 2005 Senate Joint Resolution 53 passed the Senate on December 6 by a vote of 19-14.
2005 Assembly Joint Resolution 71, introduced on December 15 for first consideration, would prohibit a local government unit from spending more in fees and property taxes than it had spent in the previous year (indexed for inflation), while requiring the state to spend at least as much as it had spent in the previous year for school aid and shared revenue (also indexed for inflation).
Wisconsin Brief 05-4 describes the constitutional amendments given first consideration approval by the 2003 Wisconsin Legislature.
The Department of Revenue launched its delinquent taxpayers Web site on January 2. The site lists individuals and businesses who owe $25,000 or more in unpaid sales, income, excise, or corporate franchise taxes. The site was proposed by Rep. Frank Lasee, and passed as part of the state budget, 2005 Wisconsin Act 25, in July.
The Department of Public Instruction announced on December 27 that rationing would have to be imposed in Milwaukee’s school choice program during the 2006-2007 school year because demand far outpaces available resources. Opponents of the move point out that rationing could prevent hundreds, or even thousands of Milwaukee students from enrolling in or continuing in the program.
The Legislative Audit Bureau conducts financial and program evaluation audits of state agencies. The Audit Bureau will soon begin conducting an audit of the hiring practices of the University of Wisconsin System and will issue a report sometime next year. Recent audit reports are accessible online.
Last revised: October 18, 2012