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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. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text.

The Week of January 24, 2011

2011-2012 Legislative Session

The 2011-2012 legislative session began when the new legislature was sworn in on January 3, 2011. The 2011 legislature has 36 new members, and two members who served in the Assembly during the 2009 session will be taking new seats in the Senate. There are 19 Republicans and 14 Democrats in the Senate, and 57 Republicans, 38 Democrats, and 1 Independent in the Assembly. Three Assembly seats are vacant following gubernatorial appointments. For more information, the LRB recently published an in-depth profile of the 2011 Legislature and brief biographies of 2011 Wisconsin Officers.

The schedule of floorperiods for the new session was established by Senate Joint Resolution 1.

2011-12 Assembly and Senate Committee chairs and membership have been announced.

Governor’s Cabinet Appointments

Governor Scott Walker has made the following cabinet appointments:

January 2011 Special Session

Governor Walker called the legislature into special session on January 4 to consider legislation on a variety of topics, including tax credits, tort law, medical savings accounts, and other legislation relating to taxation.

All introduced legislation can be found on the Legislature's Searchable Infobases site, or by using the "Request text and history of legislative proposals" function on the home page. Be sure to select "Jan 2011 Special Session" as the session to be able to view Special Session bills.

As of January 21, 2011, January 2011 Special Session Senate Bill 1 and January 2011 Special Session Senate Bill 2 have passed both houses and will be sent to Governor Walker’s desk for signature. Senate Bill 1 makes several changes to current law regarding civil actions (tort reform) and Senate Bill 2 creates a tax exemption for contributions to health savings accounts.

Committee Activity

See the Schedule of Committee Activities for information about locations and times of committee hearings held by standing or special committees.

From the LRB Library

Tort reform has been in the news recently in Wisconsin. The Legislative Reference Bureau has a number of resources about torts and tort reform in Wisconsin, including the 2001 LRB publication Tort Actions and Civil Damages. For more publications available in the LRB Library about torts, see our noteworthy titles list Torts in Wisconsin. For more lists of titles on various subjects, see the library’s main page.

Recent Publications

For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.

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Last revised: November 15, 2012