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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 September 26, 2011

The most recent legislative floorperiod ended on September 22. The next scheduled floorperiod begins on October 18, 2011, though the January special session is ongoing and special session bills may be taken up in the interim.

Recently Introduced Legislation

The Legislature has RSS feeds for both recently introduced legislation and recent session activity. Our Facebook page also has links to recently introduced bills. Bills recently introduced in the legislature include:

Recent Legislative Action

The Senate and Assembly met on September 13 to take action on a number of bills.

Presidential Preference Primary. Senate Bill 115 passed the Assembly by a vote of 65-32 . The bill moves the presidential preference primary from the 3rd Tuesday in February to the first Tuesday in April during presidential election years. The bill passed the Senate on June 8 on a voice vote.

Small Business Board. Senate Bill 47 makes changes to the Small Business Regulatory Review Board and to rule-making affecting small businesses. The bill increases the number of small business members on the board from six to seven and eliminates representatives from executive agencies. The bill also changes the process related to administrative rules that affect small businesses, requiring a state agency to forward a rule having an economic impact on small businesses, and requiring administrative rules to make considerations for small businesses. The Assembly passed the bill, with one amendment, on a voice vote.

Emergency Communications from Legislators. Assembly Bill 32 would remove the prohibition on a legislator using public funds for communicating with constituents during the nomination period of an election if it occurs during the 45-day period following an emergency declaration by the governor and if the communication relates to that emergency. The bill passed the Assembly 91-6 and has been messaged to the Senate.

CDFI Tax Credit. Assembly Bill 211 would allow the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to certify a person who makes a qualified investment in a registered community development financial institution (CDFI) to receive a credit against state income and franchise taxes. The bill passed on a vote of 92-5, after the adoption of 4 amendments. It has been referred to committee in the Senate.

DNR Permit Time Limits. Assembly Bill 177 relates to expediting time limits for applications to DNR for projects near navigable waters. Under the bill, DNR has a shorter period of comment and public hearing time, and would be required to determine if an application is complete within 30 days, or, if DNR does not act within the time allowed, the project is considered approved. The Assembly passed the bill on a vote of 65-32 after a substitute amendment was adopted by a vote of 61-36. The bill is now in the Senate.

Misuse of Disabled Parking Cards. Assembly Bill 81 would increase the fines for misuse of disabled parking cards issued by the Department of Transportation. The bill passed unanimously. It has been referred to committee in the Senate.

Special Elections

On Friday, September 2, Governor Walker issued Executive Order 41, which orders a special election for Jennifer Shilling's 95th Assembly District seat on November 8. A primary will be held on October 11 if necessary.

On August 9, Chris Taylor was elected to the 48th Assembly District in a Special Election. The resulting partisan composition of the Assembly is 59 Republicans, 38 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 1 vacancy.

Recently Signed Into Law

As of September 23, 44 acts have been signed into law. You can find them here.

Committee Activity

Legislative committee activity is available on the Schedule of Committee Activities. In the Assembly, the Committees on Urban and Local Affairs, Transportation, Natural Resources, Labor and Workforce Development, and Judiciary and Ethics will meet this week. Committees to meet this week in the Senate include Economic Development and Veterans and Military Affairs; Agriculture, Forestry, and Higher Education; Transportation and Elections; and Labor, Public Safety, and Urban Affairs. All will hold public hearings on proposals.

From the LRB Library

On September 21 and 22, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools hosted the second annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit. The library recommends the following resources:

Recent Publications

On September 21, the Legislative Audit Bureau issued an audit opinion on the Department of Employee Trust Funds’ 2010 financial statements.

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

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Last revised: November 19, 2012