The Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight provides an overview of recent and upcoming activities in the Wisconsin Legislature. The Legislative Reference Bureau revises its content weekly. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text.
The Week of August 17, 2015
The Wisconsin Legislature's 2015-2016 legislative session began on January 5, 2015. The schedule of floorperiods is established by Senate Joint Resolution 1. The most recent regular floorperiod, scheduled to last until budget passage, has been adjourned; the extraordinary session convened as of July 7 to take up the budget bill, the Bucks Arena proposal, as well as several other proposals, has also been adjourned. The Legislature is not scheduled to return to the floor until September.
For daily updates on Wisconsin politics in the news, please see our Capitol Headlines page.
On August 12, the governor signed 2015 Senate Bill 209 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 60. The law creates funding for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team. The Assembly approved the bill on July 28 by a 52-34 vote, with 8 votes paired. The Senate approved the bill on July 15, by a vote of 21-10.
As of Friday, August 14, the governor has signed 60 bills into law from the current session.
A list of enrolled bills that are ready to be sent to the governor is updated regularly.
On August 4, Assembly Speaker Vos announced the formation of three taskforces with bipartisan membership. These include the Speaker's Taskforce on Alzheimer's and Dementia, the Taskforce on Urban Education and the Taskforce on Youth Workforce Readiness. Each taskforce is assigned a Republican chair and a Democratic vice chair, and has been asked to work with community experts and members affected by each of the taskforce issues. In addition, each taskforce will recommend legislation to the Assembly.
Recently Introduced Proposals
2015 Assembly Bill 305, introduced on August 7, would generally prohibit the sale and use of fetal body parts derived from an induced abortion. A public hearing on the bill was held on August 11 by the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, and submitted testimony is available from the Legislative Council's website. Archived video of the hearing is available at WisconsinEye.
2015 Senate Bill 230, introduced on August 11, would create an exemption from civil liability for a person who forcibly enters a vehicle for the purpose of removing a person or domestic animal from a vehicle, if he or she believes the person or animal would suffer harm without intervention. A companion bill, AB-308, was introduced on August 12.
2015 Assembly Bill 309, introduced on August 12, would limit the number of revocations of extended supervision and parole ordered by the Department of Corrections, the Parole Commission, and the Division of Hearings and Appeals. No more than 3,000 revocations or returns to prison annually for violations that are not crimes would be allowed.
2015 Senate Bill 228, introduced on August 11, would affect the amount of and number of academic excellence higher education scholarships awarded to Wisconsin high school students.
A list of recently introduced proposals is available at the Legislature's 2015 documents site.
The governor has issued Executive Order #171 declaring a special election in the 99th Assembly District, Senator Kapenga's former seat, to be held on Tuesday, September 29. A primary election will be held on September 1. More information is available at the Government Accountability Board's Web site.
As of Friday, August 14, several committees have scheduled public hearings for this week. Among them are the Assembly Committee on Transportation, which will hold a hearing on Tuesday, August 18 on Assembly Bill 266, which would require or allow Ignition Interlock Devices on vehicles for those who have committed certain drunk driving offenses; as well as the Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform which will hold a hearing on bills related to unemployment insurance and FoodShare benefits. Check the committee schedule for updated information throughout the week.
Resources from the LRB Library
The library recommends the following resources:
- Lemons, Jane Fullerton. “Fighting Urban Poverty: Is More Federal Aid Needed?” CQ Researcher 25 no. 26 (July 17, 2015). (361.2 C764e)
- National Center for Education Statistics. The Condition of Education 2015. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, May 2015.
- Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board. 2013-14 Academic Excellence Scholarship Program Annual Report. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board, October 24, 2014.
- The Legislative Audit Bureau has released its audit of Medical Education, Research, and Public Health Grants, with recommendations to improve the Medical College of Wisconsin's and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health's oversight and administration of grant funds.
- The Legislative Council has issued memos on Local Governmental Immunity in Wisconsin and 2015-17 Biennial Budget Revisions to Municipal Room Tax.
- The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has issued a table detailing State Tax and Fee Modifications Included in 2015 Act 55.
For information about legislative service agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: August 14, 2015