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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.

2015 Legislative Session - A citizen's guide

The 2015-2016 legislative session began when the new legislature was sworn in on January 5, 2015. The schedule of floorperiods for the new session was established by Senate Joint Resolution 1.

Notification service. The legislature's Wisconsin Legislative Notification Service makes following the legislative process easier for interested citizens. Registered users can receive daily or weekly emails when specified legislative activity occurs. For example, users may choose to be notified about every action affecting a specific proposal, bills introduced by a particular legislator, activities of a specific committee, or introductions relating to a particular topic.

Internet Broadcast of Floor Debate. Citizens can watch and listen to live floor debate in both houses using the Legislature's InSession service: Senate and Assembly. Broadcasts are live only. The InSession pages also provide the day's calendar with links from the calendar to bills before the house and to roll call votes as they occur.

Legislative Documents. Search legislative documents from the current and past sessions, including introduced proposals, statutes, administrative code, clearinghouse rules, committee hearing records and more. For help navigating the site, go to the Legislative Reference Bureau's Research Services page.

2013-2014 Wisconsin Blue Book

The 2013-2014 Blue Book, the manual of state government and statistical information about Wisconsin, is available online and is available for purchase from the Department of Administration, Document Sales Unit (search Document Sales Catalog for "Wisconsin Blue Book"), (608) 266-3358. The price is $10.15 with shipping and $7.25 without.

LRB Publications

Throughout the session, the LRB issues publications related to current proposals and other recent issues of interest.

Stay Updated

The Legislature has RSS feeds for recent session activity. You can view all introduced proposals on our legislative documents database. The LRB's Capitol Headlines Daily page offers links to news stories related to the Legislature. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Audit Bureau Reports

The Legislative Audit Bureau conducts financial and program evaluation audits of state agencies. Recent audit reports are accessible online.


WisconsinEYE, a private, not-for-profit statewide public affairs network provides video coverage of Assembly and Senate floor sessions as well as select committee hearings. The proceedings they record are archived on their Web site.

The Week of March 2, 2015

The Wisconsin Legislature’s 2015-2016 legislative session began on January 5, 2015. The schedule of floorperiods has been established by Senate Joint Resolution 1. The next floorperiod is scheduled for February 24 through March 5.

For daily updates on Wisconsin politics in the news, please see our Capitol Headlines page.

Extraordinary Session on “Right to Work” Legislation

The Committee on Senate Organization voted on Monday, February 23, to call an extraordinary session for the purpose of considering 2015 Senate Bill 44, relating to “Right to Work” legislation. The Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform held a public hearing on Tuesday, February 24, that lasted from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and recommended the bill on to the Senate. On Wednesday, February 25, the Senate passed the bill unamended by a 17-15 vote.

The Assembly Committee on Labor will take the issue up in a hearing on Monday, March 2.

Biennial Budget

Governor Walker delivered his budget address on February 3, and the budget bills, 2015 Assembly Bill 21 and 2015 Senate Bill 21, were introduced shortly afterward. The video of the governor's address is available from the WisconsinEye archive. The governor's Web site also has a transcript of the speech.

The Legislative Reference Bureau published the Budget Index Report. It can be used in conjunction with the budget drafts posted at the legislative Web site.

In February, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau published its analysis of the executive budget bill. It previously released revenue estimates for the current year and tax projections, a Cost-to-Continue Budget for the 2015-17 Biennium, and the 2015-17 Overview of State Agency Major Request Items.

On October 15, the Department of Administration released its Annual Fiscal Report, showing that the state has an undesignated fund balance of $516.9 million at the end of the fiscal year.

Spring Election

An election will be held Tuesday, April 7, for the state offices of the Justice of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals Judge (Districts I and III), Circuit Court Judge, and a State Senate seat in the 20th District. There will also be a Constitutional Amendment on Election of the Chief Justice.

In a special election held February 17 to fill the 20th Senate District seat made vacant by Glenn Grothman’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives, news accounts unofficially indicate that Duey Stroebel was the winner of the Republican primary. Mr. Stroebel, a former member of the Wisconsin Assembly, faces no Democratic or other candidate on the April 7 general election ballot.

Recently Introduced

As of Friday, February 27, 66 bills have been introduced in the Assembly and 62 in the Senate. A numerical listing of introduced legislation can be found here. Among the bills introduced in the past week:

Private Retirement Security Plan

2015 Senate Bill 45, introduced February 24, would create a Wisconsin Private Retirement Security Board and require the board to establish a private retirement security plan to provide retirement benefits for residents of this state who choose to participate in the plan.

Legislative and Congressional Redistricting

2015 Senate Bill 58, introduced February 27, would change the laws governing legislative and congressional redistricting plans, direct the Legislative Reference Bureau to draw redistricting plans based upon standards specified in the bill, and establish a Redistricting Advisory Commission to perform certain tasks in the redistricting process.

Tax Incremental Districts (TID)

2015 Senate Bill 57, 2015 Senate Bill 56, 2015 Senate Bill 55, 2015 Senate Bill 54, 2015 Senate Bill 53, 2015 Senate Bill 52, 2015 Senate Bill 51, 2015 Senate Bill 50, introduced February 27 - a series of changes prepared for the Joint Legislative Council's Study Committee on Review of Tax Incremental Financing.

Technical Colleges Allowed to Authorize Charter Schools

2015 Assembly Bill 64, introduced on February 26, would allow each technical district board to authorize independent charter schools focused on occupational education and training or science, technology, engineering, and math.

Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority

2015 Assembly Bill 66, introduced on February 27, would create the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority to participate in and guarantee certain energy-related loans, implement other energy-related programs, and make certain grants.

Committee Activity

Legislative committees are now holding public hearings and executive sessions for the 2015 legislative session.

For information on upcoming committee meetings see the Schedule of Committee Activities.

Resources from the LRB Library

The library recommends the following resources:

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: March 02, 2015

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