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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 April 20, 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 current floorperiod is scheduled through April 23. The next floorperiod is scheduled to begin on May 5 and last through May 14.

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

Assembly Floor Session

The Assembly held a floor session on April 14 to take up a variety of proposals including:


2015 Assembly Bill 143, introduced on March 31, would regulate ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft (Transportation Network Companies). Under the proposal, the companies would be licensed through the Department of Safety and Professional Services. The bill also places restrictions on the actions of drivers. The bill would prohibit municipalities from creating their own regulations on ridesharing services. AB-143 passed the Assembly with one amendment, by a vote of 79-19. It is now with the Senate.

Online Driver Instruction

2015 Assembly Bill 74 would allow a driver school to provide instruction over the Internet in place of or in addition to a classroom. The bill was adopted on a voice vote with one amendment.


2015 Senate Bill 15 was passed by the Assembly on a voice vote. The bill would prohibit the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing microbeads, which are believed to be a water pollutant.

Stolen Valor

2015 Assembly Bill 114 would make it a crime to falsely claim military service or honors in order to receive a tangible benefit. The bill passed on a voice vote.

Other proposals of note

2015 Assembly Bill 23 would prohibit a person from bringing action against a financial institution for offers, promises, agreements, or commitments that are not in writing. The proposal was adopted on a voice vote with one amendment.

2015 Assembly Bill 45 would allow towns that are authorized to create Tax Incremental Financing Districts (TIDs) to join a multijurisdictional TID. The bill passed on a voice vote.

2015 Assembly Bill 100 would allow a motorcycle to be equipped with a light that illuminates the ground directly beneath it, but would restrict the light's color and movement. The bill passed on a voice vote with one amendment.

2015 Assembly Bill 107 would expand the Department of Natural Resources' venison donation program to wild turkeys. The bill passed on a voice vote.

2015 Assembly Bill 113 makes changes to the laws regulating the operation of agricultural vehicles on highways. After two amendments were adopted, the bill was passed by a vote of 99-0.

Biennial Budget

The Joint Committee on Finance conducted four public hearings around the state in March. Committee work on the budget is ongoing. On April 14, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued its earmark transparency report.

Budget Background

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.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has published several reports, analyses and memos related to budget process as the Joint Finance Committee makes its deliberations.

Recently Signed

As of Friday, April 17, the governor has signed 14 bills into law.

Recently Introduced Proposals

2015 Assembly Bill 164 and Senate Bill 121 introduced on April 15, would make various election law changes.

2015 Senate Bill 122, introduced on April 15, would expand the methods for notifying a parent about a habitually truant pupil.

2015 Assembly Bill 165, introduced on April 15, would makes changes to town zoning ordinances affecting shorelands.

2015 Assembly Bill 163 and Senate Bill 119, introduced on April 14, would make changes to the current Executive Branch structure, including creating a Department of Financial Institutions and Professional Standards, eliminating the Educational Approval Board, and transferring the Veterinary Examining Board to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

As of Friday, April 17, 167 bills have been introduced in the Assembly and 132 in the Senate. A numerical listing of introduced legislation can be found here.

Committee Activity

Legislative committees holding public hearings this week include the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections on April 21, as well as the Assembly Committees on Mental Health Reform and Urban and Local Affairs; the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works and Military Affairs on April 22; and on April 23, the Senate Committees on Economic Development and Commerce and Judiciary and Public Safety.

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

Resources from the LRB Library

The library recommends the following recently added 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: April 17, 2015

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For editions between 1997 and 2013, please see our archive page.