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Legislative Reference Bureau

Legislative Reference Bureau

STATE OF WISCONSIN

STATE OF WISCONSIN

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Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight

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.

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

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 August 31, 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.

Special Election in September

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.

Recently Introduced Proposals

2015 Senate Bill 240, introduced on August 26, would make changes to the laws related to "provider of last resort obligations" by certain telecommunications providers.

2015 Senate Bill 241, introduced on August 26, would prohibit the possession, propagation and sale of exotic dangerous animals, such as lions and tigers.

2015 Senate Bill 243, introduced on August 26, would amend the laws related to wells used for fire protection or to provide water to single- or multiple-family residences on the same property, exempting them from certain DNR regulations related to high-capacity wells.

2015 Assembly Bill 318, introduced on August 26, would delete the one-week waiting period for collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

A list of recently introduced proposals is available at the Legislature's 2015 documents site.

Committee Activity

As of Friday, August 28, five committees have scheduled public hearings for this week. The committees include the Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform and the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, which will hold hearings on Tuesday. Public hearings on Wednesday are scheduled for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism, the Senate Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection, and the Assembly Committee on Health. Check the committee schedule for updated information throughout the week.

Recent Legislative Action

John Doe Proceedings

On August 20, the Assembly Committee on Judiciary held an executive session on 2015 Assembly Bill 68, related to John Doe proceedings. Among the changes proposed to current law, the bill would limit the length of such proceedings to six months, generally limit the crimes that may be investigated to certain felonies in the criminal code, limit the application of secrecy orders to the judge, the prosecuting attorney, law enforcement, and court reporters and interpreters, and make records on the costs of John Doe proceedings a matter of public record. The committee voted 5-3 to recommend the bill for passage. Its companion bill, Senate Bill 43, was recommended for passage by a Senate committee in March.

Fetal Tissue

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.

Recently Signed

Bucks Arena

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.

Taskforces Created

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.

Resources from the LRB Library

The library recommends the following resources:

Recent Publications

For information about legislative service agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.

Spotlight Home | Legislature Home | Senate | Assembly |
Introduced Proposals | Statutes | Glossary of Terms

Send comments to LRB.Reference@legis.wisconsin.gov

Last revised: August 28, 2015

Spotlight Archive

Edition of

August 31, 2015
August 24, 2015
August 17, 2015
August 10, 2015
August 3, 2015
July 27, 2015
July 20, 2015
July 13, 2015
July 6, 2015
June 29, 2015
June 22, 2015
June 15, 2015
June 8, 2015
June 1, 2015
May 25, 2015
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April 27, 2015
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January 26, 2015
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April 28, 2014
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March 31, 2014
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January 27, 2014
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December 23, 2013
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November 25, 2013
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March 25, 2013
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March 4, 2013
February 25, 2013
February 18, 2013
February 11, 2013
February 4, 2013
January 28, 2013
January 21, 2013
January 14, 2013
January 7, 2013

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