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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.

Legislative Council Publications Center

The Legislative Council's Publications Center provides overviews of topics of interest to the legislature as well as links to Council publications related to the topic.

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 January 26, 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 scheduled floorperiod runs January 20-29.

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

The 2015-2016 Legislature

The inauguration of new senators and representatives was held on January 5. View a video of the events in the Assembly and Senate at WisconsinEye.

The Senate. The 2015-16 Senate is composed of 18 Republicans, 14 Democrats, and 1 vacancy.

The Assembly. The 2015-16 Assembly has 63 Republicans and 36 Democrats.

For more information about party leadership and committee appointments, please see the Spotlight for the week of January 5.

State of the State

Governor Scott Walker delivered his State of the State address to the Legislature on January 13.

New Rules on Debate

During the January 7 floor session, the Assembly voted to change its rules related to time limits on floor debates and the definition of a partisan caucus, passing Assembly Resolution 3. The resolution allows time limits to be worked out by leadership before the floor session and allows for a motion to vote on the main proposal once the time limits have expired, tabling all pending amendments. The resolution also aligns the definition of "partisan caucus" to match that of the Senate, and allow for bipartisan meetings of the leadership.

Special Election

Governor Walker announced a special election for the 20th Senate District. The election will fill the seat of Sen. Grothman who resigned effective January 3, 2015. The special election will occur concurrently with the regular spring primary and general election dates.

Recently Introduced

As of Friday, January 23, nine bills have been introduced in the Assembly and 10 in the Senate. Topics of legislation to date include school review systems, personal privacy, minimum wage, wage claims, voucher schools, and powdered alcohol. A numerical listing of introduced legislation can be found here.

Election of Chief Justice

On January 22, Senate Joint Resolution 2 was adopted by the Senate and the Assembly. The resolution relates to a constitutional change in the way the chief justice of the Supreme Court is named. Currently, the longest-serving justice holds the title, but the proposal would make the position subject to a majority vote by all the justices, for a term of two years. This was the second consideration of this constitutional amendment; it was approved by the 2013 Legislature as 2013 Senate Joint Resolution 57. The proposal will be presented to the voters as a referendum on the April 7 spring election ballot.


Governor Walker announced on January 9 that he will be delivering the budget address on Tuesday, February 3.

On January 23, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau published revenue estimates for the current year and tax projections.  It previously released 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.

Committee Activity

On January 27, the Senate Committee on Education Reform and Government Operations will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 1, which relates to school and school district accountability. At the discretion of the chairperson, time limits may be placed on testimonies.

Other committees will be considering executive appointments and other matters. For more information on upcoming committee meetings see the Schedule of Committee Activities.

Resources from the LRB Library

The library recommends the following resources related to technical colleges:

Recent Publications

For more 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

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Last revised: January 26, 2015

Spotlight Archive

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January 26, 2015
January 19, 2015
January 12, 2015
January 5, 2015
December 22, 2014
December 15, 2014
December 8, 2014
December 1, 2014
November 24, 2014
November 17, 2014
November 10, 2014
November 3, 2014
October 27, 2014
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August 25, 2014
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June 16 2014
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March 3, 2014
February 24, 2014
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February 3, 2014
January 27, 2014
January 20, 2014
January 13, 2014
January 6, 2014
December 23, 2013
December 16, 2013
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November 25, 2013
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October 28, 2013
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August 26, 2013
August 19, 2013
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July 29, 2013
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July 15, 2013
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June 24, 2013
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May 27, 2013
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April 1, 2013
March 25, 2013
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March 11, 2013
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.