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Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight

This page, maintained by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, provides an overview of recent and upcoming activities in the Wisconsin Legislature. Its content is revised weekly during legislative floorperiods and less frequently when the legislature is not in session. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text. Related links are listed at the end of this feature including links to earlier issues of the Spotlight.

April 25, 2003

Budget Bill

The 2003-2005 budget bill, 2003 Senate Bill 44, is in the Joint Committee on Finance. After holding public hearings around the state, the Joint Committee on Finance is deliberating the changes they wish to make to the budget.

The budget bill is also in a searchable format if you are looking for a specific word or phrase.

The Budget Index Report provides a subject index to the budget and to the LRB drafts which were combined to form the budget.

Governor Jim Doyle's budget address is available on the Governor's Internet site. Executive budget documents prepared by the Department of Administration and a link to video of the Governor's address are also posted on the Governor's Internet site.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau's Summary of Governor's Budget Recommendations provides another source of information on the bill.


The legislature begins a floorperiod April 29. It ends May 8. The next floorperiod begins May 28. The session schedule was set by 2003 Senate Joint Resolution 1.

Legislative Council Legislative Research Center

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

Legislative Fiscal Bureau Informational Papers

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has issued its 2003 Informational Papers.

2003-2004 Legislative Session

The 2003-2004 legislative session began on January 6. Republicans control both the senate and the assembly by an 18-15 edge in the senate and a margin of 58-41 in the assembly. See the Legislative Reference Bureau's Wisconsin State Officers for a list of 2003 legislators.

Sen. Alan Lasee (R-De Pere) was elected President of the Senate and Sen. Mary Panzer (R-West Bend) is Majority Leader. Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) serves as Minority Leader. In the Assembly, Rep. John Gard (R-Peshtigo) is Speaker, Rep. Steven Foti (R-Oconomowoc) Majority Leader, and Rep. James Kreuser (D-Kenosha) Minority Leader. Sen. Alberta Darling (R-Menomonee Falls) and Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) chair the Joint Committee on Finance. For a complete list of officers, see Wisconsin State Officers.

Three Democratic legislators have resigned to assume positions in Governor Jim Doyle's administration. Sen. Kevin Shibilski (D-Stevens Point) resigned January 7 to become Secretary of Tourism. Sen. Richard Grobschmidt (D-South Milwaukee) resigned January 24 to become Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction for Libraries and Technology Development, and Rep. Antonio Riley (D-Milwaukee) resigned January 28 to become Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. All three seats will be filled at special elections on April 29.

State of the State

Governor Doyle delivered his State of the State address on January 30.

Redistricting - Legislative Districts

The Republican-controlled assembly and Democrat-controlled senate passed different bills and could not agree on a plan to redistrict legislative seats. Because no bill passed both houses before the legislature adjourned its regular session on March 14, 2002, the U.S. District Court in Milwaukee promulgated a legislative redistricting plan.

On March 30, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin issued a decision promulgating new state senate and assembly districts (Baumgart, et al. v. Wendelberger, et al., Case No. 01-C-121). The decision and other information, including maps of the new districts, can be found at:

Redistricting - Congressional Districts

On March 26, the governor signed 2001 Wisconsin Act 46 creating the federal congressional districts for the next decade.

Related Links

Governor Doyle's State of the State address

2001-2002 Wisconsin Blue Book

2003-2004 Legislative Session Schedule

Weekly Hearing Schedule

Previous Legislative Spotlights

The Governorís Blue-Ribbon Commission on State-Local Partnerships for the 21st Century

Final Report of the Criminal Penalties Study Committee

Madison: A Capital Idea

Wisconsin Electronic Reader: A digital imaging project of the UW-Madison Libraries and the State Historical Society, reproducing letters and other items from Wisconsin's history.

State Capitol photographs and tour information

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Last revised: April 25, 2003