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 often when the legislature is not in session. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text. Related links, including links to earlier issues of the Spotlight, are listed at the end of this feature.
April 2, 2004
The last regular floorperiod ended on March 11, 2004. This was the last general business floorperiod of the 2003-2004 legislative session. The legislature ended an extraordinary session on March 25. Bills which did not pass by March 25 died. About 180 bills are awaiting action by the governor. The governor will receive any unsigned bills from the recently completed floorperiod on April 15. The governor has six days (Sundays excepted) from the time he receives bills to sign or veto them.
There is a limited business floorperiod April 27 to 29.
The legislature may call itself into extraordinary session again or the governor may call a special session at any time before the new legislative session begins in January 2005.
The period for circulating nomination papers for the fall general elections begins June 1 and ends July 13, 2004. All 99 members of the assembly and 16 of 33 state senators — those from even-numbered districts — are up for election.
Senator Mark Meyer (D-La Crosse) and Representatives Larry Balow (D-Eau Claire), Steven Foti (R-Oconomowoc), DuWayne Johnsrud (R-Eastman), Luther Olsen (R-Berlin), and Wayne Wood (D-Janesville) have announced that they will not be candidates for reelection this fall. Senators Gwendolynne Moore (D-Milwaukee) and Robert Welch (R-Redgranite), and Representative Mark Miller (D-Monona) have announced that they will run for other offices.
The legislature has unveiled the Wisconsin Legislative Notification Service. Citizens using the system will 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. This service is designed to make it much easier for citizens to follow the activity of the legislature.
The 2003-2004 Wisconsin Blue Book, the official almanac of Wisconsin State Government, is now available both in print and on the Internet. The Blue Book, which is compiled by the Legislative Reference Bureau each odd-numbered year, contains nearly 1,000 pages of information about Wisconsin and its state government. The new edition contains a feature article entitled "Wisconsin's People: A Portrait of Wisconsin's Population on the Threshold of the 21st Century," which is a treasure trove of information about what the 2000 Census of Population reveals about the people and communities of Wisconsin. Members of the Wisconsin Legislature are provided with a limited number of Blue Books for distribution to constituents. Copies of the Blue Book may also be purchased from the Department of Administration Document Sales Unit (608-264-9419 or 800-362-7253).
More information on obtaining a copy of the 2003-2004 Wisconsin Blue Book.
Citizens can listen to live floor debate in both houses using the Legislature's InSession service: Senate and Assembly. Broadcasts are live only. If one house or the other is not in session, there is no audio available. The assembly offers live video as well, with links from the InSession page. 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.
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.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has issued its 2003 Informational Papers.
2003-2004 Wisconsin Blue Book
2003-2004 Legislative Session Schedule
Weekly Hearing Schedule
Previous Legislative Spotlights
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 2, 2004