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 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.
The Week of July 4, 2005
Senate Joint Resolution 1 establishes the 2005-2006 Session Schedule. The Senate has amended and passed the budget, and the Assembly could consider the amended bill in a floorperiod as early as this week.
The governor's budget was introduced as 2005 Assembly Bill 100 on February 9, and is available at the legislature's Web site.
The Joint Committee on Finance recommended passage of its version of Assembly Bill 100 on June 17, by a vote of 11-5. Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 was adopted on June 21, by a vote of 59-37, and passed the Assembly on June 22, 56-40.
The Senate passed an amended version of Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 on June 30 by a vote of 17-16. The Senate adopted three amendments: Senate Amendment 19, Senate Amendment 35, and Senate Amendment 50. The amended bill will now go to the Assembly for consideration.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has prepared several publications on the state budget.
Department of Corrections, UW System and SeniorCare
2005 Wisconsin Act 15 was signed by the governor on June 22. Introduced as 2005 Assembly Bill 438, the law increased funding for the Department of Corrections by $7.3 million and the UW System by $22.5 million to be used for energy and utility expenses. Act 15 also transfers $75 million from the general fund to the Medical Assistance trust fund and gives SeniorCare an additional $2 million.
2005 Wisconsin Act 14 was signed by the governor on June 7. Introduced as 2005 Senate Bill 78, the law classifies pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, used as a primary ingredient in the production of methamphetamines, as a Schedule V controlled substance. Individuals will be required to present a photo ID at purchase. There will also be limits on the quantity and frequency of purchase. 2005 Assembly Bill 213, which proposes terminating the parental rights of persons who manufacture methamphetamine with their child present, passed the Assembly on June 16 by a vote of 86 to 10.
"Conscience Protection Act"
2005 Senate Bill 155, introduced on April 1, 2005, and 2005 Assembly Bill 207, introduced on March 14, 2005, would shield health care professionals from liability for refusal to perform certain professional duties that go against their moral or religious beliefs. These bills were introduced, in part, in reaction to the recent disciplinary action taken against a pharmacist who refused to fill or transfer a patient's prescription for contraceptive pills. The governor vetoed a similar measure two years ago. Senate Bill 155 was recommended for passage by the Senate Committee on Labor and Election Process Reform on May 27, and Assembly Bill 207 passed the Assembly on June 14 by a vote of 60 to 34 and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Children, Families, Aging and Long Term Care.
"Morning After Pill"
2005 Assembly Bill 343 passed the Assembly on a vote of 49 to 41 on June 16 and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Children, Families, Aging and Long Term Care. The bill prohibits the University of Wisconsin System from advertising the availability of, prescribing, or dispensing certain hormonal medications or combinations of medications that are designed to prevent or terminate a pregnancy to students or any other person entitled to receive university health care services. The bill would also prohibit advertising of the “morning after pill” on UW System property.
2005 Senate Bill 243 and Assembly Bill 499, both introduced on June 16, ban human cloning and parthenogenesis. They also prohibit attempting to perform human cloning or parthenogenesis, transferring or acquiring a human embryo produced by these processes, or transferring or acquiring any embryo, cell, tissue, or product thereby derived. Senate Bill 243 was recommended for passage by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections and Privacy, 3-2. Assembly Bill 499 was passed on June 23 by a vote of 59-39 and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections and Privacy.
2005 Senate Bill 42, requiring certain identification to vote at a polling place or obtain an absentee ballot, passed the Senate 21-12 on June 15, and passed the Assembly on June 21 by a vote of 63-34. The bill can now go to the governor to be signed or vetoed.
The Weekly Hearings Schedule lists all scheduled hearings.
The 2005-06 legislative session began on January 3, 2005. No bills carry over from one biennial session to the next. Bills that legislators want to reintroduce receive new bill numbers in the new session.
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. This service is designed to make it much easier for citizens to follow the activity of the legislature.
Internet Broadcast of Floor Debate. Citizens can listen to live floor debate in both houses using the Legislature's InSession service: Senate audio and Assembly audio. 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 2003-2004 Wisconsin Blue Book, the official almanac of Wisconsin State Government, is 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. 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). The 2005-2006 Blue Book will be published in autumn 2005.
Listen to or download free audio files on the LRB Podcasts Web site, which contains legislative information from experts in the field.
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.
The Legislative Audit Bureau conducts financial and program evaluation audits of state agencies, and audit reports as current as 2005 are accessible online.
Wisconsin Legislature: Infobases
Previous Legislative Spotlights