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 August 8, 2005
Senate Joint Resolution 1 establishes the 2005-2006 Session Schedule. Having met in extraordinary session on July 20 to ratify collective bargaining agreements, the Legislature now stands in recess until the next floorperiod, which is scheduled to begin on September 20 and end on September 29.
Governor Doyle has until August 11 to take action on all bills passed by the Legislature. If he has not acted on all bills by that date, those remaining awaiting his consideration will be delivered to his office at the close of business on August 11. He will have six days, Sunday excluded, to take action or the bills become law without his signature.
Governor Doyle signed the budget bill, Assembly Bill 100, into law as 2005 Wisconsin Act 25 on Monday, July 25. He vetoed 139 items in the bill. Among the actions accomplished by item vetoes was the restoration of $400,000,000 in school aids that were included in the initial version of Assembly Bill 100. Revenue limits on school districts were vetoed, and revenue limits on counties and municipalities were modified. Among other items vetoed were the required sale of lands to the DNR by the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, the repeal of the comprehensive planning law known as Smart Growth, and a decrease in the recycling “tipping fee.”
The text of 2005 Wisconsin Act 25 with vetoes is available on the legislature’s website.
The text of the governor’s veto message is available on the legislature’s website.
Senate President Alan Lasee requested that the Attorney General offer an opinion on the constitutionality of the governor’s vetoes. The legislature may override any veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each house.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has prepared several publications on the state budget.
For a brief description of other Wisconsin Acts recently passed and signed, click here.
2005 Assembly Bill 583, which would regulate the sale and redemption of gift cards, gift certificates, and other similar instruments (gift obligations), was introduced on July 27. The bill would prohibit the sale of gift obligations that expire or lose value over time, and would require the business that issued the obligation to honor it.
2005 Senate Bill 42, which would require certain identification to vote at a polling place or obtain an absentee ballot, passed the Senate on June 15 by a vote of 21 to 12, and passed the Assembly on June 21 by a vote of 63 to 34. The bill, which was enrolled on July 11, can now go to the governor to be signed or vetoed.
2005 Assembly Bill 542, introduced on July 7, proposes various changes in the laws concerning election administration. These changes would include setting up satellite polling places, limiting waiting times for voters to 30 minutes, providing voter registration applications when getting a driver’s license, circulating an electronic list of felons barred from voting, and training poll workers.
2005 Senate Bill 252, introduced on July 6, and its companion bill, 2005 Assembly Bill 546, introduced on July 7, propose a sales and use tax exemption of no more than $1,000 for hybrid motor vehicles that have an Environmental Protection Agency combined city and highway mileage rating of at least 40 miles per gallon.
2005 Assembly Bill 537 and 2005 Senate Bill 245, would index the state’s “living wage” to annual changes in the consumer price index every May 31.
2005 Assembly Bill 535, introduced on July 7, would require the Department of Corrections to make information in the sex offender registry available to the school board or governing body of any private school in the school district in which a registered sex offender is residing, employed, or attending school.
2005 Assembly Bill 557, introduced on July 12, would prohibit a person who is required to register as a sex offender from residing within 1,000 feet of a private or public school, including a kindergarten, or within 1,000 feet of a child care facility.
Other 2005 pending legislation on sex offenders includes: 2005 Assembly Bill 251, 2005 Assembly Bill 301, and 2005 Senate Bill 176 (with companion 2005 Assembly Bill 360).
Senator Reynolds introduced Senate Bill 270 on July 27 to increase the speed limit on freeways and expressways to 75 miles per hour.
State and Local Relations
2005 Senate Bill 259, introduced on July 13, proposes to: eliminate various school district and Department of Public Instruction requirements, authorize a city or village to abolish its police department and contract for law enforcement services with a county, authorize a county to participate in a municipal revenue sharing agreement, proscribe standards for information technology integration, and modify definitions related to city health departments. This bill is partly based on the discussions of the Senate Select Committee on State and Local Relations during the 2003 session and its final report, issued on January 1, 2005.
The Wisconsin Legislature has approved a contract with WisconsinEYE. The seven-year contract gives WisconsinEYE exclusive rights to mount cameras and wiring in the State Capitol to provide C-SPAN-style coverage of the Legislature at no cost to the state. Broadcasting could begin as soon as January 2006.
Assembly Bill 285, the pharmacy “conscience clause” bill, has been scheduled for a public hearing by the Assembly Committee on Labor on September 24 at 10 a.m. in room 225 Northwest.
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 available 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
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