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.
Senate Joint Resolution 1 establishes the 2005-2006 Session Schedule. The Senate and Assembly are adjourned until April 25.
On March 21, Governor Doyle signed Senate Bill 221, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 165, relating to increasing awareness and education regarding shaken baby syndrome. Under this law, the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board is required to develop materials for parents and caregivers, and childcare providers, including hospitals, are required to inform parents about the materials and distribute them. Schools are now required to give instruction on shaken baby syndrome to students in grades five through eight, and grade eleven. Daycare providers serving children younger than age five are also required to receive instruction, along with their employees, before becoming licensed to operate.
On March 22, Governor Doyle signed Senate Bill 244, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 174, which provides for supervised electronic communication between a parent and child after a divorce or legal separation, if allowed by the court.
Governor Doyle also signed Senate Bill 183 on March 22, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 180, which increases grant money for Manufacturing Extension Partnerships.
On March 23, Governor Doyle signed Assembly Bill 1073, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 183, which limits recovery of damages for pain and suffering to $750,000 in medical malpractice cases.
Governor Doyle also signed Assembly Bill 826 on March 23, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 184, which prohibits leaving a child unattended while the child is being transported in a child care vehicle, and provides penalties ranging from a misdemeanor charge to a felony for criminal negligence.
Governor Doyle also signed 24 other bills during the week, addressing several issues including changes to the workers compensation law, and prohibiting drug and alcohol use by employees on public work projects.
A complete list of 2005-2006 Wisconsin Acts can be viewed online.
The Senate voted 32-1 on March 9 to concur in Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 to 2005 Assembly Bill 1028, relating to creating the Wisconsin Disaster Relief Fund. The bill would allow the adjutant general to distribute money from a newly created fund to local governments who have been denied or do not meet the requirements for FEMA assistance. The local government would be responsible for 30% of the costs. The bill would be retroactive to January 1, 2005, and would help those affected by tornadoes last summer. The Assembly passed the substitute amendment on March 7.
The Assembly passed 2005 Senate Bill 515 on March 9, which would require the Department of Commerce to implement a program to certify businesses that are at least 51% owned, controlled, and actively managed by women. The bill would not create preferences in state contracts for such businesses. The Senate passed the bill March 7 by a vote of 31-1.
On March 9, the Assembly passed 2005 Senate Bill 352, relating to creating the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority (WAA). The WAA would be responsible for establishing a spaceport in Sheboygan and promoting and developing the aerospace industry in Wisconsin. The Senate passed the bill on March 2 by a vote of 26-6.
The Assembly voted 91-5 on March 9 to approve 2005 Assembly Bill 840 as amended by the Senate. The bill would set the nighttime speed limit for snowmobiles at 55 mph. The Senate concurred in the bill 31-2.
A list of 2005-2006 enrolled bills can be viewed online.
On March 7, the Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 5, providing for an advisory referendum on the question of enacting the death penalty in Wisconsin, by a vote of 20-13. If adopted by the Assembly, the referendum question will be on the September 2006 primary election ballot and asks voters if they would support the death penalty for a person convicted of “first-degree intentional homicide, if the homicide is vicious and the conviction is supported by DNA evidence”. The resolution was introduced by Senator Alan Lasee in February 2005, but has recently gained momentum because of the circumstances in the homicide case allegedly involving high-profile defendant Steven Avery.
2005 Senate Joint Resolution 53, a proposed constitutional amendment on marriage, was adopted on second consideration and will go to the voters for consideration in November. 2005 Senate Joint Resolution 53 proposes to amend the Wisconsin Constitution to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman be legally recognized in Wisconsin. It would prohibit granting identical or similar legal rights to any unmarried couples, effectively banning civil unions and domestic partnerships. 2005 Senate Joint Resolution 53 passed the Senate on December 6 by a vote of 19-14, with the Assembly concurring on February 28 by a vote of 62-31.
2005 Senate Joint Resolution 63 and 2005 Assembly Joint Resolution 77, introduced on February 14 for the first consideration needed to pass a constitutional amendment, limit the amount of revenue from taxes and fees that the state or a special purpose district, school district, technical college district, county, city, village, or town may receive in any year, based on various factors. Generally, revenue from taxes and fees that the state receives in excess of its limit must be placed in an emergency reserve, with any remaining excess returned to the taxpayers. All revenue that other governmental units receive above their limits must be returned to the taxpayers. On March 13, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau prepared a memorandum discussing the possible fiscal impact of this amendment.
Wisconsin Brief 05-4 describes the constitutional amendments given first consideration approval by the 2003 Wisconsin Legislature.
Last revised: October 18, 2012