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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. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text.

The Week of March 26, 2007

The next Senate and Assembly floorperiod begins Tuesday, April 17, 2007. Senate Joint Resolution 1 establishes the 2007-2008 Session Schedule. For information on recent session day actions please visit the Legislative Activity section of the Wisconsin State Legislature Web site.

2007-2009 Biennial Budget

The Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) introduced the 2007-2009 biennial budget bill on behalf of the governor on February 14. The budget was introduced as 2007 Senate Bill 40. The bill was referred to JCF after introduction. JCF has held public hearings on the state budget in Milwaukee (March 20) and Arlington (March 21). Hearings are also scheduled in Chippewa Falls (March 27, 12 noon), Prairie du Chien (April 4, 12 noon), Rhinelander (April 11, 12 noon), and Green Bay (April 12, 10:00 a.m.). For more information about the 2007-2009 budget, visit the Department of Administrationís budget Web site. Governor Doyle delivered his budget address to a joint session of the legislature on February 13. The text of the governorís address can be found here. Video of the address can be found here.

2005-2007 Budget Adjustment

Governor Doyle signed 2007 Wisconsin Act 5 on March 16. This legislation authorizes the Department of Administration to make fund transfers that are needed for the state to meet certain financial obligations for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has prepared a memorandum describing this legislation.

Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform

2007 Wisconsin Act 1 was signed by Governor Doyle on February 2, 2007. This act overhauls the regulation of elections, ethics, and lobbying in Wisconsin. It merges the functions of the State Ethics Board and State Elections Board into the new Government Accountability Board. The board has expanded authority to conduct investigations into ethics, elections, and lobbying violations. Board members will be retired judges who are approved by the Senate. The ethics and elections boards will expire in the fall. The legislation was introduced in the January Special Session and passed the Senate unanimously and passed the Assembly by a vote of 97 to 2. The Legislative Council has published an Act Memo and Legislative Reference Bureau Legislative Brief 07-1 also summarizes 2007 Wisconsin Act 1.

Senate Bill 77, which relates to the scope of regulated activity under the campaign finance law, was introduced on February 28, 2007, and referred to the Committee on Campaign Finance Reform, Rural Issues and Information Technology.

Assembly Bill 27, which relates to reporting of certain information concerning individual contributions received on campaign finance reports, was referred to the Committee on Election and Constitutional Law on March 1, 2007.

Sick Leave For Elected Officials

2007 Assembly Bill 31, relating to elimination of sick leave for legislators, justices and judges, and all other state elected officials, was introduced on January 24. On February 20, the Assembly adopted Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 by a vote of 60 to 38. The bill was read for a third time and passed by a vote of 66 to 29 on March 1, 2007. The Legislative Council has published an Amendment Memo explaining Assembly Substitute Amendment 1.

Constitutional Amendments

Three joint resolutions to amend the Wisconsin Constitution were adopted on first consideration by the 2005 Wisconsin Legislature and are eligible for second consideration by the 2007 Legislature. They relate to: 1) requiring a photographic identification to vote, or to register to vote at the polls on election day; 2) prohibiting partial vetoes from creating new sentences; and 3) prohibiting vetoes of individual words in sentences. As of March 3, resolutions for second consideration for two of these proposals have been introduced in the 2007 Legislature.

Photo ID for voting (second consideration)

Assembly Joint Resolution 17, proposing a second consideration related to requiring photographic identification to vote or register to vote on election day, was introduced on February 15. The resolution was given a second reading and debated in the Assembly on March 1, 2007. The Assembly voted 49 to 46 against suspending the rules for a third reading of the resolution.

Partial Veto (second consideration)

Assembly Joint Resolution 1 passed the Assembly on February 1 by a vote of 70-25 and was subsequently sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Committee on Ethics Reform and Government Operations. Assembly Joint Resolution 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 5, each proposing a second consideration constitutional amendment prohibiting item vetoes from effectively creating new sentences, were introduced on January 12 and January 16, respectively. On February 20, the Senate refused to suspend the rules to withdraw AJR-1 from committee, therefore the issue will not appear on the April ballot for voter approval. SJR-5 is also in committee.

Other proposals for constitutional amendments (on first consideration)

Legislators have proposed constitutional amendments on first consideration on taxation, term limits, equal rights, the Supreme Court, and state segregated funds. See the Legislature's Web site for more information by searching for "constitutional amendments" (with the quotation marks).

Committee Hearings

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities and Rail and the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities will hold a joint public hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27, on Senate Bill 107 and Assembly Bill 207, relating to the regulation of cable television and video service providers, in Room 412 East, State Capitol.

The Senate Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs Committee and the Assembly Committee on Urban and Local Affairs will hold a joint informational briefing and hearing on the shared revenue program at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, in Room 411 South, State Capitol. Only invited testimony will be taken.

The Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy will hold an informational hearing on Wisconsinís economy featuring Bob Lang, Director of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Mary Burke, Secretary of Commerce, and Roberta Gassman, Secretary of Workforce Development, at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 28, in Room 328 Northeast, State Capitol. Only invited testimony will be taken.

Please see the Schedule of Committee Activities for further information on hearings to be held the week of March 26, 2007.

Recent Publications

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released an overview of state agency request items; January 2007 Revenue Estimates, an annual publication which in budget years includes estimated revenues, expenditures, and tax collection projections for the biennium; and Informational Paper 73, which describes the responsibilities of the Joint Committee on Finance.

The Legislative Reference Bureau recently released a Subject Index to Executive Orders: January, 1965 to December 27, 2006, the Budget Index Report: A Guide to the 2007/2009 Governors Executive Budget Bill, and a Legislative Brief on Ethics Regulation Reform.

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Last revised: October 22, 2012