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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 July 14, 2008

Legislative Session

Pursuant to 2007 Senate Joint Resolution 1, the last general business floorperiod of the 2007 biennial session concluded on March 13, and the last veto review period ended on May 29. The 2007 Legislature is not scheduled to meet again in regular session for the remainder of 2008.

Legislative Candidates File for September Primary

July 8 was the filing deadline for the September 2008 primary elections. All 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly and 16 of the 33 seats in the Wisconsin Senate are up for election this November. Districts in which more than one candidate from a particular political party have submitted nominating papers will have a primary election. A complete listing is available from the Elections Division of the Government Accountability Board, which also has a press release summarizing the contests statewide.

Several incumbents have chosen not to seek reelection. Interviews with many of them can be viewed on WisconsinEye.

Rep. Wood Files as Independent Candidate

Representative Jeff Wood (67th Assembly District) of Chetek, currently seated as a Republican, filed for reelection as an independent candidate. No candidates representing the Republican Party filed by the July 8 deadline, nor did any Democrats file. In the absence of write-in candidates, Rep. Wood's only opponent in November will be Libertarian Andrew McKenzie of Chippewa Falls. If Rep. Wood is reelected, it will be the first time since 1945 that a legislative session began with a member of the Assembly who was not a Democrat or Republican. (The 1945-46 session began with six Assembly members from the Progressive Party.)

Flood Assistance

Like much of the Midwest, Wisconsin has been hit hard by summer storms and many areas are dealing with flood conditions. The LRB Library has prepared a list of flood-related resources, one of the collections of noteworthy titles on various topics highlighted on the main LRB library page. University of Wisconsin Extension offers additional flood-related information resources.

On June 9, the Governor declared a state of emergency because of the flooding, and on June 10, he requested FEMA assistance for the state. On June 14, FEMA declared parts of the state disaster areas. As of July 10, residents of 30 counties are eligible for individual disaster assistance, and public infrastructure assistance is available to 27 counties. Information on the flooding, and on flood assistance, continues to be updated as needed on the Wisconsin Emergency Management Web site.

Michigan's Approval Sends Great Lakes Water Compact to Congress

With Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's signature on July 9, Michigan became the eighth and final Great Lakes state needed to approve the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The multistate compact attempts to preserve and protect the waters of the Great Lakes. It now goes to the U.S. Congress, which must approve the compact for it to take effect. With the approval of 2007 Wisconsin Act 227, Wisconsin adopted the compact in May following Governor Doyle's call in April for a special session of the Wisconsin Legislature.

For more information, see:

Department of Children and Families Launched

The new Department of Children and Families began operating on July 1. The department will be Wisconsin’s first cabinet agency focused exclusively on promoting the safety, economic, and social well-being of children and families of the state. The new department brings together 30 services formerly split between the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). More information can be viewed on their Web site.

Committee Activity

Because the final general business floorperiod of the 2007-2008 session has concluded, committees are no longer meeting to consider proposed legislation. They will, however, continue to hold occasional meetings and public hearings on various matters such as appointments to boards and commissions, state contracts, and administrative rules.

Please see the Schedule of Committee Activities to view the full monthly calendar and to obtain details regarding times and locations of committee meetings.

Recent Publications

The Legislative Reference Bureau recently issued Wisconsin Brief 08-8, “Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact,” Research Bulletin 08-1, “Summary of the 2007-2008 Wisconsin Legislative Session,” Wisconsin Brief 08-7, “State Agencies, Boards, Commissions, or Councils Created, Repealed, or Revised by the 2007 Legislature,” Legislative Brief 08-6, "Virtual Charter Schools," and Legislative Brief 08-5, "Repeat Drunken Driving Penalties Increased."

On July 8, the Legislative Audit Bureau released an audit on the Wisconsin Lottery. Other recent reports include the Unclaimed Property Program and Overtime in State Agencies.

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee will conduct a hearing on July 17 on the report on state overtime, as well as food and dairy safety.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has recently issued its Comparative Summary of Budget Adjustment Provisions, and preliminary information on 2007-08 Property Taxes in Wisconsin.

Recent publications from the Legislative Council can be found here.

Blue Book Study Guides

Two Informational Bulletins were also issued by the LRB as companions to the 2007-2008 Wisconsin Blue Book: Informational Bulletin 07-1, “A Study Guide to the 2007-2008 Wisconsin Blue Book,” and Informational Bulletin 07-2, “Inside the 2007-2008 Wisconsin Blue Book.”

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Last revised: November 05, 2012