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 final general business floorperiod of the 2009-2010 legislative session concluded on April 22. A limited business floorperiod ran from May 4 to May 6. A veto review floorperiod is scheduled for May 25 and 26, constituting the final scheduled floorperiod of the 2009-2011 legislative session. The schedule for the current legislative session was established by 2009 Senate Joint Resolution 1.
Representatives Mary Hubler (D-75th) and Phil Montgomery (R-4th) are the latest legislators to announce that they will not seek reelection. To date, 16 members of the 99-member body have announced plans to retire or seek other office this fall. Three senators – two Republicans and one Democrat – have also announced they will not seek reelection.
2009 Assembly Bill 496, which would prohibit electronic text messaging while driving, was amended by the Senate and passed on April 13. The Senate amendment was concurred in by the Assembly on April 15. The bill was signed into law on May 5 as Act 220.
On April 20, the Assembly concurred in the passage of 2009 Senate Bill 25, related to race-based mascots used by schools, by a vote of 53-45. Under the bill, a school district resident may object to use of a race-based mascot by filing a complaint with the state superintendent. Generally, the proposal would require the superintendent make a ruling after gathering information and conducting a hearing on the complaint. The bill was signed into law on May 5 as Act 250.
For other bills signed on May 7, click here.
2009 Senate Bill 530, which proposes to regulate the payday loan industry, was passed April 22 by the Assembly on a 72-55 vote. The Assembly approved the bill with an amendment from the Senate, which had passed the bill earlier that day. The senate amendment deleted language that banned auto title loans, but the bill still provides for the regulation and restriction of those loans.
The Assembly concurred in 2009 Senate Bill 434, which would allow sales of raw (unpasteurized) dairy products, by a vote of 60-35 on April 22.
The Senate concurred in the passage of 2009 Assembly Bill 333 on April 20, which provides journalists with protection for their confidential sources of information. Under the bill, only a court would be able to issue a subpoena to compel a journalist to testify about a confidential source under specified conditions.
Both the Senate and the Assembly passed 2009 Senate Bill 651, popularly known as the "Green to Gold" bill, on April 20. The bill would authorize loans through the Department of Commerce that would be granted to manufacturing businesses for implementing energy efficient measures, retooling to manufacture products that support a green economy, expanding or establishing clean energy processes, and hiring or retraining workers to take part in the above activities. The bill was adopted by a vote of 28-5 in the Senate and 78-20 in the Assembly.
As of May 7, 978 Assembly bills and 708 Senate bills have been introduced. All introduced legislation can be found on the Legislature's Searchable Infobases site, or by using the Request text and history of legislative proposals function on the home page.
Currently, 264 bills have been been signed into law. On May 13, all bills not yet called for by the governor will be sent to his office for review.
On May 6, 2010, Governor Doyle announced that Monona Terrace has been chosen as the location for the new station for the proposed passenger rail line connecting Madison and Milwaukee. The LRB Library recommends the following resources on passenger rail in Wisconsin:
The Department of Transportations page about the Madison-Milwaukee rail corridor includes a schedule for the project, as well as environmental documents and other reports related to planning the rail corridor.
Our list of noteworthy titles related to passenger rail in Wisconsin available from the LRB Library (visit the Library Services page for lists on other current policy issues).
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 13, 2012