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.
Representative Spencer Black (D-77th) has announced that he will not seek reelection. To date, at least 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.
The cochairpersons of the Joint Legislative Council released a list of proposed study committees to report to the 2011 legislature, to be voted on by the full council by mail ballot by May 14.
2009 Assembly Bill 496, prohibiting 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.
2009 Senate Bill 651, popularly known as the "Green to Gold" bill, authorizes 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 passed by a vote of 28-5 in the Senate and 78-20 in the Assembly, and signed on May 13 as Act 332.
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.
There were 978 Assembly bills and 708 Senate bills introduced during the 2009 session. 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, 360 bills have been been signed into law. All bills have been sent to the governor and must be acted on by Thursday, May 20, at the latest.
May is a month of celebrations and remembrances from May Day (May 1) to Memorial Day (observed May 31). The LRB Library staff has updated Tap the Power: Memorial Day and Flag Day which features library resources and Web sites that might be useful in preparing for Memorial Day events.
On May 29, Wisconsin will celebrate Statehood Day. Over the years, articles and photographs about statehood celebration activities have been published in the Wisconsin Blue Book. These articles are available online and can be accessed through LRBCat, the library catalog. Here are some of those historical articles.
Statehood dates for every state can be found here, along with some pre-statehood notes. The list can be sorted by date or in alphabetical order.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 13, 2012