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. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text.
The 2011-2012 legislative session began when the new legislature was sworn in on January 3, 2011. The schedule of floorperiods for the new session was established by Senate Joint Resolution 1. The current regular session floorperiod is scheduled to last until February 10. The January special session is ongoing.
Governor Walker called the legislature into special session on January 4 to consider legislation on a variety of topics, including tax credits, tort law, medical savings accounts, and other legislation relating to taxation.
Health Savings Accounts. On January 24, Governor Walker signed January 2011 Special Session Senate Bill 2 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 1. The act creates a tax exemption for contributions to health savings accounts. The bill was approved in the Senate on January 20 by a vote of 21-12, and in the Assembly by a vote of 66-28, with 2 paired votes.
Tort Reform. On January 27, Governor Walker signed January 2011 Special Session Senate Bill 1 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 2. The act makes several changes to current law regarding civil actions (tort reform). The bill passed the Senate on January 18 by a vote of 19-14. It passed the Assembly on January 20 by a vote of 57-36, with 2 paired votes.
There are two special session bills currently enrolled and awaiting approval by the governor as of January 28.
January 2011 Special Session Assembly Bill 3 relates to an income and franchise tax credit for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin. After approving Substitute Amendment 2, the Assembly passed the bill by a final vote of 82-12 on January 20. The Senate concurred by a vote of 24-9 on January 25.
Special Session Assembly Bill 4 relates to increasing the amount of the credits under the economic development tax credit program. After adopting Amendment 6, the Assembly passed the bill by a vote of 82-12, with 2 paired votes on January 20. The Senate passed the bill on January 25 by a vote of 25-8.
Special Session Assembly Bill 7, which proposes income and franchise tax credits for small businesses, has passed both house of the legislature. The Senate approved the bill on January 27, by a vote of 25-8. The Assembly passed the bill on January 25 by a vote of 60-33, with 2 paired votes.
On January 25, the Assembly passed Special Session Assembly Bill 5, which proposes the requirement of a supermajority for the passage of tax increase legislation. The vote was 57-36, with 2 paired votes. A similar proposal is Special Session Senate Bill 5.
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. Be sure to select "Jan 2011 Special Session" as the session to be able to view Special Session bills.
WEDC. On January 27, the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy and Small Business reported that Special Session Assembly Bill 6 was recommended for passage with amendments. The bill proposes the creation of a new authority, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) that would take over the duties of the current state Department of Commerce. Four amendments to the bill were recommended. The final vote in committee was 8-5. The bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Finance. A similar proposal, Special Session Senate Bill 6, was also recommended for passage by the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Veterans and Military Affairs on January 27.
Auto insurance. On January 27, The Assembly Committee on Insurance reported that Assembly Bill 4 was recommended for passage with amendments. The bill proposes to reduce the minimum limits of coverage required for acceptable proof of financial responsibility for motor vehicles. The final vote was 10-3.
The Senate Committee on Public Health, Human Services, and Revenue will hold an executive session on February 1 on the matter of the appointment of Eloise Anderson as the secretary of the Department of Children and Families. It will also hold a public hearing on the appointment of Richard Chandler as secretary of the Department of Revenue and on Senate Bill 3, related to tax incentives for job creation.
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment will hold a public hearing on Special Session Senate Bill 10, which relates to an exemption from water quality standards for a wetland area in Brown County.
See the Schedule of Committee Activities for further information about locations and times of committee hearings held by standing or special committees.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 15, 2012