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 January special session is ongoing. The February 22 floorperiod began as scheduled. January Special Session Assembly Joint Resolution 1 has extended the floorperiod until March 7.
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, other legislation relating to taxation, and the budget repair bill.
On February 14, 2011, January Special Session Senate Bill 11 was introduced by the Joint Committee on Finance, at the request of Governor Scott Walker. This bill is intended to address the budget deficit for the current fiscal year. The Joint Committee on Finance held a public hearing on February 16 and voted for passage (as amended by Senate Amendment 1) 12-4 on February 17. For budget repair bill details, see the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Web site. Action on the bill has been delayed due to the lack of the required quorum in the Senate. On February 17, 14 Democratic senators left the state, effectively preventing a vote from being taken. At 1:00 a.m. February 25, the Assembly passed January Special Session Assembly Bill 11, its version of the budget repair bill, 51-17, after an emotional 60-hour floor session during which over 100 amendments to the bill were offered.
January Special Session AB-11 was taken up by the Senate during its February 25 floor session with all 14 Democratic senators still absent. The bill was debated and given its second and third readings. Currently, both versions of the bill, SB-11 and AB-11, are ready for a vote on final passage in the Senate, which still does not have the 3/5 quorum required for passage of fiscal bills.
January 2011 Special Session Senate Resolution 1, relating to “compelling attendance of senators without leave,” was introduced and passed on March 3.
2011 Senate Resolutions 4 through 17, relating to: “imposing penalties and costs” on the 14 senators for “being absent without leave” were introduced on March 3.
Demonstrations continue in and around the Capitol in protest of the bill's provisions restricting the collective bargaining rights of public employees.
A court order issued by Judge John Albert on March 3 in Dane County Circuit Court ordered the Department of Administration (DOA) to remove after the typical 6:00 p.m. closing time unauthorized individuals who have been sleeping in the State Capitol. Secondly, by 8:00 a.m. on March 8, the State Capitol must be open to all members of the public in conformance with the access policies in effect on January 28, 2011, which regulate use of the Capitol Building. More information on Capitol Access is available on DOA’s Web site. (The lawsuit is Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, AFL-CIO, et al, vs. State of Wisconsin, Department of Administration.)
Governor Scott Walker delivered his 2011-2012 Budget Message to a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday, March 1. A link to the video is available on the Office of the Governor's Web site.
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.
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 16, 2012