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 regular session has adjourned pursuant to SJR-1; the next scheduled floorperiod begins on April 5.
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.
Conference Substitute Amendment 1 to January 2011 Special Session Assembly Bill 11 passed both houses and was signed by Governor Walker on March 11, 2011. The bill was signed into law as Wisconsin Act 10. Unless otherwise specified in a law, Acts generally take effect the day after publication by the Secretary of State, who has 10 working days to do so. The Secretary of State indicated to the media that he intended to wait the full 10 days to publish the bill, which would have occurred on Friday, March 25.
On March 18, however, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi prevented publication of the act by issuing a temporary restraining order. The Attorney General announced his intention to appeal the order, and, on March 24, a three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeals decided to send the appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. As of this writing, the Supreme Court has not decided whether to take the appeal; at least four of the seven justices must agree to hear the appeal.
Critics of the legislation have contended that the conference committee met in violation of open meetings law. An open meetings complaint was filed by Representative Barca on March 10. Civil suits have also been filed in Dane County to block publication of Act 10, and it was one of those suits which prompted the restraining order. Wisconsin’s open meetings law can be found in Subchapter V of Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 19.
Senate Rule 93 and Assembly Rule 93 provide modified notification procedures for times when the legislature is in special session. Article IV, Section 8 of the Wisconsin Constitution gives each house the authority to determine the rules of its proceedings. For more information on this topic, see our Informational Bulletin 98-1 on Special and Extraordinary Sessions of the Wisconsin Legislature.
A copy of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s summary of provisions of the Conference Committee Substitute Amendment can be accessed here.
For a more complete history of the Budget Repair Bill, see the March 14 Spotlight.
The Biennial Budget for 2011-13 has been introduced as 2011 Assembly Bill 40 and 2011 Senate Bill 27. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released several memoranda related to the effect of the proposed budget on local governments.
Governor Scott Walker delivered his 2011-2013 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.
The Legislative Reference Bureau has compiled documents related to the creation of the executive budget here.
The Joint Committee on Finance will meet on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week, March 29-31, for state agency budget briefings. The committee will not be taking public testimony. Additional information on this and other legislative committee activity is available on the Schedule of Committee Activities.
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.
60th Assembly District (Formerly represented by Mark Gottlieb)
83rd Assembly District (Formerly represented by Scott Gunderson)
94th Assembly District (Formerly represented by Mike Huebsch)
For more information on elections, see the Government Accountability Board.
The Census Bureau has released detailed census data from the 2010 census. Wisconsin’s population on April 1, 2010 was 5,686,986. The ideal population of a senate district in a senate of 33 members will be 172,333. The ideal population of an assembly district in an assembly of 99 members will be 57,444. The largest senate district in terms of the 2010 population is the 27th senate district, with a population of 197,815, an increase of 35,452 since 2000. The smallest is the 6th senate district, with a population of 152,758, a decrease of 9,931 since 2000. The largest assembly district is the 79th assembly district, with a population of 76,116, an increase of 21,554 since 2000. The smallest assembly district is the 18th assembly district, with a population of 48,387, a decrease of 5,749 since 2000.
The Legislative Reference Bureau published an Informational Bulletin on Guidelines for Adjusting Municipal Wards Following the 2010 Census. The bulletin provides information on the ward subdistricting process, the statutory requirements and legal deadlines that must be met, and the relationship among state, county, and local governments in establishing and using municipal wards to form election districts.
After a noticeable decline at the start of the decade, the infant mortality rate for African Americans in Dane County has risen sharply over the last three years. In 2010, the Wisconsin Legislative Council created an interim study committee charged with studying the problem in Wisconsin.
The LRB Library recommends the following additional resources on the problem:
For more Noteworthy titles lists, see the Library Services page.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 19, 2012