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 legislature is currently in recess. The next floorperiod is scheduled from June 7 to June 30 or until budget passage. The January special session is ongoing.
On May 26, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi issued a permanent injunction against the implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, ruling that the open meetings law was violated during the conference committee process. The act related to collective bargaining changes for state and municipal employees.
On May 25, Governor Walker signed 2011 Assembly Bill 7 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, which generally requires the display of photo identification in order to vote, and makes other changes to elections. It passed the Assembly on May 17 and the Senate on May 19.
On May 24, the governor signed Special Session Senate Bill 13 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 22, which makes changes to the authority of the Public Service Commission over telecommunications utilities. The law also makes various other changes to telecommunications regulation in Wisconsin. The proposal passed the Senate and the Assembly on May 11.
The governor signed Special Session Assembly Bill 8 into law on May 23, creating 2011 Wisconsin Act 21, relating to changes in the authority of state agencies to promulgate administrative rules under Chapter 227, Wisconsin Statutes. The law also gives the governor the authority to require and approve statements of scope related to proposed rules before any rule can be drafted. The proposal was passed by the Assembly on February 3, and by the Senate on February 10. The Assembly concurred in a senate amendment on May 17.
The governor also signed 2011 Assembly Bill 23 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 19, which prohibits the Department of Natural Resources from requiring a municipal water system to provide continuous disinfection of the water that it provides, unless continuous disinfection is required under federal law.
Also signed May 23. The governor signed Act 17, authorizing the City of Milwaukee to sell city-owned property used for school purposes; Act 18, allowing retailers the ability to offer discounts equal to the state and local sales taxes; and Act 20, related to multiple trip permits for overweight vehicles transporting granular roofing material.
2011 Assembly Bill 126 and 2011 Senate Bill 90, identical companion bills related to the issuance of concealed weapon permits, were introduced on May 10. In addition to the provisions related to concealed weapon permits these bills would also make various other changes to weapon possession regulations. 2011 Senate Bill 93 would also allow Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons and it would do so without requiring a permit or license from the state. The bill would eliminate the laws that currently prohibit concealed weapons rather than create a new law that would permit residents to carry concealed when licensed. The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce, and Government Operations passed SB-93 on May 25, and it is available to the full Senate for scheduling.
School Choice. 2011 Assembly Bill 94, making changes to the Milwaukee Schools Parental Choice private schools voucher program, passed the Assembly on May 10. A public hearing was held by the Senate Committee on Education on May 25.
UW Regents. 2011 Senate Bill 28, which requires the appointment of at least one citizen member from each congressional district to the UW Board of Regents, passed the Senate on May 17.
Synthetic Drugs. 2011 Senate Bill 54, which adds several non-narcotic, hallucinogenic substances, known as synthetic drugs, to Schedule I controlled substances, passed the Senate on May 17.
Deer Hunting. 2011 Senate Bill 75, which prohibits the Department of Natural Resources from establishing certain restrictions, such as the “Earn a Buck” rule, on hunting antlered deer and regulating the establishment of fall open seasons for hunting deer with firearms, passed the Senate on May 17.
Veterans Affairs Governance. 2011 Assembly Bill 96, which alters the membership of the Board of Veterans Affairs, and provides for the appointment of the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs by the governor instead of the board, was debated in the Assembly on May 17, but a final vote was delayed.
Traffic Stops. 2011 Senate Bill 15, which repeals requirements for collection and analysis for motor vehicle traffic stop information (“racial profiling” ), passed the Senate on February 23. Debate on the bill occurred in the Assembly on May 17, but a final vote was delayed.
Early Release. 2011 Senate Bill 57, which generally repeals early release from incarceration provisions enacted in 2009 Wisconsin Act 28, passed the Senate on May 11. Debate on the bill occurred in the Assembly on May 17, but a final vote was delayed.
Transportation Segregated Funds. 2011 Senate Joint Resolution 23, a constitutional amendment (first consideration) to constitutionally create a Department of Transportation, a transportation fund, and regulate the use of monies deposited into the fund, passed both the Senate and Assembly on May 17. To take effect, it must be passed in identical form by the 2013 Legislature and be ratified in a statewide referendum.
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.
The Legislative Reference Bureau has compiled documents related to the creation of the executive budget here.
The Joint Committee on Finance adjourned on Friday, June 3, after holding a series of executive sessions regarding the proposed budgets for various agencies and programs.
One seat in the Assembly, District 48, remains vacant. Governor Walker has issued Executive Order 31, setting a special election for August 9, with a primary to be held on July 12 if necessary. The District 48 seat was vacated when Democrat Joe Parisi resigned to assume the post of elected Dane County Executive.
Voters in three Assembly districts went to the polls on May 3 to fill seats made vacant by Governor Walker's appointment of three former Republican legislators to executive branch positions. Republican candidates won in two of the districts, and a Democratic candidate won the third seat. Sworn in and taking office on May 17 were:
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 the special legislative elections, see the Government Accountability Board.
As of May 31, the Government Accountability Board voted to certify recall petitions against six state senate Republicans: Robert Cowles, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, and Luther Olsen. Recall elections are scheduled for July 12. Petitions for recall of three state senate Democrats, Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch, are currently being reviewed for sufficiency by the GAB.
The GAB site also shows the recall committees that did not file the necessary signatures by their respective deadlines.
For more information on recall petitions and elections refer to the GAB.
Legislative committee activity is available on the Schedule of Committee Activities.
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.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 16, 2012