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 most recent legislative floorperiod ended on June 30. The next scheduled floorperiod begins on September 13, 2011, though the January special session is ongoing and special session bills may be taken up in the interim.
On June 14, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no bar to publication of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, which had been placed under injunction by Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi on May 26. Secretary of State Douglas La Follette published the act on June 28, and it took effect on June 29.
2011 Assembly Bill 40, the biennial budget bill, passed the Assembly 60-38 on June 14. The Senate passed AB-40, 19-14 on June 16. Governor Walker signed the budget into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 32 on June 26 in Ashwaubenon. The governor made various vetoes to the bill, which are discussed in his veto message.
On June 23, Governor Walker signed 2011 Senate Bill 15 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 29. The act repeals requirements for collection and analysis of motor vehicle traffic stop information (“racial profiling”). The proposal passed the Senate on February 23, and the Assembly on June 8.
On June 27, Governor Walker signed 2011 Senate Bill 54 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 31. The act criminalizes the manufacture, distribution, delivery or possession of various substances known as “synthetic cannabinoids,” which are chemically similar to THC, the intoxicating substance in marijuana.
2011 Senate Bill 93 would allow Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons when licensed. SB-93 passed the Senate on June 14 and passed the Assembly June 21. The governor has announced he intends to sign the measure sometime during the week of July 4.
2011 Senate Bill 57, which generally repeals early release from incarceration provisions enacted in 2009 Wisconsin Act 28, passed the Senate on May 11, passed the Assembly on June 8, and was enrolled on June 15.
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.
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.
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, and was received by the Assembly and referred to its Committee on Natural Resources on the same day.
Presidential Primary. 2011 Assembly Bill 162, which would move the date of Wisconsin’s primary elections from the third Tuesday in February to the first Tuesday in April during years in which the president and vice-president are elected, was introduced on May 27. After a public hearing on June 2, the Assembly committee on Election and Campaign Finance Reform has offered Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 to the bill.
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.
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.
For more information on the special legislative elections, see the Government Accountability Board.
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) has ordered recall elections for nine State Senate districts. Six Republicans: Robert Cowles, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, and Luther Olsen, and three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch, will face recall elections on July 12 and July 19. If a Senator is opposed by more than one candidate then primary elections will be held on the July dates and general recall elections will be held on August 9 and August 16.
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.
The Declaration of Independence was adopted 235 years ago on the 4th of July. The Library recommends the following titles on the American Revolution from the circulating collection.
The library has many more titles from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Check our catalog, or come over and browse our shelves to see what we have.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 16, 2012