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 Legislature will reconvene in Extraordinary Session on July 19 to consider redistricting bills among other items. Following the Extraordinary Session, 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. The Secretary of State published the act on June 30.
On July 5, Governor Walker signed 2011 Senate Bill 81 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 34. Effective December 31, 2015, the act expands eligibility for the state’s 2015 renewable energy mandate to include large hydroelectric facilities placed in service on or after December 31, 2010. The proposal passed the Senate on May 17 and the Assembly on June 8.
On July 5, Governor Walker signed 2011 Senate Bill 41 into law as 2011 Wisconsin Act 33. The act prohibits contracts that hold truckers liable for negligence of shippers and nullifies such provisions in existing contracts.
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. Governor Walker is scheduled to sign the bill on July 8 in Rothschild.
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.
Redistricting. 2011 Assembly Bill 198, introduced on July 7 and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and State Affairs, shifts responsibility for drawing redistricting plans to the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) and Government Accountability Board (GAB). Under the bill, the LRB and GAB must jointly deliver identical bills to the Assembly and Senate that embody a legislative and congressional districting plan no later than January 1 of the second year following the decennial federal census.
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 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. 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.
On Friday, July 8, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on the final space shuttle mission, thus ending a 30-year era in American space exploration. As we look ahead to the future of America’s exploration of space, the LRB Library recommends the following title from our collection:
Wisconsin at the Frontiers of Astronomy: A History of Innovation and Exploration / by James Lattis & Peter Susalla. Graphic design by Kathleen Sitter. This title is the Feature Article from the 2009-2010 Wisconsin Blue Book.
In addition, the library has compiled a list of resources about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education. For more lists of noteworthy titles in the collection, see the library home page.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 16, 2012