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 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.
Legislation to redraw state legislative and congressional lines has been enacted. 2011 Senate Bill 148 redraws the state senate and assembly district lines, Senate Bill 149 redraws boundaries of congressional districts, and Senate Bill 150 relates to dividing municipalities into wards and appointing panels to hear challenges to state and congressional redistricting. Governor Walker signed SB-150 on July 25, and it became 2011 Wisconsin Act 39. Governor Walker signed SB-148 and 149 as 2011 Wisconsin Acts 43 and 44 on August 9.
Maps in several formats related to these proposals can be found at the Legislative Redistricting Web page. For more information on the census data used to create the new districts, see our entry below.
On August 16, two incumbent Democratic Senators retained their seats in recall elections. Senator Jim Holperin defeated Kim Simac in the 12th Senate District and Senator Robert Wirch defeated Jonathan Steitz in the 22nd Senate District.
On August 9, two incumbent Republican Senators were defeated in recall elections. Senator Randy Hopper was defeated by Jessica King in the 18th Senate District. Senator Dan Kapanke was defeated by Jennifer Shilling in the 32nd Senate District. Incumbent senators won in each of the other four races:
On July 19, Senator Dave Hansen retained his seat in the 30th Senate District after defeating Republican challenger David Vanderleest.
After the Government Accountability Board certifies the recall election results, the partisan composition of the Senate will be 17 Republicans and 16 Democrats.
More information about recalls can be found in the LRB's Wisconsin Brief 11-5, "Recall of Elected Officials". Official information related to recalls and special elections can be found at the Government Accountability Board's Web site. Background information on these events can be found in the Spotlight archive.
On August 9, Chris Taylor was elected to the 48th Assembly District in a Special Election. The resulting partisan composition of the Assembly will be 59 Republicans, 39 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 1 vacancy.
Concealed Weapons. 2011 Wisconsin Act 35 allows Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons when licensed. The law takes effect November 1. The Wisconsin Department of Justice will be responsible for creating the permit procedure. More information on this law can be found in the Legislative Council's Information Memorandum "Carrying and Possessing Firearms in Wisconsin".
Appointment of Veterans Affairs Secretary. 2011 Wisconsin Act 36 changes the procedure for selecting the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to gubernatorial appointment, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Until now, the secretary had been appointed by the department's board. The governor will be required to consult with members of the board before making the appointment. The act also increases the number of board members from 7 to 9.
Earned Release. 2011 Wisconsin Act 38 repeals sentencing modification laws passed in the 2009-2010 legislative session, including the repeal of earned release programs that use “positive adjustment time,” “risk reduction sentences,” earned release within 12 months of the inmate’s eligible release date, and early release after serving two years of extended supervision.
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.
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 proposed Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed the House on May 21, 1919, and the Senate on June 4, 1919. On June 10, 1919, Wisconsin was the first state to ratify it. When Tennessee ratified it on August 20, 1920, becoming the 36th state to do so, it became a part of the Constitution. The library suggests the following titles from the collections to commemorate the event.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 19, 2012