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 Wisconsin Legislature stands adjourned at the conclusion of the final general business floorperiod for the 2011-12 legislative session which began on March 6 and ended on March 15. Enrolled bills (those passed by both houses) not already called for by the governor will be sent on April 5 for gubernatorial action. A limited-business floorperiod is scheduled for April 24 through May 3.
A three-judge federal panel ruled on March 22 that two assembly districts in Milwaukee violate the federal Voting Rights Act and must be redrawn. The two districts on Milwaukee’s south side, Assembly Districts 8 and 9, which contain substantial Latino populations, must be quickly redrawn as the elections process leading to the November 6 general election is fast approaching. However, the panel ruled that the other 97 assembly districts, as set by 2011 Wisconsin Act 43, may not be changed. The ruling may be appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senator Pam Galloway has resigned from the Wisconsin Senate, citing family health issues. The resignation changed the partisan balance in the Senate to 16 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Her resignation does not cancel the upcoming recall election for the 29th Senate District.
On March 12, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess ruled that the photo identification requirements in 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 are unconstitutional "to the extent they serve as a condition for voting at the polls." The Wisconsin Constitution allows the government to exclude otherwise qualified electors from voting for only two reasons - that a person has been convicted of a felony and has not had civil rights restored, or that a person has been judged by a court to be incompetent. 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, the ruling stated, would create an additional exclusion for otherwise qualified electors who do not display identification that meets the particular requirements of the act. The ruling permanently enjoined the defendants "from any further implementation or enforcement of those provisions."
The March 12 ruling follows a temporary injunction on March 6, in which Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan enjoined several provisions of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, requiring photo identification in order to vote. Judge Flanagan ordered the Government Accountability Board to “cease immediately any effort to enforce or implement the photo identification requirements of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, pending trial of this case and further order of the court”. The GAB has produced a memorandum outlining which provisions of Act 23 are affected.
Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen has filed notices to appeal the two rulings.
Recall elections for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and four members of the Wisconsin Senate will probably be on May 8 and June 5, 2012, pending completion of Government Accountability Board (GAB) review of recall petitions. The May 8 election will be a primary if necessary for the particular office, with the general election on June 5. If no political party has more than one candidate qualifying for the ballot in a particular recall election, the May 8 election will be the general election date for that office. The GAB anticipates ordering the recall elections for those dates at its March 30 meeting.
The Legislature has RSS feeds for both recently introduced legislation and recent session activity. You can also view a listing of recently introduced bills. Our Facebook page also has links to recently introduced bills.
For details of upcoming committee meetings, see the Schedule of Committee Activities.
As of March 23, 153 acts have been signed into law during the 2011-12 legislative session. They can be found under the acts section of the Legislative Documents site.
With the end of the final general business floorperiod, a large number of bills will await action by the governor. They can be found under the enrolled bills section of the Legislative Documents site.
On January 3, Wisconsin’s Presidential Primary Selection Committee selected seven Republicans and one Democrat to appear as candidates in the Presidential Primary vote on April 3, 2012. The Republican candidates on the primary ballot will be Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. The Democratic candidate will be Barack Obama.
The Library recommends the following resources to learn more about redistricting and voting rights laws.
For more information about Legislative Service Agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: November 28, 2012