The Week of September 21, 2015
The Wisconsin Legislature's 2015-2016 legislative session began on January 5, 2015. The schedule of floorperiods is established by Senate Joint Resolution 1. The Senate held a floor session on Wednesday, September 16. The Assembly is expected to hold a floor session on September 24.
For daily updates on Wisconsin politics in the news, please see our Capitol Headlines page.
New Senate Assistant Majority Leader
Senator Leah Vukmir was elected assistant majority leader in the Senate on September 16. She replaces former Senator Paul Farrow, who resigned after his election as Waukesha County Executive.
Farrow's seat in the Senate was won by Chris Kapenga in a special election in July of this year. Senator Kapenga was formally sworn into the Senate on Wednesday.
Action in the Senate
Lambeau Field Tax Revenue
The Senate voted unanimously to approve 2015 Senate Bill 233, which would return excess revenue collected from the Lambeau Field Stadium District tax. The tax is scheduled to end on September 30; however, the Stadium District has already certified that is has paid off the bonds for the Lambeau Field renovations. The money will be distributed to Brown County and its municipalities. One amendment to the language was approved and one amendment was tabled. The bill will now go to the Assembly.
The Senate also approved 2015 Senate Bill 229, which would create exemptions for columbaria maintained by religious societies from current cemetery and mausoleum laws. Columbaria are structures used for housing cremated remains. Under current law, such structures with more than 10 niches for those remains, or those that offer at least one niche for sale to the public, must be located in a cemetery. The bill was approved on a voice vote with one amendment. The bill will now go to the Assembly.
Recently Introduced Proposals
Fetal Tissue Bill
On Friday, September 18, the Senate introduced 2015 Senate Bill 260, a companion bill to 2015 Assembly Bill 305, which would generally prohibit the sale and use of fetal body parts derived from an induced abortion. The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services will hold a public hearingon the bill on Tuesday, September 22. On September 9, the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety held an executive session on AB-305. The committee recommended, by a vote of 6-5, Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 to the bill, which would allow tissue acquired before January 1 of this year to be used in research. It recommended, by a vote of 7-4, passage of the bill as amended. Video of the executive session is available from WisconsinEye. The bill was introduced on August 7, and a public hearing on the bill was held on August 11. Submitted testimony is available from the Legislative Council's website. Archived video of the hearing is available at WisconsinEye.
A list of recently introduced proposals is available at the Legislature's 2015 documents site.
As of Friday, September 18, two Senate committees have scheduled public hearings for this week. In addition to SB-260, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services has also placed SB-237 and 238, related to family planning grants and Medical Assistance payments, on its September 22 schedule. Check the committee schedule for updated information throughout the week.
Special Election in September
Primary Results. Official canvass results show that Republican Cindi Duchow of Pewaukee won the special election primary on September 1 for the 99th Assembly District. A total of four Republicans were on the ballot. No Democrats have filed to run. The governor issued Executive Order #171declaring a special election in the 99th Assembly District, Senator Kapenga's former seat, to be held on Tuesday, September 29. More information is available at the Government Accountability Board's Web site.
Signed Into Law
As of Friday, September 18, the governor has signed 60 bills into law from the current session.
A list of enrolled bills that are ready to be sent to the governor is updated regularly.
Resources from the LRB Library
- The Annie E. Casey Foundation. 2015 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being. Washington, DC: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2015. (347.17 C26 2015)
- Chapman, Emily, et al. Communities at Risk: Frac Sand Mining in the Upper Midwest. Newton, MA: Civil Society Institute, 2014. (622.1 C36)
- Exstrom, Michelle. Today's Board Certification for Teachers: Answers to Legislators' Questions. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2015. (377.168 N21j)
- Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. Why the State of Wisconsin Forced Coca-Cola to Sell to Pepsi: An Explanation of the State's New Reforms to Milwaukee's Unused School Buildings Problem - and Why it was Necessary. Milwaukee, WI: Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, 2015. (371.3 W753)
- The Legislative Reference Bureau has published the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Blue Book. Information on obtaining a hard copy will be available soon.
For information about legislative service agency publications, see the left panel of the Spotlight index page.
Last revised: September 18, 2015