The 2015/2017 Wisconsin Legislature

January 5, 2015, marked the beginning of a new session of the Wisconsin Legislature. Each session of the legislature lasts 2 years, from January-January of each odd-numbered year (for example, the 2013/2015 session lasted from January 7, 2013, to January 4, 2015).

At the beginning of each session, the legislature passes a joint resolution laying out the schedule for the new session. 2015 Senate Joint Resolution 1 was adopted on January 5, 2015, and is available from the Wisconsin Legislature’s Legislative Document site.

The service agencies of the Wisconsin Legislature publish a multitude of documents each new legislative session, covering topics from membership of the new legislature to how the budget process works. Below are links to some of those publications specifically dealing with the new session and the budget process.

Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB)

Wisconsin State Officers, November 2014 (Wisconsin Brief 14-15): “This brief lists constitutional officers, members of the U.S. Congress, supreme court justices, and members of the Wisconsin Legislature, as of January 5, 2015. An alphabetical listing of all state officers is included.”

Salaries of State Elected Officials, Effective January 2015, November 2014 (Wisconsin Brief 14-14)

The Legislative Process in Wisconsin, December 2014 (Research Bulletin 14-2): Provides an in-depth look at the legislative process in Wisconsin.

The Legislative Spotlight is updated weekly and provides an overview of the legislature’s activities. An archive of posts is available back to 1997.

The LRB also maintains a presence on Facebook (you may need to login to read all the posts) and Twitter, or you can check their website for more publications.

Legislative Council

2015-16 Wisconsin Legislator Briefing Book: Provides background on policy areas, the budget process, legislative service agencies, and other information on Wisconsin government.

A Citizen’s Guide to the Wisconsin Legislature: Provides information to Wisconsin citizens about how to participate in government, including how to contact your legislator and how to testify at a hearing.

These are only a small sample of the publications put out by the Legislative Council. In addition, the council publishes informational memorandums on topics before the legislature, as well as reports from study committees and other special publications. See the Legislative Council website for more publications.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB)

Budget Papers: Throughout the budget process, the LFB publishes papers with information ranging from the fiscal impact of specific provisions of the budget to comparisons of various versions of the budget bill. Check back frequently for new publications.

Informational Papers: In January of each odd-numbered year, the LFB publishes a set of about 100 informational papers on a range of topics having to do with state finance. Past titles include The State Budget Process and the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Program. Many of the papers are updates from previous sessions, allowing a comparison of programs over time. The 2015 Informational Papers should be available within the next few weeks.

Check the LFB’s website for other publications and memos.

Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB)

While the audit bureau does not publish information dealing specifically with the new legislative session or the budget, they do publish audit reports on various programs and agencies, as required by statute or requested by the legislature. Their audits are available in full text on their website back to 1998, with summaries available online for 1997 reports.

Legislature Website Redesign

If you follow the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau on Twitter (@WILRB), you may already know that the Wisconsin Legislature Website has been completely redesigned. The Documents database is now found under the heading “Law and Legislation.” It does not look like there have been any major content changes, however. If you see something I missed that has changed, mention it in the comments!