|Wisconsin State Senate District 26|
|1963 - Present|
|January 2, 2017|
|Years in position||50|
|Senate President, Wisconsin State Senate|
|1979-1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2009-2011, 2012-2013|
|Minority Leader, Wisconsin State Senate|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 6, 2012|
|Next election||November 8, 2016|
|Assembly Member, Wisconsin State Assembly|
|Bachelor's||University of Oregon, 1950|
|Other||LLB, University of Oregon, 1952|
|Place of birth||Madison, WI|
Risser's professional experience is as an attorney and the United States Navy.
Risser attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Carleton College, Minnesota; he earned his BA from University of Oregon and LLB from University of Oregon. He and his wife, Nancy, have three children.
- Supports increased mass transit aids and downtown development in Madison
- Supports environmental programs such as park creation and recycling programs
- Supports competitive salaries and opposes excessive tuition increases at the University of Wisconsin
- Supports affirmative action
- Pro-choice regarding abortion
At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Risser served on the following committees:
|Wisconsin Committee Assignments, 2013|
|• Judiciary and Labor|
|• State and Federal Relations|
|• Joint Legislative Council|
At the beginning of the 2011 legislative session, Risser served on the following committees:
|Wisconsin Committee Assignments, 2011|
|• Administrative Rules|
|• Information Policy and Technology|
|• Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce and Government Operations|
|• Review of Administrative Rules|
At the beginning of the 2009 legislative session, Risser served on the following committees:
|Wisconsin Committee Assignments, 2009|
|• Ethics Reform and Government Operations, Chair|
|• Senate Organization|
|• Administrative Rules|
|• Legislative Organization, Co-Chair|
|• Employment Relations, Co-Chair|
|• Joint Legislative Council, Co-Chair|
Risser and the 13 other Democratic senators participated in a legislative walkout on February 17, 2011 in opposition to Assembly Bill 11 - a Republican-sponsored bill aimed at limiting collective bargaining rights, compensation and fringe benefits of public employees. The Democratic departure left the Senate one vote shy of a quorum. Reports confirmed the senators fled to a hotel in Rockford, Illinois. State police were dispatched by Governor Scott Walker (R) to retrieve the senators, but were unable to cross state lines.  The 14 state senators who left the state are being described as the "Badger 14" or "Fab 14."
On February 22, speaking from the basement of an Illinois hotel, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller provided the minority response to Gov. Scott Walker, saying, "The governor has the tools at his disposal to put this issue to an end. As soon as he is willing to take a compromise, we will go back to work in an instant." Miller stated that the legislators payed for the trip themselves, and that no taxpayer money was spent.Walker called on the Democratic senators to return to the state by March 1 in order to vote to restructure the state's debt. If they did not, he stated he may have to start cutting state jobs, saying:
It’s not just a number, it’s not just a budget, it’s ultimately a real person with a real family, so I’m going to push that back as far as I can. We’ve got to have real numbers to balance the budget to avoid layoffs. My hope is those 14 state senators … realize that in the end, it’s much better off to avoid those cuts, it’s much better off to avoid the most dire consequences that will come if we don’t pass this bill.The Democratic senators said they would not return until the governor was willing to compromise on the budget-repair bill.
Democrats threatened with arrest
Republicans passed a unanimous resolution on March 3 finding the missing legislators in contempt and threatening them with arrest. It gave them until 4 p.m. to return or the sergeant-at-arms was ordered to take "any and all necessary steps, with or without force, and with or without the assistance of law enforcement, by warrant or other legal process, as he may deem necessary in order to bring that senator to the Senate chambers."
The constitutionality of that resolution was unclear, however, as the Wisconsin Constitution only allows for the arrest of legislators while in session if they are suspected of committing a felony, treason, or breach of the peace. Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said the resolution was an "unreasonable abuse of police power."
Sen. Jon Erpenbach provided the Democratic response, stating, "All 14 of us remain in Illinois, very strong in our convictions. Issuing arrest warrants at 4 p.m. isn't going to solve the problem. This is a debate about protection of the middle class in Wisconsin; that is what the Republicans should be focusing on."
The move by Republicans came the day after they issued fines of $100 a day for not showing up at the Capitol, along with taking away parking spaces. The week before Republicans also passed a rule suspending direct-deposit of paychecks. Sen. Erpenbach found a way around this by granting power of attorney to two of his aides, giving them power to, among other things, pick up his paycheck. In the end Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald mailed the check to Erpenbaach.
On March 7, Democratic leader Sen. Mark Miller sent a letter to the governor and senate majority leader asking for a meeting near the Wisconsin-Illinois border to restart talks on the collective bargaining issue. Gov. Walker responded at a press conference, calling the letter "ridiculous," and saying that several meetings between the two sides have taken place, but that Miller has stood in the way of a compromise.
Sen. Chris Larson said, "Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table. That could be soon based on the growing public opposition to the bill and the recall efforts against Republicans."
On March 8, the Governor's office released an email exchange dated March 6 between Eric Schutt, Walker's deputy chief of staff, and Democratic Senators Cullen and Jauch. The exchange discusses possible compromises on the bill, including allowing unions to bargain for wages beyond inflation rates, permitting collective-bargaining on certain economic issues, allowing public workers to collectively bargain workplace safety issues, and limiting collective bargaining agreements to 2 years or less.
Republicans pass bill
In a surprise maneuver, Senate Republicans on March 9 passed controversial reforms to the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers. In a process that took just over two hours, Republicans passed the bill by a vote of 18-1, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R) casting the only no vote.
Republicans skirted the need for a quorum by removing the sections of the bill that had to do with appropriating funds. With these removed, the bill only needed to be passed by a simple majority -- rather than requiring a quorum of 20 senators. At 4 p.m. on March 9 a conference committee on the budget-repair bill was convened. Two hours later the committee met and advanced the new measure without debate. Immediately following that, the Senate met and passed the new version, also without debate. It was then sent to the Assembly.
The only Democrat present at the meeting, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D), attempted to stop the proceedings, stating that the committee was in violation of the state's open meeting law. According to the law, most public bodies are required to give 24 hours notice before a meeting. The two hours notice that the committee provided led Barca to declare, "Mr. Chairman, this is a violation of law! This is not just a rule — this is the law." Ignoring Barca, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) ordered the vote taken as shouts of protest rang from the galleries.
The bill was given a stay by Dane County Court Judge Maryann Sumi. On May 26, 2011, Sumi struck down the legislative actions leading to the bill eliminating public employee collective bargaining on the grounds that it violated the state's Open Meetings Law. The state Departments of Justice and Department of Administration appealed the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  On June 14 the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the district court decision, stating it "exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers...and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the act."
In the wake of events surrounding the bill, both Democratic and Republican senators were targeted by active recall campaigns. Recall sponsors filed signatures on petitions targeting 6 Republican state senators and 3 Democratic state senators. Challenges were filed in all 9 of those campaigns, and the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board approved the six campaigns against Republicans at meetings on May 23 and May 31, and approved the three campaigns against Democrats on June 8. Democrats held onto the 30th district seat on July 19. Republicans lost two seats in the August 9 recalls, but held onto four. Two incumbent Democrats successfully retained their seats on August 16.
Risser won re-election in the 2012 election for the Wisconsin State Senate, District 26 seat. He ran unopposed in the primary election on August 14, and he was also unopposed in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.
|Wisconsin State Senate, District 26, General Election, 2012|
|Democratic||Fred A. Risser Incumbent||98.9%||87,144|
- See also: Wisconsin State Senate elections, 2010
Risser's seat was not up for election in 2010.
Fred Risser raised $32,701 for his campaign.
|Wisconsin State Senate, District 26 (2008)|
|Fred Risser (D)||80,923|
- A bill prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving a school bus or other vehicle while transporting students
- A bill increasing the legislature's power in approving the expenditure of federal economic stimulus funds
- A bill creating a complete ban on smoking indoors or at a workplace
Campaign donor information is not yet available for this year.
In 2008, Risser collected $32,701 in donations. Labor interests were his largest donor group.
Listed below are the top four contributors to his campaign. 
|Wisconsin Federation of Teachers||$1,000|
|Wisconsin Realtors Association||$1,000|
|Wisconsin Education Association Council||$1,000|
|International Union of Painters & Allied Trades||$1,000|
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google News search for the term "Fred + Risser + Wisconsin + Senate"
- All stories may not be relevant to this legislator due to the nature of the search engine.
- The fearless Chris Taylor: Madison's state rep has quickly made a big impression - Isthmus
- State Senate approves bill to cut Milwaukee County Board budget - BizTimes.com (Milwaukee)
- Fred Risser, Jon Erpenbach, Mark Miller: Vouchers would hurt Madison schools - Wisconsin State Journal
- CWM Foundation seeks open dialogue with Wisconsin Historical Society - Baraboo News Republic
- Motorcycle group ABATE of Wisconsin wields power in motorcycle helmet debate - The Sheboygan Press
- Republican lawmakers defend judge limitation law - UW Badger Herald
- Democratic party chair to run for re-election - UW Badger Herald
- Wisconsin's Scott Walker to propose UW tuition freeze - Pioneer Press
- Veterinarians Would Be Required To Report Abuse Under New Law - Wisconsin Public Radio
- Voucher expansion could have local effects in Madison district - Wisconsin State Journal
<ref> tags exist, but no
<references/> tag was found
- Sen. Risser's Wisconsin State Legislature website
- Project Vote Smart legislative profile
- Project Vote Smart biographical profile
- Campaign contributions: 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008
- Fred Risser, Legislative information from State Surge
- ↑ Wisconsin Radio Network, "Senate leadership transferred to Democrats," July 17, 2012
- ↑ Project Vote Smart - Senator Risser
- ↑ Biography
- ↑ Legislative accomplishments
- ↑ Wisconsin.gov, ASSEMBLY BILL 11, accessed 17 Feb. 2011
- ↑ Green Bay Press Gazette, Wisconsin Democrats flee to Clock Tower Hotel in Rockford, Ill., to block anti-union bill, 17 Feb. 2011
- ↑ Bloomberg Businessweek, Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state, 17 Feb. 2011
- ↑ The Badger 14
- ↑ Fab 14 Facebook page
- ↑ WISN, "State Sen. Minority Leader Responds to Walker," February 22, 2010
- ↑ Christian Science Monitor, "Wisconsin governor to missing senators: Come back or I'll lay off 1,500," February 28, 2011
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Wall Street Journal, "Pressure Mounts on Absent Democrats in Wisconsin, Indiana," March 3, 2011
- ↑ Wisconsin State Journal, "Senate orders arrest of missing Democrats," March 3, 2011
- ↑ My Fox Chicago, "Wisconsin GOP Slaps Missing Dems With $100 Daily Fines," March 2, 2011
- ↑ Talking Points Memo, "AWOL Wisconsin Dem Beats The System, Gets His Paycheck Mailed To Him," March 3, 2011
- ↑ New York Times, "Wisconsin Democrats Urge New Talks on Labor Bill," March 7, 2011
- ↑ CNN, "Wisconsin gov: Democratic senator's border meeting idea 'ridiculous'," March 7, 2011
- ↑ Talking Points Memo, "Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return," March 6, 2011
- ↑ CNN, "E-mails: Wisconsin governor offers concessions on budget bill," March 8, 2011
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Miami-Herald, "Wisconsin Republicans bypass Democrats on union bill," March 9, 2011
- ↑ Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Senate advances collective bargaining changes; Democrats to return after Assembly vote," March 9, 2011
- ↑ Wisconsin State Journal, "Judge strikes down Walker's collective bargaining law, case moves to state Supreme Court", May 26, 2011
- ↑ Wisconsin Reporter, "Judge: Collective bargaining bill violated open meetings law", May 26, 2011
- ↑ Shorewood Patch, "UPDATE: Unions Sue to Block Supreme Court's Reinstatement of Controversial Budget Repair Bill," June 14, 2011
- ↑ Wisconsin Government Accountability Board "2012 Candidate List
- ↑ Wisconsin State Election Results, 2008
- ↑ Follow the Money 2008
- ↑ Legislation
- ↑ Fred Risser on State Surge
- ↑ Bill 91
- ↑ Bill 50
- ↑ Bill 181
- ↑ 2008 contributors to Fred Risser
|Wisconsin State Senate District 26
| Succeeded by|