Difference between revisions of "Wisconsin State Assembly"

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In 2010, the Assembly convened its [[Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions| legislative session]] on January 19, and it ended its last scheduled floor-period on April 22.  <ref>[http://www.legis.state.wi.us/leginfo/session.htm 2010 session dates for Wisconsin legislature]</ref><ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=18630 Explanation of Wisconsin legislative floor-periods]</ref>
In 2010, the Assembly convened its [[Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions| legislative session]] on January 19, and it ended its last scheduled floor-period on April 22.  <ref>[http://www.legis.state.wi.us/leginfo/session.htm 2010 session dates for Wisconsin legislature]</ref><ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=18630 Explanation of Wisconsin legislative floor-periods]</ref>
==Ethics and transparency==
{{Transparency card|State=Wisconsin|Grade=D}}
{{Transparency card|State=Wisconsin|Grade=D}}

Revision as of 22:24, 8 July 2013

Wisconsin State Assembly

Seal of Wisconsin.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Lower house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 7, 2013
Website:   Official House Page
House Speaker:  Robin J. Vos, (R)
Majority Leader:   Scott Suder, (R)
Minority Leader:   Peter Barca, (D)
Members:  99
   Democratic Party (36)
Republican Party (63)
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Art IV, Wisconsin Constitution
Salary:   $49,943/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (99 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (99 seats)
Redistricting:  Wisconsin Legislature has control
Meeting place:
Wisconsin Assembly.jpg
The Wisconsin State Assembly is the lower house of the Wisconsin State Legislature, the state legislature of Wisconsin. 99 members serve in the State House of Representatives and all members are up for election every two years. Each member represents an average of 57,444 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented approximately 54,178 residents.[2] The Wisconsin State Assembly operates in a biennial session that lasts from early January of the odd numbered year to early January of the odd numbered year two years later. The session is referred to by the odd-numbered year, for example, acts from the 2001-2002 Legislative Session are called 2001 Wisconsin Acts. During the session, business is conducted during scheduled floorperiods. [3]

As of May 2015, Wisconsin is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.


Article IV of the Wisconsin Constitution contains provisions related to the meeting of the Wisconsin State Legislature, of which the Assembly is a part. Section 11 of Article IV states that the times for regular sessions are to be provided by law. Section 11 also states that the Governor of Wisconsin has the power to call the Legislature into special session.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 7 through a date to be determined.

Major issues

Following the extreme polarization of the last two years, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said he would push for a more moderate agenda in 2013. Alongside the creation of a new budget, main issues will include job creation, workforce development, tax cuts, education reform and transportation infrastructure.[4]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Assembly was in session from January 10 through March 16 with a return for limited business on April 24.

Major issues

With potential recalls of Governor Scott Walker (R), Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R) and four Republican state senators, debate on major legislation was expected to be limited.[5] Going into the session, Republican leaders said they were focused on passing bills on only four main issues - clearing the way for on ore mine in northern Wisconsin, easing laws regarding development on wetlands, environmental regulation, and creating a venture capital fund to help start-up businesses.[6]

The six recalls dominated the session. Ultimately on June 5, recalls against the Governor, Lt. Governor, and three of the state senators were unsuccessful. The fourth recall, that against Van Wanggaard, went to a recount. Wanggaard was defeated, giving Democrats control of the Senate.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Assembly convened a special session at the request of Governor Scott Walker on January 4, 2011. The special session was called to consider legislation regarding tax credits, tort law, medical savings accounts, other legislation relating to taxation, and the budget repair bill.[7] The regular session began on January 11. Two extraordinary sessions were called by the Legislature in 2011. The first was held from June 13-30 followed by a second extraordinary session from July 19-29.


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Assembly convened its legislative session on January 19, and it ended its last scheduled floor-period on April 22. [8][9]

Ethics and transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Wisconsin was given a grade of D in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[10]



See also: Wisconsin State Assembly elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Wisconsin State Assembly were held in Wisconsin on November 6, 2012. All 99 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was July 10, 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Wisconsin State Assembly elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Wisconsin's State Assembly were held in Wisconsin on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was July 13, 2010. The primary election day was September 14, 2010. Out of the 99 districts up for re-election, incumbents ran in 80 of them.

In 2010, the candidates for state assembly raised a total of $7,619,470 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [11]


Section 6 of Article 4 of the Wisconsin Constitution states, "No person shall be eligible to the legislature who shall not have resided one year within the state, and be a qualified elector in the district which he may be chosen to represent."


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the Assembly, the vacant seat must be filled by a special election[12]. The Governor can call for an election when allowed under law. The election cannot be held after February 1st before a spring general election unless it's held on the same day of the election which is first Tuesday in April. The same requirement applies to any election after September 1st preceding the fall general election unless it's held on the same day of the election which is the first Tuesday in November[13]. Also, all vacancies must be filled quickly as long the vacancy happened before the second Tuesday in May during an election year[14].


See also: Redistricting in Wisconsin

Redistricting in Wisconsin is under the control of the state legislature. If the state legislature fails to reach an agreement, the maps are drawn by either state or federal courts. The State Senate and State Assembly draft maps for the new state legislative districts and the U.S. Congressional districts. Both chambers must pass the new map, and the governor can sign or veto the map for any reason.[15]


According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin's population increased from 5.36 million to 5.69 million between 2000 and 2010.[16] This population growth was large enough to allow the state to retain its eight Congressional seats.[17]

Republicans held the majority in the State Senate, State Assembly, and the governorship after the 2010 elections. As a result, the redistricting process was completely under the control of one party.

The Republican leadership dismissed the Democratic-hired firm that was going to aid with redistricting and instead brought in an outside group to aid the process. This new firm's leader had donated to Republican candidates in the past.[18] The redistricting process was accelerated by the summer 2011 recall elections, and Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that gave the legislature the power to redistrict state boundaries before the localities finished their redistricting processes.[19] The state Republicans unveiled their plan on July 8, 2011. Democrats criticized the plan as gerrymandering, but Republicans defended their map.[20] The maps passed the legislature on July 19, 2011, and signed into law by Governor Walker on August 9, 2011.[21]

Several lawsuits were filed as a result of the new maps.[22] The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board identified errors in the maps, likely due to the creation of the state boundaries before the localities finished drawing their boundaries. A court also determined that two Milwaukee-area districts needed to be redrawn to better represent minority-area populations.[23]


Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state houses
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 36
     Republican Party 63
Total 99

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of the Wisconsin State House.PNG


Mural in the Wisconsin State Assembly chambers. Stuffed eagle "Old Abe" is halfway between the flags
See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Wisconsin Legislature are paid $49,943/year. Legislators receive a maximum of $88/day per diem, set by the compensation commission. Based on the maximum, the leadership of each house determines what amount to authorize for each session.[24]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Wisconsin legislators assume office the first Monday in January following the election.


The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body and is elected by its membership. Duties of the speaker include appointing members to legislative committees, authenticating acts, orders, and proceedings of the Assembly, and supervising all other officers of the Assembly. In the absence of the Speaker, the Speaker Pro Tempore assumes all duties of the position.[25][26]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Wisconsin State Assembly
Office Representative Party
State Speaker of the Assembly Robin J. Vos Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Kramer Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Jim Steineke Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Majority Caucus Chair Joan Ballweg Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Majority Caucus Vice Chair John Murtha Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Majority Caucus Secretary Mary Williams Ends.png Republican
State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Assistant Minority Leader Sandy Pasch Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Minority Caucus Chair Andy Jorgensen Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Minority Caucus Vice Chair JoCasta Zamarripa Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Minority Caucus Secretary Janis Ringhand Electiondot.png Democratic

Current members

Current members, Wisconsin State Senate
District Representative Party Assumed office
1 Garey Bies Ends.png Republican 2001
2 Andre Jacque Ends.png Republican 2011
3 Alvin R. Ott Ends.png Republican 1987
4 Chad Weininger Ends.png Republican 2011
5 Jim Steineke Ends.png Republican 2011
6 Gary Tauchen Ends.png Republican 2007
7 Daniel Riemer Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
8 JoCasta Zamarripa Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
9 Josh Zepnick Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
10 Sandy Pasch Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
11 Mandela Barnes Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
12 Frederick P. Kessler Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
13 Rob Hutton Ends.png Republican 2013
14 Dale Kooyenga Ends.png Republican 2011
15 Joe Sanfelippo Ends.png Republican 2013
16 Leon D. Young Electiondot.png Democratic 1993
17 LaTonya Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
18 Evan Goyke Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
19 Jon Richards Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
20 Christine Sinicki Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
21 Mark Honadel Ends.png Republican 2003
22 Don Pridemore Ends.png Republican 2005
23 Jim Ott Ends.png Republican 2007
24 Daniel Knodl Ends.png Republican 2009
25 Paul Tittl Ends.png Republican 2013
26 Mike Endsley Ends.png Republican 2011
27 Steve Kestell Ends.png Republican 1999
28 Erik Severson Ends.png Republican 2011
29 John Murtha Ends.png Republican 2007
30 Dean Knudson Ends.png Republican 2011
31 Amy Loudenbeck Ends.png Republican 2011
32 Tyler August Ends.png Republican 2011
33 Stephen Nass Ends.png Republican 1991
34 Rob Swearingen Ends.png Republican 2013
35 Mary Czaja Ends.png Republican 2013
36 Jeffrey Mursau Ends.png Republican 2005
37 John Jagler Ends.png Republican 2013
38 Joel Kleefisch Ends.png Republican 2005
39 Mark Born Ends.png Republican 2013
40 Kevin Petersen Ends.png Republican 2007
41 Joan Ballweg Ends.png Republican 2011
42 Keith Ripp Ends.png Republican 2009
43 Andy Jorgensen Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
44 Debra Kolste Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
45 Janis Ringhand Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
46 Gary Hebl Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
47 Robb Kahl Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
48 Melissa Sargent Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
49 Travis Tranel Ends.png Republican 2011
50 Ed Brooks Ends.png Republican 2009
51 Howard Marklein Ends.png Republican 2011
52 Jeremy Thiesfeldt Ends.png Republican 2011
53 Michael Schraa Ends.png Republican 2013
54 Gordon Hintz Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
55 Dean Kaufert Ends.png Republican 1991
56 Dave Murphy Ends.png Republican 2013
57 Penny Bernard Schaber Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
58 Pat Strachota Ends.png Republican 2005
59 Daniel R. LeMahieu Ends.png Republican 2003
60 Duey Stroebel Ends.png Republican 2011
61 Samantha Kerkman Ends.png Republican 2001
62 Tom Weatherston Ends.png Republican 2013
63 Robin Vos Ends.png Republican 2005
64 Peter Barca Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
65 Tod Ohnstad Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
66 Cory Mason Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
67 Tom Larson Ends.png Republican 2011
68 Kathy Bernier Ends.png Republican 2011
69 Scott Suder Ends.png Republican 1999
70 Amy Vruwink Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
71 Katrina Shankland Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
72 Scott Krug Ends.png Republican 2011
73 Nick Milroy Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
74 Janet Bewley Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
75 Stephen Smith Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
76 Chris Taylor Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
77 Terese Berceau Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
78 Brett Hulsey Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
79 Dianne Hesselbein Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
80 Sondy Pope Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
81 Fred Clark Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
82 Jeffrey Stone Ends.png Republican 1999
83 Dave Craig Ends.png Republican 2011
84 Mike Kuglitsch Ends.png Republican 2011
85 Mandy Wright Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
86 John Spiros Ends.png Republican 2013
87 Mary Williams Ends.png Republican 2003
88 John Klenke Ends.png Republican 2011
89 John Nygren Ends.png Republican 2007
90 Eric Genrich Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
91 Dana Wachs Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
92 Chris Danou Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
93 Warren Petryk Ends.png Republican 2011
94 Steve Doyle Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
95 Jill Billings Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
96 Lee A. Nerison Ends.png Republican 2005
97 Bill Kramer Ends.png Republican 2007
98 Adam Neylon Ends.png Republican 2013
99 Chris Kapenga Ends.png Republican 2011

Assembly standing committees

The Wisconsin Assembly has the following standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Wisconsin
Partisan breakdown of the Wisconsin legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Wisconsin State House of Representatives for 5 years while the Republicans were the majority for 17 years. The final three years of the study depicted a shift in the Wisconsin House with all three years being Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Senate and the Wisconsin House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Wisconsin state government(1992-2013).PNG

External links


  1. Population in 2010 of the American states
  2. Population in 2010 of the American states
  3. "Wisconsin Assembly" FAQ's, March 4, 2009
  4. Wisconsin State Journal, "With state bitterly divided, Walker promises more moderate agenda," January 7, 2013
  5. Governor Journal, "Recalls Make for Quiet Session," January 16, 2012
  6. Appleton Post Crescent, "Wisconsin legislative agenda influenced by negative effects of recalls," January 16, 2012
  7. Wisconsin.gov, State of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, accessed 7 March 2011
  8. 2010 session dates for Wisconsin legislature
  9. Explanation of Wisconsin legislative floor-periods
  10. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  11. Follow the Money: "Wisconsin Assembly 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  12. Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Election Law"(Referenced Statute 17.19 (1), Wisconsin Statutes)
  13. Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Election Law"(Referenced Statute 8.50, Wisconsin Statutes)
  14. Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Election Law"(Referenced Statute 8.50(4)-(d), Wisconsin Statutes)
  15. Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Redistricting Profile"
  16. U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Wisconsin Profile," 2011
  17. Northland's News Center "Minnesota and Wisconsin Both to Keep Eight Seats in House", December 21, 2010
  18. Chicago Tribune "Democrats cry foul over GOP hiring law firms" 5 Jan. 2011
  19. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker allows new legislative mapping, doesn't OK actual maps yet," July 25, 2011
  20. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Parties joust over Wisconsin redistricting plan," July 13, 2011
  21. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker signs legislation to redraw district boundaries," August 9, 2011
  22. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's redistricting trial goes to judges," February 24, 2012
  23. Wisconsin State Journal, "Court strikes down GOP redistricting, orders just 2 districts redrawn," March 22, 2012
  24. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  25. Rules of the Wisconsin Assembly - Duties of the Speaker
  26. Wisconsin Assembly Leadership