Wisconsin State Assembly
|Wisconsin State Assembly|
|2014 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)|
| Democratic Party (38) |
Republican Party (60)
|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|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Assemblymen
- 6 Assembly standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
As of November 2014, 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.
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.
- 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.
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. 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.
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. 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
Ethics and transparency
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 is 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.
- See also: Wisconsin State Assembly elections, 2012
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.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Wisconsin State Assembly|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 72||Scott Krug||0.4%||28,185||Justin Pluess|
|District 70||Amy Vruwink||0.5%||26,936||Nancy VanderMeer|
|District 93||Warren Petryk||1.6%||30,742||Jeff Smith|
|District 75||Stephen Smith||2.2%||28,334||Roger Rivard|
|District 1||Garey Bies||2.6%||33,146||Patrick Veeser|
|District 26||Michael Endsley||2.6%||29,294||Mike Helmke|
|District 85||Mandy Wright||3.2%||28,026||Patrick Snyder|
|District 50||Ed Brooks||3.5%||25,533||Sarah Shanahan|
|District 51||Howard Marklein||3.8%||27,539||Maureen May-Grimm|
|District 88||John Klenke||4.9%||27,566||Ward Bacon|
- 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: 
|2010 Donors, Wisconsin State Assembly|
|Wisconsin Republican Party||$43,734|
|Simonson, John Christian||$41,196|
|Wisconsin Education Association Council||$36,250|
|Wisconsin Dental Association||$29,789|
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."
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the Assembly, the vacant seat must be filled by a special election. 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. Also, all vacancies must be filled quickly as long the vacancy happened before the second Tuesday in May during an election year.
- 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.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin's population increased from 5.36 million to 5.69 million between 2000 and 2010. This population growth was large enough to allow the state to retain its eight Congressional seats.
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. 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. The state Republicans unveiled their plan on July 8, 2011. Democrats criticized the plan as gerrymandering, but Republicans defended their map. The maps passed the legislature on July 19, 2011, and signed into law by Governor Walker on August 9, 2011.
Several lawsuits were filed as a result of the new maps. 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.
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
|Party||As of November 2014|
The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1992-2013.
- 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.
When sworn in
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.
Assembly standing committees
The Wisconsin Assembly has the following standing committees:
- Administrative Rules
- Aging and Long-Term Care
- Assembly Organization
- Campaigns and Elections
- Children and Families
- Colleges and Universities
- Constitution and Ethics
- Consumer Protection
- Criminal Justice
- Employment Relations
- Energy and Utilities
- Environment and Forestry
- Family Law
- Financial Institutions
- Government Operations and State Licensing
- Housing and Real Estate
- International Trade and Commerce
- Jobs, Economy and Mining
- Mental Health
- Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
- Public Safety and Homeland Security
- Rural Affairs
- Small Business Development
- State Affairs
- State and Federal Relations
- State and Local Finance
- Urban and Local Affairs
- Urban Education
- Ways and Means
- Workforce Development
Partisan balance 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.
- Official website of the Wisconsin State Assembly
- Official list of the members of the Wisconsin State Assembly
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- "Wisconsin Assembly" FAQ's, March 4, 2009
- Wisconsin State Journal, "With state bitterly divided, Walker promises more moderate agenda," January 7, 2013
- Governor Journal, "Recalls Make for Quiet Session," January 16, 2012
- Appleton Post Crescent, "Wisconsin legislative agenda influenced by negative effects of recalls," January 16, 2012
- Wisconsin.gov, State of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, accessed 7 March 2011
- 2010 session dates for Wisconsin legislature
- Explanation of Wisconsin legislative floor-periods
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Wisconsin Assembly 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Election Law"(Referenced Statute 17.19 (1), Wisconsin Statutes)
- Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Election Law"(Referenced Statute 8.50, Wisconsin Statutes)
- Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Election Law"(Referenced Statute 8.50(4)-(d), Wisconsin Statutes)
- Wisconsin Legislature "Wisconsin Redistricting Profile"
- U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Wisconsin Profile," 2011
- Northland's News Center "Minnesota and Wisconsin Both to Keep Eight Seats in House", December 21, 2010
- Chicago Tribune "Democrats cry foul over GOP hiring law firms" 5 Jan. 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker allows new legislative mapping, doesn't OK actual maps yet," July 25, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Parties joust over Wisconsin redistricting plan," July 13, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker signs legislation to redraw district boundaries," August 9, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's redistricting trial goes to judges," February 24, 2012
- Wisconsin State Journal, "Court strikes down GOP redistricting, orders just 2 districts redrawn," March 22, 2012
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Rules of the Wisconsin Assembly - Duties of the Speaker
- Wisconsin Assembly Leadership
State of Wisconsin
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