Government Relations

Government Relations - University of Wisconsin System

  1. Introduction to the First Committee
  2. Each bill is drafted by the Legislative Reference Bureau and introduced in the first house (either the Assembly or the Senate). A bill is introduced by one or more authors (members of the house where the bill is first introduced) and may have cosponsors (members of the other house). Every bill that affects the state or general local government revenues must be analyzed and an estimate of the fiscal effects, both for the short and long run, is included. Additionally, the Legislative Reference Bureau provides an analysis of the bill in clear language and how it will change an existing law.

  3. Public Hearing
  4. After a bill is read for the first time, a committee hearing may be scheduled. All committee hearings are open to the public and anyone can speak for or against a particular bill. Individuals may also register as for or against, or submit their comments in writing.

  5. First Committee Vote
  6. The committee to which the bill is first referred must decide whether to report the proposed bill as it was introduced, to recommend amendments to the bill, or to reject it.

  7. Full First House Vote
  8. The second reading of a bill is the state at which amendments are considered. After amendments have been proposed and debated, a third reading of the bill is done. After this reading, a full house vote is taken on whether to pass the bill to the second house.

  9. Possible Joint Finance Committee Review
  10. If a bill appropriates money, provides for revenue, or relates to taxes, it must be referred to the Joint Committee on Finance before it can be enacted into law.

  11. Introduction to the Second Committee
  12. If the first house votes to send the proposed bill to the second house, the bill goes through a similar procedure in the second house. One exception is that the bill may be added to the schedule of debates without being referred to a standing committee first.

  13. Public Hearing
  14. Another hearing may be scheduled to allow the public to communicate their support or opposition to the bill.

  15. Second Committee Vote
  16. Full Second House Vote
  17. If the second house adds amendments to the bill, they must be voted on in the first house. The bill is sent back and a conference committee is formed in order to draft a compromise version of the bill. The Legislative Reference Bureau enrolls the bill after both houses agree on the exact wording.

  18. Sent to Governor
  19. Each enrolled bill is forwarded to the governor when the governor calls for them. The governor has six days (excluding Sunday) to act on the bill. The governor may sign the bill into law, veto it in part or whole, or fail to sign it within six days, in which case it becomes law without the governor’s signature.

Source: Wisconsin Blue Book, 1999-2000

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