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  • Quality of Life Alliance

Tentative Timeline For Legislative Action in Wisconsin 2011

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on December 23, 2010

We’ve developed this timeline based on legislative tradition over the last two decades, although it may be somewhat different this year. Nevertheless, the timeline may be helpful to understand what’s next at the Capitol and with the upcoming state budget cycle. Please note that the date for the annual AFSCME “Lobby Day” has not yet been determined, but is likely to be sometime this winter/spring.


Jan. 3, 2011: Inauguration Day at the Capitol for both Gov.-elect Walker and the incoming Legislature.


Early January, 2011: Governor Walker is expected to call Legislature into Special Session on regulatory reform, eliminating the state tax on health savings accounts (HSAs), reforming the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, cutting taxes on small business (per Gov.-elect Walker press releases).


Third week of January, 2011:  Governor will deliver his “State of the State” speech to a joint session of the Legislature.


Mid-February, 2011: Governor Walker will unveil his 2011-2013 two year state budget proposal.


Early March, 2011:  the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau will publish a document summarizing  Gov. Walker’s budget proposal.


Late March, 2011: The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will likely hold hearings on the budget.  In the past, there have been five or six hearings – one in the state Capitol, and four or five in select cities around the state.


April – May and possibly into June: the 16-member Joint Committee on Finance will vote on the budget, usually agency by agency.  The committee will vote on the budget via specific budget papers prepared by staff at the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, as well as budget amendments (drafted as motions) offered by committee members.


The Legislative Budget Review Process, in Brief:

After the Joint Finance Committee finishes its deliberations on the budget, the committee’s revised budget product will be sent first to the state Senate, which will take the opportunity to review the budget as modified by Joint Finance, and tweak it as the Senate sees fit. The Senate will send the budget as amended to the full state Assembly, which will review work done by the Joint Finance Committee and the Senate, and add its own Assembly flavor to the mix.


After review by both houses of the Legislature, any differences will have to be reconciled by a Conference Committee made up of legislators from both houses and both parties. The final agreed-upon budget product will be sent back to both houses for a final up or down vote, and then will be sent to the Governor, who will sign the budget into law.  It is likely that the Governor will exercise his veto authority in some way, as has been the practice for decades.


The budget is “due” on June 30, 2011, which is the end of the 2011 fiscal year and the 2009-2011 budget cycle.  A new fiscal year begins July 1, 2011.  Gubernatorial veto decisions are issued in August or sooner.


For more information contact the AFSCME lobbyists at 608-836-6666 or go to


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