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September 12, 2013

Watching the Legislative Process

The Wisconsin State Legislature begins a series of floorperiods September 17th.  Tracking legislation and staying informed on legislative activities is made easier with the use of several free websites. First and foremost, the State Legislature's website provides quick access to proposals.  Use the search box in the lower left side of the screen to search by proposal number:

This summary page of the proposed bill will provide an overview of the topic, a link to the full text bill, any amendments, memos from legislative service agencies, fiscal estimates and more.  This information is continually updated and citizens can follow the progression in the "history" list, with links to the Senate or Assembly Journal.  To stay informed on the progress of specific bills or committee activity, sign up for the legislature's Notification Service.  This free service provides daily updates via email. Each proposal overview also includes a link labelled "Government Accountability Board Information."  This link will take the user outside the legislature's website to the GAB's "Eye on Lobbying" page.  The direct link provides an immediate look at which entities are lobbying on this bill.

The Eye on Lobbying website is another resource we suggest for investigating the legislative process.  As indicated in the tabs at the top of the website, the focus is on "who" "what" and "how much."  Who is lobbying in Wisconsin?  What are they lobbying about?  How much time and money have they spent?

Finally, for a front row seat, visit the WisconsinEye website.  Here you can watch hearings and debates as they happen.  You can also delve into the video archive to see not only legislative activity but events from the administrative and judicial branches, as well as local government and community coverage. 

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