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November 14, 2013

Finding Pending Legislation in Wisconsin

Frequently news stories will discuss legislation currently pending in the Assembly or Senate without giving specific details - like a bill number or exact title. One of our favorite tools for tracking down legislation is the Legislative Reference Bureau Library's Subject Index to Legislation. The subject index can be found by going to the Legislature's website. Select the Documents link from the home page and look for the Bulletin of Proceedings Indices heading at the bottom of the page. Select the Subject Index to Legislation to search or browse for legislation that has been introduced in the Legislature but not yet become law.

In trying to find the "revenge porn" bill that recently passed the Assembly we can approach the subject index in a couple of ways.

Keyword search the index

Use the search box at the top of the page as a quick way to pull up legislation. "Revenge porn," "photos," or "photographs" didn't pull up the legislation directly. However, searching "photograph" turned up "Nudity or nude photograph" which directs to the "Obscenity" subject heading. The recent revenge porn legislation was listed under this topic.

Be sure that you are looking under the heading in the search results for the most recent legislative session!

Browse the index

To browse the index it can be useful to break down the bill's topic. What are the main parts of the bill? From news stories, we know that the revenge porn bill is intended to respond to cases where nude photos are distributed without the photo subject's consent.  In this case, looking under "P" for "photographs" yielded nothing. Checking under "N" for "nudity" directs to "Obscenity" where the pending legislation was found.

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