Vol. 79, No. 6, June 2006
Keeping You Informed
State Bar staff and volunteers are busy analyzing bills that the Wisconsin Legislature passed to quickly get you the best information for use in your practice.
George C. Brown,
State Bar executive director
With the banging of the gavel in the Senate at 9:19 p.m. on May 19, the Wisconsin Legislature adjourned for the 2005-06 legislative session. Barring Gov. Doyle calling a special session or the Senate and Assembly calling themselves into another extraordinary session, the bulk of the legislative work is now complete until the 2007-08 session convenes in January 2007.
In the last few weeks of the session, the Legislature passed 130 bills out of the total of 526 bills passed this session. Several of those were bills in which the State Bar or its sections took a position or were involved in advocacy. These included a complete repeal and recreation of the guardianship and adult protective services statutes (chapters 880 and 55), which had been a project of the Elder Law Section for most of the last 10 years, and major revisions to the business laws of the state, especially chapter 180.
In total, the State Bar took positions of support or opposition on 128 of the 1,955 bills introduced this last session. The vast majority of these positions were taken by our various sections.
While the state Legislature may be almost done with its work, the work of State Bar staff and volunteers to get the information to you in a useful fashion is just beginning. The Public Affairs Department is busy briefing staff on the latest legislation and informing its grassroots members and section and State Bar leaders about the fate of specific pieces of legislation. In the CLE Department, seminar attorneys are working with volunteer attorneys to determine which legislation will have the greatest impact on you in your practice as they design CLE programs for the coming months. Likewise, attorney editors in the books division are researching the recently passed legislation to provide it to supplement authors for analysis and inclusion in forthcoming supplements and revisions. In some cases, already completed manuscripts will have to be revised in light of the recently passed laws before the work is printed and provided to you.
In the Communications Department, editors are working with volunteer authors to revise the consumer information pamphlets that many of you provide to your clients and are talking to potential authors about upcoming Wisconsin Lawyer articles. Section newsletter editors also are working with authors to develop articles analyzing legislation especially important to section members. Finally, all of this information and knowledge is evaluated to determine what will be placed on the WisBar Web site and when.
While all of these actions take place regularly throughout the legislative cycle, the passage of 130 bills in the final weeks of the session greatly intensifies this effort so that you will have the best information for use in your practice as soon as possible.