The following are definitions of the major terms used in joint rules 1
or traditionally used in deliberations on the floor and statutes governing legislative proceedings:
A bill that has passed both houses of the legislature, been enrolled, and been approved by the governor or passed over the governor's veto, or that becomes law without the signature of the governor, and published.
To conclude a legislative day's business [see also sub. (79)
Approval of a motion, amendment, substitute amendment, simple resolution, or joint resolution [see also subs. (16)
A suggested alteration in any proposal or amendment, often referred to as a simple amendment in distinction to a substitute amendment, which is intended to take the place of the proposal.
A member's challenge of a ruling on a point of order. To prevail, an appeal requires the support of a majority of the members present, pursuant to the rules of a house.
(6) Assembly chamber:
The entire area west of the easternmost doors of the assembly, including the visitor's galleries, lobbies, offices of the speaker, majority leader, and minority leader and hallways.
A proposed change of law originating in either house, requiring passage by one house and concurrence of the other house of the legislature and approval of the governor, or passage notwithstanding the objections of the governor by a two-thirds vote in each house, or that becomes law without the signature of the governor, before becoming effective.
The agenda for any legislative day.
(9) Call of the house:
A procedure for requiring the attendance of absent members.
(10) Certificate or "citation":
A formal legislative document of commendation, congratulations, or condolences.
The position that the presiding officer fills.
(12) Chief clerk:
The officer elected to perform and direct the clerical and personnel functions of a house.
(13) Committee chairperson:
The head of a committee.
(14) Committee executive action:
The action of a committee on any proposal or veto.
(14m) Committee of conference:
A committee of representatives to the assembly and of senators, appointed to resolve differences on a specific proposal.
(15) Committee of the whole:
The membership of one house organized in committee for the discussion of a specific matter.
The action by which one house agrees to a proposal or action of the other house [see also subs. (3)
(18) Contested seat:
A district in which 2 or more persons claim the right to represent the district.
(20) Current membership:
The members of one of the houses omitting those who have resigned, have been removed, or have died.
(23) Division of the question:
To break a question into 2 or more separate propositions.
(24) Elected membership:
The members of one of the houses, certified as elected in the last general election, including those who have subsequently resigned, have been removed, or have died.
(25) Engrossed proposal:
A proposal incorporating all adopted amendments and all approved technical corrections in the house of origin, whether or not it is reproduced as engrossed.
(26) Enrolled proposal:
A proposal that was passed, or adopted, and concurred in, incorporating any amendments and corrections that were approved by both houses.
To remove material from the record and thus undo some action.
(27m) Extraordinary session:
The convening of the legislature by the committees on organization of each house or by petition or joint resolution of the legislature to accomplish the business specified in the action calling the session. When used to continue a floorperiod of the biennial session for a limited purpose, the extraordinary session is referred to as an extended session.
(28) Fiscal estimate:
A memorandum pursuant to joint rules 41
and the rules of each house, explaining the impact of a bill on state or local finances.
(29) Floor of the assembly:
That portion of the assembly chamber that is reserved for members, assembly officers, and persons granted the privilege of the floor.
(29m) Floor of the senate:
That portion of the senate chamber that is reserved for members, senate officers, and persons granted the privilege of the floor.
(30) Floor amendment:
Any amendment offered for consideration at the 2nd reading stage, or for committee consideration, but not drafted by the legislative reference bureau.
The relevance or appropriateness of amendments.
A committee meeting at which the public is invited to testify on a proposal or issue.
A record of actions on any given proposal.
(33m) History file:
The list of entries made by the chief clerk in the bulletin of proceedings, recording the actions of the legislature on a proposal.
(34) Incidental motions and requests:
A group of motions and requests that generally relates to the proceedings, procedures, and subsidiary questions during debate, and that must be disposed of before proceeding to the main question under consideration. Incidental questions have lower precedence than privileged questions but higher precedence than subsidiary and main motions.
(35) Indefinite postponement:
A motion to kill a proposal in its house of origin for a legislative session.
The formal presentation of a bill before one of the houses [see also sub. (50m)
(37) Joint convention, also called "joint session."
A joint meeting of the senate and the assembly.
(38) Joint hearing:
A hearing held by committees of both houses.
(39) Joint resolution:
A proposal requiring adoption by both houses, to: a) express the opinion of the legislature; b) change joint rules of the legislature; c) propose an amendment to the state constitution; or d) propose or ratify an amendment to the U.S. constitution.
(40) Joint rules:
Common rules of proceedings adopted by both houses.
The official publication of one of the houses.
Permission to be absent from one of the houses.
(43) Legislative day:
Any day on which the legislature is in session.
(44) Main motions and questions:
The final affirmative question concerning a proposal during any stage of its consideration or any motion made or question raised when no other matter is before the house. Main questions have lower precedence than privileged, incidental, and subsidiary questions.
One more than one-half.
The publication containing the rules of a house, the joint rules, the session schedule, the state constitution, alphabetical indexes, and other materials considered relevant to a legislator's job.
A duly elected senator or representative to the assembly.
(48) Members present:
Those members in attendance at a daily session.
Another term for "proposal."
A proposed action requiring approval by a vote of a house.
The refusal of one house to agree to a proposal, amendment, or action of the other.
The formal presentation of a joint resolution, resolution, substitute amendment, amendment, or motion before a house [see also sub. (36)
(51) Opinion of the attorney general:
A formal reply by the attorney general to a specific question.
A written agreement between 2 members on opposite sides of a question not to vote on the question if one or both are absent with leave, which permits the absent member to influence the outcome of a vote.
(53) Parliamentary inquiry:
A request for an explanation of a legislative rule or procedure.
Final approval in the first house of a bill introduced in that house if referring to action of one house and final approval of both houses of a bill introduced in either house if referring to action of both houses [see also subs. (3)
A request that one of the houses take a particular course of action.
(56) Point of order:
A request that the presiding officer rule on a matter of parliamentary procedure.
A previous ruling, decision, or action used to interpret legislative rules.
A member of the senate elected by the membership to preside over the senate and carry out the duties as described in the senate rules, the joint rules, and the statutes.
(57m) President pro tempore:
A member of the senate elected by the membership to carry out the duties of the president in his or her absence until the return of the president or until a president is elected.
(57p) Presiding officer:
The person presiding over the senate or assembly in session [see also subs. (11)
, and (81)
(59) Privileged motions and requests:
A group of motions and requests relating to basic questions concerning the meetings, organization, rules, rights, and duties of the senate or assembly and having the highest precedence for consideration. Privileged motions and requests take precedence over incidental, subsidiary, and main questions.
A resolution, joint resolution, or bill put before a house for consideration.
A statement before one of the houses for decision.
A majority of the current membership of one of the houses, unless otherwise required by the state constitution.
A temporary suspension of business during a roll call day.
A motion to nullify a decision and again consider and vote on the question involved.
(65) Regular order of business:
The regular sequence of deliberations on any legislative day.
(66) Regular session:
The biennial session of the legislature established by the constitution and by section 13.02
of the statutes. The Wisconsin legislature convenes in the capitol on the first Monday of January in each odd-numbered year at 2 p.m. to take the oath of office, to select officers, and to organize itself for the conduct of its business, but if the first Monday falls on January 1 or 2, the legislature organizes on January 3. Daily meetings begin in January of each year and continue throughout the biennial session until the final adjournment of the biennial session. "Session" is also often used to refer to the daily meetings of the legislature.
An action for the adverse and final disposition of: a) a resolution or joint resolution for the biennial session of the legislature; b) an amendment or substitute amendment with regard to one specific document; c) the application of a motion to the current situation; and d) the report of a committee.
(68) Remain informal:
A temporary suspension of proceedings in one of the houses.
A proposed action that does not require a vote because: a) unanimous consent has been asked for; b) the action is required if there are sufficient seconds; or c) the presiding officer has the authority to take or order the requested action.
An action by which one of the houses nullifies an action on a proposal so as to enable the house to again consider a proposal from a given stage. When a motion to rescind prevails, the house resumes its consideration of a proposal at the stage indicated in the motion.
A proposal expressing the opinion of one of the houses; changing the rules of one of the houses; or confirming a nomination for appointment.
(73) Roll call day:
A legislative day on which any roll call is taken.
(74) Roll call vote:
A vote on which each member voting is recorded by name.
(75) Rules of proceedings
: The rules that govern the operations of the legislature and the conduct of legislative business. Rules of proceedings are found in the state constitution; the joint rules, senate rules, and assembly rules; custom, usage, and precedent in each house; the statutes; and parliamentary law.
The presiding officer's decision on a point of order.
(77) Senate chamber:
The entire area south of the northernmost doors of the senate, including the floor, staff lobby, press lobby, visitor's galleries, and hallways, but excluding the offices of senate officers.
(78) Sergeant at arms:
The officer elected by the members to perform and direct the police and custodial functions of one of the houses.
(79) Sine die adjournment:
The final adjournment of a legislative session.
A member of the assembly elected by the membership to preside over the assembly and carry out the duties as described in the assembly rules, the joint rules, and the statutes.
(81) Speaker pro tempore:
A member of the assembly elected by the membership to carry out the duties of the speaker in his or her absence until the return of the speaker or until a speaker is elected.
(82) Special committee:
A committee created by resolution, or a special committee or temporary special committee created by a written order pursuant to the rules of a house, to investigate specific matters during a session or committee work period, and report to the senate or assembly.
(83) Special order of business:
Any proposal ordered by the senate or assembly to be given consideration at a specified time and taking precedence over the regular orders of business at that time.
(84) Special session:
The convening of the legislature by the governor to accomplish a special purpose for which convened.