The Wisconsin Biennial Budget is primarily a fiscal document, but also usually contains several policy items. Because of the nature of budget drafting, researchers may be faced with a significant amount of work to find the information they are seeking. Modern-day budgets records have been systematically organized and indexed to help individuals through the process of finding the draft they are seeking. For more information on researching budget bills, please see pages 21-25 of the LRB publication “Researching Legislative History in Wisconsin
". The following guide is designed help you to find the correct component draft within the budget bill file.
Finding the Budget Folder
The budget drafts in this database are separated out from all other legislation. You can find it by searching for, for example, “2005 Budget". You can also find it by choosing the correct session folder; then, the budget will be listed, followed by its act number and original bill number.
Information within the Budget Folder
Budget bills contain hundreds of individual drafts. Each of these drafts is given an LRB number to distinguish it from other budget components.
There are different steps to follow for searching the budget drafting records, depending on what you are looking for:
A) A statute section passed in the budget bill, or
B) A proposal that was removed from the budget before passage
A) If statute section passed with the Budget
First find the LRB Number by opening the “Enrolled Proposal with LRB Numbers" file in the act folder. The name will contain “wLRBnumbers" or something similar.
Then search that file for the bill section or statutory section of interest and locate the LRB number that is listed before the section.
If you know where the draft came in to the budget process, then proceed to that folder and look up the draft using the LRB number.
If you do not know where it came into the budget process, you can search for the LRB number to locate it.
B) If proposal did not pass into law...
...but was part of the original Executive Budget Bill, go to the file with LRB numbers within the bill folder.
...or if it was part of the Joint Committee on Finance's Substitute Amendment, go to the file with LRB numbers within the substitute amendment folder.
To search for a draft by LRB number, just put the LRB number into the search box. For example, to find 05b0408, search for 05b0408. The document you are looking for should be near the top of the search results, which are sorted by relevance.
If the proposal did NOT pass but was part of a simple amendment:
Use the Subject Index to locate it. Search for “2005 Subject Index", or whatever biennium you are looking for. The subject will include an amendment number. Use that to search in the drafting files for that amendment number.
If you have followed the steps above and still require help in finding your component draft, please contact the Legislative Reference Bureau's Research and Information Services Division via our Contact Page
or our Reference Desk at (608) 266-0341.