Tracking the Progress of Statutory Law:
Statutory law is law enacted by the legislature and embodied in the statutes. The Wisconsin legislature is biennial; each session begins on the first Tuesday after January 8 in the odd-numbered year. Legislative bills and laws are identified with the session during which they were introduced or enacted; e.g. Assembly Bills 2012 (the 2012-2013 session).
Assembly Bills/Senate Bills: Statutory law begins life as a bill introduced in the legislature. All bills are numbered, either as AB-xx (Assembly Bill), SB-xx (Senate Bill), AJR or SJR (Joint Resolution). As these bills move through the legislative process, they may attract amendments, fiscal notes or other addenda.
Assembly/Senate Journals: Each house of the legislature publishes, overnight, a journal of its actions for each day it is in session. These journals typically record house elections, committee appointments, measures introduced, measures referred to committee, amendments, motions, votes taken, attendance, and the dates when bills are sent to the governor's office. The Wisconsin Legislative site also has an index to these journals.
The Laws created during a legislative session are often called "session" laws. Each is assisgnd a unique "act" ("chapter" numbrs before 1983) number as is referred to as an act or chapter of the session laws.
The state issues a revised edition of the Statutes after each biennial session, incorporating all the general laws then in force and deleting those that have been repealed. Like session laws, they are dated by the most recent legislature to act on them; thus Wisconsin Statutes 2012 is current through the 2012-2013 session. The Statutes are organized into "chapters." UNLIKE session laws, statute chapters include many laws on a common topic. The Statutes also contain several court directories, list of acts repealed, interstate compacts, legislative resolutions, and the constitution.