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Elected Officials' Responsibilities and Duties

2018 Midterm Elections in Milwaukee

U.S. Senator

Senators represent their state by writing and voting on new laws, or bills, that may become U.S. law if passed by the Senate, House of Representatives, and signed by the President. Helping people in their state with a federal government issue is also part of the senator’s job. For example, if you are having a problem getting your passport to take a vacation abroad, the senator’s office can aid you in getting it on time for your trip. A senator serve a six-year term.

U.S. House of Representatives races

Congressmen or congresswomen represent their state citizens and introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments and serve on committees. The House of Representatives works to pass bills with the Senate and get them signed by the President. A congressman or congresswoman serves a two-year term.

Wisconsin Governor

The Governor of the State of Wisconsin is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Wisconsin. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit.

When one political party holds the governor's office and a majority in both houses of the state legislature, the state is governed by a state government trifecta. Prior to the November 2016 elections, Wisconsin was one of 23 Republican state government trifectas. Following the 2016 elections, Wisconsin was one of 25 Republican state government trifectas. To see more information on trifecta changes in the 2016 election, click here. (via Ballotpedia)

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor

The Lieutenant Governor of the State of Wisconsin is an elected constitutional officer, the second ranking officer of the executive branch and the first officer in line to succeed the Governor of Wisconsin. The lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit.

Should the governor designate the lieutenant governor to a board or commission the lieutenant governor is given all the authority and responsibility granted by law to the governor.

The lieutenant governor becomes the governor upon the death, resignation or removal of the elected Governor of Wisconsin. S(he) also becomes acting governor upon the absence, illness or inability to serve of the elected governor.

At one time, the lieutenant governor was the president of the Senate and could cast a tie-breaking vote; however, following the Amendment in 1979, the elected Senators now choose their own presiding officer. (via Ballotpedia)

Wisconsin Secretary of State

The Wisconsin Secretary of State is an elected executive official in the Wisconsin state government. The secretary keeps a record of all official acts of the legislature and executive department of the state. (via Ballotpedia)

Article 6 of the state constitution requires the secretary of state to keep a fair record of the official acts of the legislature and executive department of the state.

The specific duties of the attorney general are outlined in Chapter 14.38 of the Wisconsin state code.

Chapter 14.38 - Duties. The secretary of state shall:

  1. Record executive acts.
  2. Affix great seal; register commissions.
  3. Have custody of books, records, etc.
  4. Biennial report.
  5. Keep enrolled laws, etc.
  6. Compile original laws and resolutions.
  7. Record fees.
  8. Furnish certified copies; fees.
  9. Notices of proposed constitutional amendments and enactments.

Wisconsin Attorney General

The Attorney General of Wisconsin is an elected position in the Wisconsin state government. The attorney general is the head of the state Department of Justice and the chief legal officer for the state. He or she provides legal advice and representation for all state agencies. (via Ballotpedia)

The department of justice provides legal advice and representation for various state officers and agencies in civil cases and criminal cases in the state's appellate courts.<3>

The specific duties of the attorney general are outlined in Chapter 165.015 of the Wisconsin state code.

Chapter 165.015 - Duties. The attorney general shall:

  1. Give opinion to officers. Give his or her opinion in writing, when required, without fee, upon all questions of law submitted to him or her by the legislature, either house thereof or the senate or assembly committee on organization, or by the head of any department of state government.<4>
  2. Protect trust funds. Examine all applications for loans from any of the trust funds, and furnish to the commissioners of public lands his or her opinion in writing as to the regularity of each such application, and also of the validity of any bonds or other securities purchased for the benefit of such funds.<4>
  3. Certify bonds. Examine a certified copy of all proceedings preliminary to any issue of state bonds or notes, and, if found regular and valid, endorse on each bond or note his or her certificate of such examination and validity. The attorney general shall also make similar examinations and certificates respecting municipal bonds in the cases specified in s. 67.025.<4>
  4. Keep statement of fees. Keep a detailed statement of all fees, including his or her fees as commissioner of public lands, received by him or her during the preceding year, and file such statement with the department of administration on or before June 30 in each year.<4>
  5. Report to legislature. Upon request of the legislature or either house thereof, submit a report upon any matters pertaining to the duties of his or her office to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2).<4>
  6. Perform other duties. Perform all other duties imposed upon the attorney general by law.<4>

Wisconsin State Treasurer

The Wisconsin Treasurer is an elected executive position in the Wisconsin state government. The treasurer is responsible for sitting on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, providing services to promote the unclaimed property program, and making certified copies of deeds, bonds, and documents filed in the treasurer's office.<1><2><3>

Since 1995, the duties of the state treasurer have gradually been eliminated or shifted to other state agencies. In order to amend the Wisconsin Constitution to eliminate the state treasurer's office, the state legislature must first approve an amendment in two successive legislative sessions. Following approval by the state legislature, voters must then approve the amendment through a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.<4>

On October 27, 2015, the Wisconsin State Assembly approved an amendment to remove the state treasurer's office, Assembly Joint Resolution 5 (AJR 5), with 63 "yea" votes and 33 "nay" votes. The Wisconsin State Senate approved AJR 5 on January 20, 2016. The first approval of the amendment was enrolled on March 15, 2016.<5>

The amendment was introduced in the 2017 legislative session as Assembly Joint Resolution 2 and Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR 3). SJR 3 was approved by both chambers of the Wisconsin State Legislature, meaning the Wisconsin Elimination of State Treasurer Amendment appeared before voters on April 3, 2018.<4><6><7> Voters rejected the amendment, voting to keep the position of state treasurer. (via Ballotpedia)

Wisconsin State Assembly

The Wisconsin State Assembly is the lower chamber of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Alongside the Wisconsin State Senate, it forms the legislative branch of the Wisconsin state government and works alongside the governor of Wisconsin to create laws and establish a state budget. Legislative authority and responsibilities of the Wisconsin State Assembly include passing bills on public policy matters, setting levels for state spending, raising and lowering taxes, and voting to uphold or override gubernatorial vetoes. (via Ballotpedia)