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Administrative Law Research Guide: WI Administrative Code Currency and Authentication

This guide is intended for students who are learning about administrative law and its sources, and to help scholars and practitioners locate materials in the library and online. Content additions will be gradual but steady. Please check back often!

Wisconsin Administrative Code & Register -- Currency and Authentication

Researchers can access the Wisconsin Administrative Code on many commercial databases such as Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg, and Fastcase.  Updates to commercial database versions usually are current within a week or a few days, but for very recent revisions it is advisable to check the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau version of the Code and the Wisconsin Administrative Register.  The online version of the Wisconsin Administrative Code at the State of Wisconsin website consistently records revisions more rapidly than other sources.  It is updated as changes occur, usually within a day, and the prefatory information gives the date of the most recent Wisconsin Administrative Register that is reflected in the updated Code. 

While print versions of the WI Administrative Code are produced by the state, and a few of these copies are updated monthly for the both law schools and WI state law libraries, the print version of the Code is not considered official.  Unlike the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register, there is no official version of the Wisconsin Administrative Code or the Wisconsin Register, either in print or online.  See the statement by the Legislative Reference Bureau regarding the verification it supplies for the online administrative code. The statutes and statements below also describe the current status of these Wisconsin primary law sources.

WIsconsin Legislative Reference Bureau Statement on Publication

"The Wisconsin Administrative Code is an electronic-only publication produced by the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) under s. 35.93, Stats. This Internet site is the exclusive source of the current Wisconsin Administrative Code as compiled by the LRB in accordance with s. 35.93, Stats.
The Administrative Code chapters on this Internet site are prima facie evidence that they are Wisconsin administrative rules “as they purport to be” under s. 889.01, Stats.
The Wisconsin Administrative Code is presented on a secure connection. To verify that the statutes are being accessed from the Wisconsin Legislature's secure document server, https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov, click on the lock icon in your browser toolbar or status bar.
Any questions regarding the interpretation, application, or enforcement of any portion of the Administrative Code should be directed to the state agency responsible for the promulgation of the specific code as listed below. The Internet address for the agency responsible for each code is listed in the right-hand column of the table of contents."

Wis. Stat. 889.01 - Prima Facie Evidence of Authenticity

889.01  Publication by state as evidence of laws. Books, pamphlets and other documents purporting to be printed by the state as copies of its statutes, legislative acts and resolutions, senate and assembly journals or orders, rules, regulations or decisions of any of its boards, departments, commissions or agencies, are prima facie evidence that they are such publications as they purport to be, and are correct copies of such statutes, acts, resolutions, journals, orders, rules, regulations and decisions, respectively; and such printed journals of said houses, respectively, are prima facie evidence of their proceedings. Electronic documents purporting to be published by the legislative reference bureau under ss. 35.095 (3) (a)35.18 (1) (b), and 35.93 as copies of Wisconsin's statutes, legislative acts, or administrative rules are prima facie evidence that they are such publications as they purport to be and are correct copies of such statutes, legislative acts, and administrative rules.

History: 2013 a. 20.

Statutory Authority for Publication of Wisconsin Statutes

Similarly, there is no official version of the Wisconsin Statutes.  The government online and printed versions of the statutes are not official under Wisconsin law.  The statutes on the state website are "certified."  The following statement is available on the front page of the Wisconsin Statutes, on the government website:

"The electronic updated Wisconsin Statutes are published under s. 35.18 (1) (b), stats., are certified under s. 35.18 (2) (b), stats., and are prima facie evidence that they are the Wisconsin Statutes “as they purport to be" under s. 889.01, stats."

The six-volume print version of the Wisconsin Statutes produced by the government is certified by the LRB as to its authenticity each biennium. Wisconsin Acts, the Wisconsin Administrative Code, and the Wisconsin Register do not have a similar certification requirement under current Wisconsin law.  The "prima facie evidence" requirement of Wis. Stat. §889.01 applies.

35.18 Wisconsin statutes.

(1)  Publication.

(a) Biennially the legislative reference bureau shall prepare and deliver to the department printer's copy for the Wisconsin statutes, which shall contain all the general statutes in force, all important joint resolutions adopted since the last preceding general session, an alphabetical index, and such other matter as the bureau deems desirable and practicable. The department shall determine how many copies shall be printed.

(b)

1. The legislative reference bureau shall electronically publish interim updated versions of the statutes included in the biennial Wisconsin statutes printed under par. (a) on the Internet in one or more electronic file formats. The legislative reference bureau may electronically publish the updated versions on other electronic media in one or more electronic file formats, as the legislative reference bureau determines.

2. The legislative reference bureau shall include in the updated versions of the statutes electronically published under subd. 1. all general statutes in force, except that the legislative reference bureau may omit tables and graphic images from publication in a particular electronic file format if the legislative reference bureau determines that the tables and graphic images are incompatible with that electronic file format. If the legislative reference bureau omits tables or graphic images from publication in a particular electronic file format, it shall insert a note following the affected statutory unit identifying the omission and providing a hypertext link providing electronic access to the table or graphic image. The legislative reference bureau shall at all times publish the statutes on the Internet in at least one electronic file format that allows for publication of all tables and graphic images contained in the statutes.

3. The legislative reference bureau shall include all of the following with each updated version of the statutes published under subd. 1.:

a. The date of publication for the updated version.

b. The edition of the biennial Wisconsin statutes that is being updated.

c. The act number of the most recent legislative act included in the updated version.

d. The date through which the updated version has been updated. The updated version shall include all legislative acts that were enacted, and all supreme court orders affecting statutes that were entered, on or before the date referenced in this subd. 3. d.

e. A notice stating that the updated version of the statutes electronically published under this paragraph is certified under sub. (2) (b).

(2) Legislative reference bureau certification.

(a) After making the necessary comparison, the chief of the legislative reference bureau shall sign and file in the office of the secretary of state as a public record a certificate certifying that the bureau has compared each section contained in the biennial Wisconsin statutes printed under sub. (1) (a) with the original section of the statutes, or with the original section contained in the enrolled act from which the section was derived, together with all amendments of such original section, if any, and that all the sections appear to be correctly printed. All copies of the biennial Wisconsin statutes printed under sub. (1) (a) shall contain a printed copy of such certificate.

(b) After making the necessary comparison, the legislative reference bureau shall publish on the Internet, and with each electronic publication of the Wisconsin statutes under sub. (1) (b), a certification that the bureau has compared each section of the Wisconsin statutes published under sub. (1) (b) with the original section of the statutes, or with the original section contained in the enrolled act from which the section was derived, together with all amendments of such original section, if any, and that all the sections appear to be correctly published. The certification shall indicate any electronic file formats in which the statutes are published that do not contain all graphic images and tables due to incompatibility with the electronic file format.

(3) Numbers and titles of chapters and sections. All chapters and sections of Wisconsin statutes shall retain their present numbers and titles until changed by the legislative reference bureau or by statute. Each section shall be designated by a mixed, decimal number, the whole number corresponding to the chapter and the decimal to the section's place in the chapter. The numbers and titles of chapters and sections shall be printed in boldface type. Each subsection shall be designated by a number, or by a number and a letter of the alphabet, enclosed in parentheses. Each paragraph shall be designated by a letter or letters enclosed in parentheses. Each subdivision shall be designated by a number or by a number and a letter. Each paragraph of a subdivision shall be designated by a letter or letters.

(4) Annotations. The legislative reference bureau shall prepare such annotations as will keep the volume known as “Wisconsin Annotations," up to date, and include those annotations in the Wisconsin statutes published under sub. (1) (a) and (b).

History: 1971 c. 2111981 c. 3141987 a. 271991 a. 3162003 a. 3232007 a. 202013 a. 20 ss. 575h to 575L575n.

Cross Reference: See s. 889.01 for the statutes as prima facie evidence.

 

Statutory Authority for Publication of the Wisconsin Administrative Code & Register

35.93 Wisconsin administrative code and register..

(1)  Definitions. In this section:
(a) "Agency" has the meaning given in s. 227.01 (1).
(b) "Chapter" means the highest organizational unit into which an agency's rules are divided within the Wisconsin administrative code.
(c) "Date of publication" means the date on which a register is published under sub. (2) (a).
(d) "End-of-month register" means the last register published in a calendar month.
(e) "Issue" means all registers published in a calendar month.
(f) "Notice-only register" means a register other than an end-of-month register.
(g) "Rule" has the meaning given in s. 227.01 (13).

2)Wisconsin administrative register.

(a) The legislative reference bureau shall electronically publish the Wisconsin administrative register on the Internet in one or more electronic file formats on the Monday of each week, or on the next working day, as defined in s. 227.01 (14), if Monday is a holiday under s. 230.35 (4) (a).

(b) The legislative reference bureau shall include all of the following in each notice-only register and each end-of-month register:
1. A title page with the name "Wisconsin Administrative Register," the issue number, and the date of publication of the register.
2. A table of contents.
3. A notice section containing all of the following that are received by the legislative reference bureau after the compilation of the preceding register:
a. Notices of emergency rules in effect under s. 227.24 (3).
b. Statements of the scope of proposed rules under ss. 227.135 and 227.24 (1) (e) 1d.
c. Notices of submittal of proposed rules to the legislative council staff under s. 227.14 (4m).
d. Notices of hearings on rule making under s. 227.17 (1).
e. Notices of intent to promulgate rules without a public hearing under s. 227.16 (2) (e).
f. Fiscal estimates and economic impact analyses for proposed rules under ss. 227.137 and 227.14 (4) and emergency rules under s. 227.24 (1) (e) 2.
g. Notices of referrals of proposed rules to presiding officers under s. 227.19 (2).
h. Notices of declaratory judgments under s. 227.40 (6).
i. Web addresses provided by agencies under s. 101.055 (3) (a) or 227.21 (2) (c) for proposed rules.
j. Other notices that are otherwise required by law to be included or that the legislative reference bureau determines are appropriate for inclusion in the Wisconsin administrative register.
4. Copies of all rules filed with the legislative reference bureau under s. 227.20 (1) or modified under s. 227.265 since the compilation of the preceding register, including emergency rules filed under s. 227.24 (3).
5. Copies of all executive orders received by the legislative reference bureau since the compilation of the preceding register.
6. Web addresses provided by agencies under s. 101.055 (3) (a) or 227.21 (2) (c) for rules included in a register under subd. 4.
(c) The legislative reference bureau shall include all of the following in each end-of-month register:
1. Each chapter of the Wisconsin administrative code that has been affected by rules filed with the legislative reference bureau under s. 227.20 (1) or modified under s. 227.265, in accordance with sub. (3) (e) 1.
NOTE: Subd. 1. is shown as affected by 2013 Wis. Acts 125, 136, 210, 277, 278, 295, 320, 332, 361, and 363 and as merged by the legislative reference bureau under s. 13.92 (2) (i).
2. Any other chapters of the administrative code determined by the legislative reference bureau to be appropriate for publication due to corrections made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) or 35.17 or due to the addition of editorial notes.
3. Instructions or information to help the user to correctly identify insertions and deletions in the Wisconsin administrative code and that keep the Wisconsin administrative code current.
(d) The legislative reference bureau shall number each issue consecutively.
(e) Any document required to be included in the Wisconsin administrative register shall be considered published under par. (a) if the document can be accessed from the register's table of contents by the use of one or more hypertext links.
(3)Wisconsin administrative code.
(a) The legislative reference bureau shall electronically publish the Wisconsin administrative code on the Internet in one or more electronic file formats, as the legislative reference bureau determines. The legislative reference bureau may electronically publish the Wisconsin administrative code on other electronic media in one or more electronic file formats, as the legislative reference bureau determines.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in s. 227.21 (2), the legislative reference bureau shall include in the Wisconsin administrative code published under par. (a) all permanent rules in force, except that the legislative reference bureau may omit tables and graphic images from publication in a particular electronic file format if the legislative reference bureau determines that the tables and graphic images are incompatible with that electronic file format. If the legislative reference bureau omits tables or graphics under this paragraph, the legislative reference bureau shall insert a note following the affected provision identifying the omission and providing a hypertext link providing electronic access to the table or graphic image. The legislative reference bureau shall at all times publish the administrative code on the Internet in at least one electronic file format that allows for publication of all tables and graphic images contained in the administrative code.
(c) The legislative reference bureau shall include all of the following with each chapter of the Wisconsin administrative code published under par. (a):
1. The date and issue number of the Wisconsin administrative register in which the chapter is published.
2. The name of the promulgating agency.
3. A chapter title and number.
4. A table of contents for the chapter.
5. A notice stating that the chapter is published under the authority granted by this subsection.
(d) The legislative reference bureau shall include with the Wisconsin administrative code a table of contents and an index of all permanent rules currently in effect.
(e) The legislative reference bureau shall incorporate into the appropriate chapters of the Wisconsin administrative code each permanent rule filed with the legislative reference bureau under s. 227.20 (1) or modified under s. 227.265 and, for each chapter of the administrative code affected by a rule, do all of the following:
1. Publish the chapter in the appropriate end-of-month register in accordance with the filing deadline for publication established in the rules procedures manual published under s. 227.15 (7), in an end-of-month register agreed to by the submitting agency and the legislative reference bureau, or, in the case of a rule modified under s. 227.265, in the end-of-month register for the month in which the bill modifying the rule is enacted.
2. Publish the chapter in the Wisconsin administrative code published on the Internet on the first day of the month following the date of publication of the end-of-month register in which the chapter is published under subd. 1. and sub. (2) (c) 1. and publish the chapter in the Wisconsin administrative code published on any other electronic media under par. (a) on or after the day after the date of publication of that end-of-month register.
3. If the chapter is affected by a rule that adopts standards under s. 101.055 (3) (a) or 227.21 (2) (a), publish, in conjunction with the publication of the chapter under subd. 2., any Web addresses provided under s. 101.055 (3) (a) or 227.21 (2) (c).
(f) If a chapter of the Wisconsin administrative code is published in an end-of-month register under sub. (2) (c) 2., the legislative reference bureau shall publish the chapter in the Wisconsin administrative code published on the Internet on the first day of the month following the date of publication of that end-of-month register and shall publish the chapter in the Wisconsin administrative code published on any other electronic media under par. (a) on or after the day after the date of publication of that end-of-month register.
Cross Reference: See s. 889.01 for the administrative code as prima facie evidence.