Sections
Subchapter I Appropriation Rationale and Amounts 20.001 – 20.005
Subchapter II Commerce 20.115 – 20.192
Subchapter III Education 20.220 – 20.292
Subchapter IV Environmental Resources 20.320 – 20.395
Subchapter V Human Relations and Resources 20.410 – 20.490
Subchapter VI General Executive Functions 20.505 – 20.585
Subchapter VII Judicial 20.625 – 20.680
Subchapter VIII Legislative 20.765
Subchapter IX General Appropriations 20.835 – 20.875
Subchapter X General Administrative Provisions 20.901 – 20.9305

Terms Used In Wisconsin Statutes > Chapter 20

  • Acquire: when used in connection with a grant of power to any person, includes the acquisition by purchase, grant, gift or bequest. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Adjourn: A motion to adjourn a legislative chamber or a committee, if passed, ends that day's session.
  • Adult: means a person who has attained the age of 18 years, except that for purposes of investigating or prosecuting a person who is alleged to have violated any state or federal criminal law or any civil law or municipal ordinance, "adult" means a person who has attained the age of 17 years. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.
  • Alcoholic: means a person who is suffering from alcoholism. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Alcoholism: is a disease which is characterized by the dependency of a person on the drug alcohol, to the extent that the person's health is substantially impaired or endangered or his or her social or economic functioning is substantially disrupted. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Allegation: something that someone says happened.
  • Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • Amortization: Paying off a loan by regular installments.
  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
  • Appraisal: A determination of property value.
  • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Bequest: includes a devise; "bequeath" includes devise. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Center for the developmentally disabled: means any facility which is operated by the department and which provides services including, but not limited to, 24-hour treatment, consultation, training and education for developmentally disabled persons. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Chambers: A judge's office.
  • chief of a police department: includes the chief of a department under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Clerk of court: An officer appointed by the court to work with the chief judge in overseeing the court's administration, especially to assist in managing the flow of cases through the court and to maintain court records.
  • Committee membership: Legislators are assigned to specific committees by their party. Seniority, regional balance, and political philosophy are the most prominent factors in the committee assignment process.
  • Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
  • Communicable disease: means any disease that the department of health services determines, by rule, to be communicable in fact. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Contemplation of death: The expectation of death that provides the primary motive to make a gift.
  • Continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • County board: means the county board of supervisors. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • County of residence: means the county that is determined under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Cross examine: Questioning of a witness by the attorney for the other side.
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Decedent: A deceased person.
  • Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • Deposition: An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial.
  • Developmental disability: means a disability attributable to brain injury, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, Prader-Willi syndrome, intellectual disability, or another neurological condition closely related to an intellectual disability or requiring treatment similar to that required for individuals with an intellectual disability, which has continued or can be expected to continue indefinitely and constitutes a substantial handicap to the afflicted individual. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Devise: To gift property by will.
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
  • Docket: A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.
  • Donor: The person who makes a gift.
  • Drug dependent: means suffering from drug dependence. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Electronic funds transfer: The transfer of money between accounts by consumer electronic systems-such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and electronic payment of bills-rather than by check or cash. (Wire transfers, checks, drafts, and paper instruments do not fall into this category.) Source: OCC
  • Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Escheat: Reversion of real or personal property to the state when 1) a person dies without leaving a will and has no heirs, or 2) when the property (such as a bank account) has been inactive for a certain period of time. Source: OCC
  • Escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: A government corporation that insures the deposits of all national and state banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System. Source: OCC
  • Fee simple: Absolute title to property with no limitations or restrictions regarding the person who may inherit it.
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • Fiduciary: A trustee, executor, or administrator.
  • Fire department: includes a department under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Fire fighter: includes a person serving under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Fixed Rate: Having a "fixed" rate means that the APR doesn't change based on fluctuations of some external rate (such as the "Prime Rate"). In other words, a fixed rate is a rate that is not a variable rate. A fixed APR can change over time, in several circumstances:
    • You are late making a payment or commit some other default, triggering an increase to a penalty rate
    • The bank changes the terms of your account and you do not reject the change.
    • The rate expires (if the rate was fixed for only a certain period of time).
  • Foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default. Source: OCC
  • Forgery: The fraudulent signing or alteration of another's name to an instrument such as a deed, mortgage, or check. The intent of the forgery is to deceive or defraud. Source: OCC
  • Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
  • Freeway: means a highway with full control of access and with all crossroads separated in grade from the pavements for through traffic. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
  • Grand jury: agreement providing that a lender will delay exercising its rights (in the case of a mortgage,
  • Grantor: includes every person from or by whom any freehold estate or interest passes in or by any deed; and "grantee" includes every person to whom any such estate or interest passes in like manner. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Heretofore: means any time previous to the day on which the statute containing it takes effect; "hereafter" means the time after the statute containing such word takes effect. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • homestead: means the dwelling and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for use of the dwelling as a home, but not less than one-fourth acre, if available, and not exceeding 40 acres. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Hospital: has the meaning given under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • in writing: includes any representation of words, letters, symbols or figures. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Indemnification: In general, a collateral contract or assurance under which one person agrees to secure another person against either anticipated financial losses or potential adverse legal consequences. Source: FDIC
  • Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
  • Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • Inpatient facility: means a public or private hospital or unit of a hospital which has as its primary purpose the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of mental illness, developmental disability, alcoholism or drug abuse and which provides 24-hour care. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Interest rate: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender in exchange for the use of the lender's money for a certain period of time. Interest is paid on loans or on debt instruments, such as notes or bonds, either at regular intervals or as part of a lump sum payment when the issue matures. Source: OCC
  • Intestate: Dying without leaving a will.
  • Irrevocable trust: A trust arrangement that cannot be revoked, rescinded, or repealed by the grantor.
  • Joint committee: Committees including membership from both houses of teh legislature. Joint committees are usually established with narrow jurisdictions and normally lack authority to report legislation.
  • Joint tenancy: A form of property ownership in which two or more parties hold an undivided interest in the same property that was conveyed under the same instrument at the same time. A joint tenant can sell his (her) interest but not dispose of it by will. Upon the death of a joint tenant, his (her) undivided interest is distributed among the surviving joint tenants.
  • Judgement: The official decision of a court finally determining the respective rights and claims of the parties to a suit.
  • Juror: A person who is on the jury.
  • Juvenile correctional facility: has the meaning given in s. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Legacy: includes a devise; "legatee" includes a devisee. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Legal tender: coins, dollar bills, or other currency issued by a government as official money. Source: U.S. Mint
  • Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
  • Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
  • Life estate: A property interest limited in duration to the life of the individual holding the interest (life tenant).
  • Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • Mental health institute: means any institution operated by the department for specialized psychiatric services, research, education, and which is responsible for consultation with community programs for education and quality of care. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Mental illness: means mental disease to such extent that a person so afflicted requires care and treatment for his or her own welfare, or the welfare of others, or of the community. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Minor: means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years, except that for purposes of investigating or prosecuting a person who is alleged to have violated a state or federal criminal law or any civil law or municipal ordinance, "minor" does not include a person who has attained the age of 17 years. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • Mortgage loan: A loan made by a lender to a borrower for the financing of real property. Source: OCC
  • Mortgagee: The person to whom property is mortgaged and who has loaned the money.
  • Municipality: includes cities and villages; it may be construed to include towns. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Officers: when applied to corporations include directors and trustees. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Optical disc: means a rotating circular plate on which information or images are placed in storage, and which is recorded and read by laser beams focused on the plate. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • osteopath: means a person holding a license or certificate of registration from the medical examining board. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • Personal property: includes money, goods, chattels, things in action, evidences of debt and energy. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Personal representative: means a person, however denominated, who is authorized to administer a decedent's estate. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
  • Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
  • Police department: includes a department under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Police officer: includes a person serving under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Population: means that shown by the most recent regular or special federal census. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
  • Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
  • Preliminary hearing: A hearing where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to make the defendant have a trial.
  • Presiding officer: A majority-party Senator who presides over the Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing Members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents.
  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Probate: Proving a will
  • Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
  • Promulgate: when used in connection with a rule, as defined under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Property: includes real and personal property. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
  • Public debt: Cumulative amounts borrowed by the Treasury Department or the Federal Financing Bank from the public or from another fund or account. The public debt does not include agency debt (amounts borrowed by other agencies of the Federal Government). The total public debt is subject to a statutory limit.
  • Public defender: Represent defendants who can't afford an attorney in criminal matters.
  • Qualified: when applied to any person elected or appointed to office, means that such person has done those things which the person was by law required to do before entering upon the duties of the person's office. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Quorum: The number of legislators that must be present to do business.
  • real property: includes lands, tenements and hereditaments and all rights thereto and interests therein. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Recess: A temporary interruption of the legislative business.
  • Recourse: An arrangement in which a bank retains, in form or in substance, any credit risk directly or indirectly associated with an asset it has sold (in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) that exceeds a pro rata share of the bank's claim on the asset. If a bank has no claim on an asset it has sold, then the retention of any credit risk is recourse. Source: FDIC
  • Registered nurse: includes a registered nurse who holds a multistate license, as defined in s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Remand: When an appellate court sends a case back to a lower court for further proceedings.
  • Reporter: Makes a record of court proceedings and prepares a transcript, and also publishes the court's opinions or decisions (in the courts of appeals).
  • Rescission: The cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress. The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both Houses have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation.
  • Residence: has the meaning given under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
  • Revocable trust: A trust agreement that can be canceled, rescinded, revoked, or repealed by the grantor (person who establishes the trust).
  • Roll call vote : A vote in which each legislator votes "yea" or "nay" as his or her name is called by the Clerk, so that the names of legislators voting on each side are recorded.
  • seal: includes the word "seal" the letters "L S" and a scroll or other device intended to represent a seal, if any is affixed in the proper place for a seal, as well as an impression of a seal on the instrument. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Secured residential care center for children and youth: has the meaning given in s. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Serious and persistent mental illness: includes schizophrenia as well as a wide spectrum of psychotic and other severely disabling psychiatric diagnostic categories, but does not include degenerative brain disorder or a primary diagnosis of a developmental disability or of alcohol or drug dependence. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
  • Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
  • State treatment facility: means any of the institutions operated by the department for the purpose of providing diagnosis, care or treatment for mental or emotional disturbance, developmental disability, alcoholism or drug dependency and includes but is not limited to mental health institutes. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
  • Sworn: includes "affirmed" in all cases where by law an affirmation may be substituted for an oath. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Temporary restraining order: Prohibits a person from an action that is likely to cause irreparable harm. This differs from an injunction in that it may be granted immediately, without notice to the opposing party, and without a hearing. It is intended to last only until a hearing can be held.
  • Tenancy in common: A type of property ownership in which two or more individuals have an undivided interest in property. At the death of one tenant in common, his (her) fractional percentage of ownership in the property passes to the decedent
  • Testate: To die leaving a will.
  • Testator: A male person who leaves a will at death.
  • Testify: Answer questions in court.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
  • Town board: means the town board of supervisors. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
  • Transfer: means the movement of a patient or resident between approved treatment facilities or to or from an approved treatment facility and the community. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Treatment: means those psychological, educational, social, chemical, medical or somatic techniques designed to bring about rehabilitation of a mentally ill, alcoholic, drug dependent or developmentally disabled person. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Treatment facility: means any publicly or privately operated facility or unit thereof providing treatment of alcoholic, drug dependent, mentally ill or developmentally disabled persons, including but not limited to inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, community support programs and rehabilitation programs. See Wisconsin Statutes 20.919
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • Trust account: A general term that covers all types of accounts in a trust department, such as estates, guardianships, and agencies. Source: OCC
  • Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
  • User fees: Fees charged to users of goods or services provided by the government. In levying or authorizing these fees, the legislature determines whether the revenue should go into the treasury or should be available to the agency providing the goods or services.
  • Variable Rate: Having a "variable" rate means that the APR changes from time to time based on fluctuations in an external rate, normally the Prime Rate. This external rate is known as the "index." If the index changes, the variable rate normally changes. Also see Fixed Rate.
  • Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
  • Village: means incorporated village. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Week: means 7 consecutive days. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504