Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Board of Supervisors
Legislative Process

Dane County Legislative Process

Dane County’s legislative process, or in other words, how a policy or ordinance is developed, is described below.  


The process begins when a resolution or ordinance amendment is introduced by a County Board Supervisor or group of Supervisors – they are the sponsors. 

Dane County uses resolutions both to set policy and complete the business of government such as making contracts, leasing buildings, accepting funds, etc.  Ordinances are the county laws, ordinance amendments update the Code of Ordinances.  

Prior to introduction, Dane County staff work with the Supervisor(s), Controller’s Office, and County Clerk to develop the resolution/ordinance amendment and fiscal note, which is then entered into the County’s Legislative Information Center, which is the public’s way to track items and see agendas and minutes.  A fiscal note provides information on budgetary and/or fiscal impacts.  Introduction means a County Board Supervisor begins the process of approving a resolution or ordinance amendment. 

After an item is introduced, the County Board Chair refers it to any appropriate committees for consideration.  Items must be referred to at least one of the seven standing committees, which are: Executive Committee, Health and Human Needs, Environment, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, Public Protection and Judiciary, Public Works and Transportation, Personnel and Finance, or Zoning and Land Regulation.  Depending on the resolution/ordinance amendment, the item could also be referred to additoinal boards/committees/commissions.  More information about each of these committees can be found at: 


At this point, committee chair's may put the item on their upcoming agendas for consideration.  Committees then make recommendations to the County Board for consideration.


After all of the committees to which the item has been referred have considered, the County Board will then consider the item.  At this point, the item will be on the Board’s agenda, and the full Board will vote on the item.


The Board either approves, denies, or refers the item back to the relevant committee.


Finally, the County Executive signs or vetoes the legislation. If it is vetoed, the Board can vote to override the veto. 


If you have any additional questions or would like more information on a specific item, or a part of the process, please call: 1 (608) 266-5758.