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Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight

Maintained by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB), this page provides an overview of recent and upcoming activities in the Wisconsin Legislature. The LRB revises its content weekly during legislative floorperiods and less often when the legislature is not in session. Links to more detailed information are highlighted in the text.

The Week of October 24, 2005

Senate Joint Resolution 1 establishes the 2005-2006 Session Schedule. The legislatureís next scheduled floorperiod begins on October 25 and runs until November 9. In a change of schedule, the Assembly will not be in session on October 26, November 2, or November 3. The Senate will continue to meet as scheduled.

Signed Into Law

On October 13 Governor Doyle signed 2005 Assembly Bill 214, which establishes penalties for "huffing" household chemicals. The bill was promoted by the family of Aaron Wake, who died in 2001 from inhaling butane. The bill became 2005 Wisconsin Act 44. Other bills also signed last week are described on the governor's Web site.

Vetoed

2005 Assembly Bill 207, allowing certain health care professionals to refuse to participate in certain procedures to which they object, passed the Senate on September 27 by a vote of 21-12. The enrolled bill was presented to the governor on October 10, and he vetoed it on October 14.

Current Issues

Cloning Ban

2005 Assembly Bill 499, to ban human cloning, was concurred in by the Senate on September 28 by a vote of 21-12. The governor has not yet acted on the enrolled bill.

Indian Gaming

2005 Assembly Bill 461, which would require legislative approval of Indian gaming establishments on certain trust lands, was passed by the Assembly on September 27 by a vote of 59-37.

Price Gouging

2005 Senate Bill 358, which would prohibit the sale of consumer goods and services at unreasonably excessive prices during a period of abnormal economic disruption caused by an emergency, was introduced on October 4 and referred to the Senate Committee on Job Creation, Economic Development, and Consumer Affairs.

Motor Fuel

2005 Senate Bill 215 and 2005 Assembly Bill 505 propose to repeal the minimum markup for motor fuel pricing.

2005 Assembly Bill 711, introduced on October 3 and referred to the Joint Committee on Finance, would eliminate the annual adjustment of the motor vehicle fuel tax rate.

2005 Assembly Bill 729, introduced on October 6 and referred to the Joint Committee on Finance, would reduce the rate of the motor vehicle fuel tax by 15 cents per gallon for the 120-day period beginning on the fourteenth day after the billís effective date.

2005 Assembly Bill 15 and 2005 Senate Bill 15 would require most automotive gasoline to contain between 9.2% and 10% ethanol.

2005 Assembly Bill 236 would exempt local governments, school districts, technical college districts, and UW System institutions from the motor vehicle fuel tax.

Concealed Weapons

2005 Assembly Bill 763, which would allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, was introduced on October 17 and referred to the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Homeland Security. This is a modified version of the 2003 bill that was vetoed by the governor.

Election Administration

2005 Senate Bill 249 and 2005 Assembly Bill 542 propose various changes in the laws concerning election administration. These changes would include setting up satellite polling places, limiting waiting times for voters to 30 minutes, providing voter registration applications when getting a driverís license, circulating an electronic list of felons barred from voting, and training poll workers. Senate Bill 249 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Election Process Reform. A public hearing on Assembly Bill 542 was held by the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections on September 1.

Medical Malpractice Award Limits

2005 Assembly Bill 766 was introduced on October 17 and referred to the Assembly Committee on Insurance. A public hearing on the bill was held on October 18, and it passed out of the Assembly Committee on Insurance and was referred to the Assembly Committee on Rules on October 20. Assembly Bill 766 would set limits on the damage award for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice case. The bill is in response to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in Ferdon v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, which held that the current limits on medical malpractice awards are unconstitutional.

Wisconsin Health Security Act

2005 Senate Bill 388, introduced on October 17 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Children, Families, Aging and Long Term Care, would establish a health plan for Wisconsin under which each state resident would receive reasonable medical services necessary to maintain health, enable diagnosis, and provide treatment.

Breast Feeding

2005 Senate Bill 368, introduced on October 6 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Children, Families, Aging and Long Term Care, would permit a mother to breast-feed her child in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be and would prohibit any person from interfering with this right.

Legislative Audit Bureau Reports

The Legislative Audit Bureau conducts financial and program evaluation audits of state agencies. The Audit Bureau will soon begin conducting an audit of the hiring practices of the University of Wisconsin System and will issue a report sometime next year. Recent audit reports are accessible online, including a report on the implementation of existing voter registration laws statewide.

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Last revised: October 18, 2012