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Contents

January 5, 2018

After top Republicans rebuked Democrats' calls for serious changes to be made at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile corrections facilities, Gov. Walker announced his hollow proposal to close the troubled facility if reelected next fall. Despite warning signs, assaults and serious injuries dating back to 2012, local officials continue to describe the conditions at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake as “inhumane.”

Even after an FBI raid investigating abuse at Lincoln Hills and dire safety concerns, Gov. Walker still fails to see the urgency in addressing this issue, announcing that he does not intend to begin looking at real solutions until 2019. To date, he has not stepped foot in the facility. 

Despite the news reports about rampant sexual harassment across the nation, next week the Senate Committee on Labor will hold a hearing on Republican backed legislation that will limit the recourse for victims of sexual harassment and employment discrimination. 

Health Care in Wisconsin

Health Care Survey

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped tens of millions of Americans gain access to affordable health care and has saved countless lives. Recent Republican efforts to repeal the ACA would increase the number of uninsured Americans, eliminate patient protections and significantly raise out-of-pocket costs on working families and seniors. Wisconsin Democrats are fighting to maintain and expand healthcare. Please share you health care story and thoughts on the Affordable Care Act. 

Click on the link below to share your thoughts on our health care system:

Wisconsin Democrats Health Care Survey

What Democrats Are Saying

​ Democratic Proposals

LRB5000 Provider rates under WI Shares and Child care Subsidies (Reps. Shankland, Taylor, Sens. Erpenbach, Taylor) would increase funding for child care subsidies under the Wisconsin Shares program and requires the Department of Children and Families to increase maximum payment rates for licensed child care services provided.

LRB5129 Trafficking Awareness Assembly Joint Resolution (Reps. Jill Billings, Joel Kleefisch, Sens. Johnson, Darling) would proclaim January 2018 as human trafficking awareness and prevention month.

LRB4305 The Water Pollution Notification Act (Rep. Billings) would require  that if the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) finds a violation of a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, the DNR must notify the owners of any wells that may be negatively affected by the violation.

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week. The Senate is expected to reconvene in late January.


Senate Committees

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee held a Public Hearing on the executive appointments of Laurie McCallum and Georgia Maxwell to the Labor and Industry Review Commission. The committee also discussed Senate Bill 604, which would require an executive agency or state civil service to conduct a background check on a potential employee if the job duties require the individual to have access to federal tax information.


Senate Judiciary and Public Safety
The committee held a Public Hearing on five Senate Bills and two Assembly Bills:
  • Senate Bill 435 would allow first responders to administer basic first aid to domestic animals before being transferred to a veterinarian.

  • Senate Bill 442 would create a $5,000 surcharge to be imposed on persons who are convicted of patronizing or soliciting prostitutes.

  • Senate Bill 492 would create a procedure by which defendants in a criminal case may seek access to the mental health treatment records of crime victims when they believe those records contain information that is crucial to their defense.

  • Senate Bill 513 would find a person guilty of a Class B misdemeanor if a person impersonates another's identity online with the intent to frighten, intimidate, harm, threaten, abuse, harass, or defraud that person. Impersonation online is commonly known as “catfishing”.

  • Senate Bill 541 would expand the administrative subpoena process to include hotels as possible recipients of administrative subpoenas, and to include human trafficking crimes as violations for which an administrative subpoena may be issued.

  • Assembly Bill 519 would change the requirements for service of a notice of claim against state officer, employee, or agent.

  • Assembly Bill 601 would extend the DOC contract limit for the tracking of sexual offender via GPS to 7 years.

 
Senate Natural Resources and Energy

The committee held an Executive Session to vote on Senate Bill 440, which would allow the Wisconsin Propane Education and Research Council to levy an assessment on odorized propane against certain licensed propane retailers.

The committee also held a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:
  • Senate Bill 646 would exempt pyrolysis and gasification facilities from the definition under current law of “solid waste facility.” Pyrolysis and gasification facilities are facilities that convert plastics into to fuel or other materials.

  • Senate Bill 648 would create a Wisconsin conservation corps (WCC) program to provide young adults employment training and career pathways to work in Wisconsin's outdoors.

  • Assembly Bill 118 would require the state historical director to consider whether evidence of remains exists before cataloguing a site and establishes a process for challenging decisions and removing sites from the list. The Legislative Council Study Committee on Burial Sites was formed to examine Wisconsin Burial Law and this bill is the final product of that study. Native American historical artifacts still remain hidden underground. This bill would offer some protection of sacred sites that these important historical artifacts are found in. 


Joint Committees

Joint Legislative Audit Committee
The committee held an Executive Session on Senate Bill 511, which would eliminate the requirement that the Legislative Audit Bureau perform a financial audit of the local government property insurance fund every three years. 

This Week in the Assembly

Assembly Session

The Assembly was not scheduled for a floor period this week. The scheduled floor periods for the session are available here.


Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate
The committee held a public hearing on AB641 which would allow DPSS to appoint local governments to approve alternations to buildings. AB607 which regulates the transfer of ‘real property’ upon death. AB768 which regulates which properties of a local housing authority are tax exempt. AB770 regarding workforce housing development tax incremental districts; local fees and charges; local levy limits; subdivision approval conditions; plat approval conditions; expiration of certain project approvals; division of land by certified survey map; erosion control and storm water management; limiting certain local regulatory authority; relocation benefits in condemnation proceedings; and zoning ordinance amendment and AB771 regulations, fees imposed by a political subdivision, certain levy limit reductions, certain procedural changes in eviction actions, information available on the consolidated court automated internet site, discrimination in housing against individuals who keep certain animals, falsely claiming an animal to be a service animal, municipal administrative procedure, enforcement of the rental unit energy efficiency program, and providing penalties.


Assembly Committee on State Affairs
The committee held an executive session on AB548 relating to compensation claims for wrongly imprisoned persons and AB675 raises the threshold for projects funded by the Building Trust Fund.                                             

The committee held a public hearing on AB576 which would allow ID cards issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe to be used for voter ID.

Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions
The committee held an executive session on AB476 which increases the number of weeks debtor’s wages can be garnished.

The committee held a public hearing on AB552 which modifies the membership requires of a Red Arrow Club.

Assembly Committee on Rural Development and Mining
The committee held an executive session on AB572 allows certain libraries in rural areas to receive grants under the TEACH program and authorizes the Division for Libraries and Technology to collect and maintain public library related data.

The committee held a public hearing on AB731 which modifies the criteria by which a newspaper may receive compensation for the publication of a legal notice and also broadens the scope of qualified newspapers and AB730 which allows for student loan reimbursements for certain individuals living in rural counties.

Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs
The committee held an executive session on AB436 which reduces the eligibility threshold to claim the surviving spouse tax credit. AB 520 which requires the DNR to treat a nonresident recipient of a U.S. armed forces award that is equal to or higher than the Purple Heart medal in order of precedence as a resident for purposes of issuing hunting, trapping, or fishing approvals and AB585 which expands the integrated crime alert network to include broadcasts relating to missing veterans or members of the armed forces.

The committee held a public hearing on AB769 which expands protections for National Guard members and other service members who withdraw from school because they are called into military service.

Assembly Committee on Judiciary
The committee held a public hearing on AB773 which makes changes to discovery procedures for court proceedings.

The committee held an executive session on AB469 which changes when late fees can be charged for storage units and AB570 creates a procedure by which a defendant in a criminal case may seek 
access to the mental health treatment records of a crime victim that are not in the possession of or under the control of a government entity when he or she believes that  those records contain information that is crucial to the defendant's defense.

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 634 which would limit sexual assault and discrimination claims made under local city ordinances. This bill targets victims of workplace assault and discrimination so they would have fewer ways to seek damages from their employers.

The committee will also hold an Executive Session on Senate Bill 604 and the executive appointments of Laurie McCallum and Georgia Maxwell to the Labor and Industry Review Commission.

Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection
The committee will hold an Executive Session on Senate Bill 191 and Senate Bill 195, both of these bills would  limit a school boards ability to seek a community referendum to fund their school system. The committee will vote on Senate Bill 324, Senate Bill 438, Senate Bill 451, Senate Bill 488, Senate Bill 502 and Senate Bill 579.

The committee will also hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 450, Senate Bill 462, Senate Bill 570 and Senate Bill 650.

Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government
The committee will hold an Executive Session on Senate Bill 505, Senate Bill 525, and Senate Bill 534.

The committee will also hold a Public Hearing on Assembly Bill 120, Senate Bill 578 and the appointments of Kristine O’Meara and John Wenum to the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board.

Senate Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior Issues
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 514Senate Bill 528Senate Bill 461Senate Bill 528. The Task Force on Alzheimers and Dementia was formed in 2015 to examine how Wisconsin could improve care for citizens with Alzeimers and Dementia. The task force came up with a number of proposals, four of which will be heard at the public hearing next week, including Senate Bill 552, Senate Bill 527, Senate Bill 548, Senate Bill 518.

Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues
The committee will hold an Executive Session on the appointments of Jason Rothenberg and Arthur Zimmerman to the Deferred Compensation Board. The committee also met on Senate Bill 167, Senate Bill 398 / Assembly Bill 489, Senate Bill 404 and Senate Bill 481, a democratic proposal which would establish that a business may not deduct expenses paid to move outside the state or outside the United States. For years Democrats have been pushing for Republicans to act on Senate Bill 481 which would eliminate tax breaks for companies that move Wisconsin jobs out of the state or country.

The committee will also hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 668, Senate Bill 603, Senate Bill 617 and Senate Bill 659 / Assembly Bill 356.

Senate Elections and Utilities
The committee will hold an Executive Session on Senate Bill 260, Senate Bill 475 and Assembly Bill 532.

Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 572, Senate Bill 599 and Senate Bill 667. The committee will also hold an Executive Session on the appointment of Dr. Robert Forbes to the Veterinary Examining Board, Jeffery Schwaller to the Snowmobile Recreation Council and former Sen. Sheila Harsdorf to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

 
Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB774 and AB583.


Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection
The committee will hold an executive session on AB565 and AB577.

The committee will hold a public hearing on AB635.

Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB649, AB720 and AB789.

Assembly Committee on Workforce Development
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB625, AB745, AB734, AB124 and AB617.


Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB811.


Assembly Committee on Local Government
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB618, AB664, AB752, AB690, AB691 and AB729.


Assembly Committee on Insurance
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB744. The committee will hold an executive session on AB744.

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 To view updated committee notices, visit the legislative website and click on Committee Schedule: Wisconsin State Legislature.

 The State Capitol Update is provided by the Senate and Assembly Democratic Caucuses. For additional information, please send an email to WisconsinDemocrats@legis.wi.gov or call toll free: 1.800.385.3385.