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December 15, 2017

Legislative Democrats unveiled a series of new proposals this week designed to improve school funding, restore environmental protections and reduce drunk driving.

The “Fair Funding” plan for Wisconsin schools (LRB 4811) would increase K-12 school funding, reduce property taxes and address regional funding inequalities. The proposal updates Wisconsin’s school funding formula and delivers on the Democratic promise to restore school funding and prioritize K-12 education.

Democratic lawmakers also unveiled LRB 4960 to expand access to public health and environmental impact statements and LRB 4973 to increase the use of Ignition Interlock Devices and reduce instances of drunk driving.

For more information on these Democratic solutions and upcoming legislative committee activity, see below.

Health Care in Wisconsin

Health Care Survey

The Affordable Care Act has helped tens of millions of Americans gain access to affordable health care and has saved countless lives. Recent Republican efforts 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

LRB4811 Fair Funding (Rep. Pope, Hebl, Sen. Larson, Bewley) would alter Wisconsin’s school funding formula to be fair, sustainable and transparent. The fair funding formula would ensure minimum funding of $3,000 per pupil, add extra percentage to the pupil count for all students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, raise the secondary cost ceiling to the average statewide cost per member, eliminate the school levy credit, the first dollar credit and high poverty aid and transfer these funding sources to equalization aid. 

LRB4960 Environmental Analysis for Proposed Legislation (Rep. Shankland, Sen. Miller) would require administrative rule economic impact analyse to also include a public health and environmental impact assessment. 

LRB4811 Fair Funding (Rep. Pope, Hebl, Sen. Larson, Bewley) would make a number of changes in the laws relating to public school financing.

LRB4973 Ignition Interlock Device (Sen. Larson, Rep. Sinicki, Brostoff) would require a court to order the operating privileges of a person who commits any OWI offense, regardless of his or her alcohol concentration, to be restricted to operating vehicles that are equipped with an ignition interlock device.

LRB1276 Acceptance of Credit for International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (Sen. Hansen, Rep. Genrich) would require the University of Wisconsin System to accept academic credits for completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program if certain qualifications are met. 

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week. The fall legislative session has ended and the Senate is next scheduled to reconvene in 2018.


Senate Committees

Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues
The committee held a Public Hearing on the appointments of Jason Rothenberg and Arthur Zimmerman to the Deferred Compensation Board. The committee also be discussed six Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 167 would modify the sales and use tax exemption for commercial radio and television stations to include broadcasting property. 

  • Senate Bill 203 would make several tax law changes including: the length of the recognition period for built-in gains tax; the standard of proof for income and franchise tax purposes; elimination of the Department of Revenue's obligation and authority to participate in the Multistate Tax Commission Audit Program; and elimination of the current law that allows a taxpayer to rely on past audits to avoid tax liability in later audits.

  • Senate Bill 398Assembly Bill 489 would expand eligibility for certain business investments that qualify for tax credits under the Angel and Early Stage Seed Investment tax credit programs.

  • Senate Bill 404 would exempt the initial limited liabilities company filing fee for student entrepreneurs.

  • Senate Bill 467 would direct the Public Defender Board to establish a student loan payment pilot program for private bar attorneys who accept public defender appointments.

  • Senate bill 481 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. 


Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government

The committee held a Public Hearing on four Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 405 would allow a property owner to recover the amount of property taxes paid as a result of an excessive property tax assessment.

  • Senate Bill 505 would allow the Town of Cable in Bayfield County to create a tax incremental district (TID) in the same manner as a city or village.

  • Senate Bill 525 would create a non-lapsable fund to be known as the “innovation fund" and an Innovation Council to advise Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on how to use funds available to support innovation through competition or improving local problems.

  • Senate Bill 534 would allow the Department of Safety and Professional Services to appoint certain cities, villages, towns, and counties (local governments) to approve construction, alteration, and plumbing plans for public buildings and places of employment.

 
Senate Health and Human Services

The committee held an Executive Session to vote on the executive appointments of Alaa Abd-Elsayed, Michael Carton, Padmaja Doniparthi, Dr. Rodney Erickson, David Roelke, Dr. Timothy Westlake, and Dr. Robert Zoeller to the Medical Examining Board; Barbara Bechte, Tanya Meyer, Valerie Palarski to the Board on Aging and Long Term Care; Dr. Matthew Bistan, Dr. Leonardo Huck, Dennis Myers, Dr. Wendy Pietz to the Dentistry Examining Board; and Luann Skarlupka, Dr. Beth Smith Houskamp and Pamela White to the Board of Nursing. All recommended confirmation, 4-0.

The committee also held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 575, which would make a number of changes to the pharmacy practice laws regarding the prescribing and dispensing of biological products.


Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry
The committee held an Executive Session to vote on five Senate Bills and two Assembly Bills:

  • Senate Bill 506 would establish conditions under which the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may change a determination from non-navigable to a navigable waterway. It also exempts certain impoundments from regulations relating to navigable waters. Passed, 3-2.

  • Senate Bill 372/Assembly Bill 461 would require the Department of Natural Resources to treat a terminally ill individual who is participating in a hunting-related event sponsored by a charitable organization as a resident for purposes of determining his or her eligibility for, and cost of, obtaining hunting approvals. Passed, 5-0.

  • Senate Bill 376/Assembly Bill 464 would increase the maximum height at which a person may set or operate a trap or device built or used to capture birds from three feet to ten feet. Passed, 5-0.

  • Senate Bill 508 would authorize the Department of Natural Resources to establish a fall open season for hunting deer within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Passed, 5-0.

  • Senate Bill 509 would authorize a person under the age of 16 to engage in trapping without obtaining a trapping license or a trapping education certificate of accomplishment if the person is trapping under the supervision of a licensed trapper. Passed, 5-0.


Senate Insurance, Housing and Trade

The committee held a Public Hearing on the appointments of Robert Larson to the Real Estate Examining Board and Wyman Winston to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. The committee also held both a Public Hearing and Executive Session to vote on seven Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 621 would authorize a county to enact an ordinance requiring the sheriff or referee to conduct sales of foreclosed property in the county using an Internet-based auction. No action taken.

  • Senate Bill 394 would eliminate the Building Inspector Review Board and the Contractor Certification Council and transfers their duties to the Uniform Dwelling Code Council. Passed, 5-0.

  • Senate Bill 489 would specify the minimum liability insurance policy limit applicable to motor carriers of passengers operating solely in intrastate commerce. Passed, 5-1.

  • Senate Bill 601 would require that a floodplain determination and floodplain zoning ordinance conform to a letter of map amendment issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Passed, 3-2.

  • Senate Bill 618 would exempt renewals of insurance policies, including policies that provide worker's compensation insurance, in an affiliate from certain requirements. Passed, 5-0.

  • Senate Bill 641 would clarify the statutes to match the current practices for City Housing Authorities in our state, and clarifies Wisconsin law to conform to Federal Housing and Urban Development guidance. Passed, 5-0.

  • Senate Bill 367 would set requirements on certain health insurance plans that rent networks of dental service providers to other entities. Passed, 4-1.


Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection

The committee held a Public Hearing on four Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 457 would exempt vehicles that are 10 years or older from motor vehicle emissions limitations.

  • Senate Bill 459 would require the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to eliminate all administrative rules that relate to the regulation of air pollutants that are not regulated under federal law.

  • Senate Bill 463 would prohibit the DNR from requiring that a person sell reformulated gasoline if certain conditions are met.

  • Senate Bill 466 would prohibit the DNR from including the air monitoring site located at Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan County in the annual monitoring network plan.


Joint Committees

Joint Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding
The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding held an Informational Hearing to hear a presentation from the Department of Public Instruction and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Wisconsin school funding.

Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on CR 16-085, regarding compounding pharmaceuticals and CR 17-038, relating to requests for written advice issued on behalf of the Ethics Commission. 

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 Mental Health
The committee held a public hearing on AB628, which requires “Silver Alerts” to be reported to ADRC’s, AB629 which allows interstate communication regarding guardianship, AB630 which creates a dementia specialist certification, AB631 which creates a tax credit for family caregivers, AB632  which creates funding for increase awareness of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in rural and underserved urban areas and AB633 which establishes a Palliative Care Council within the Department of Health Services.


Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee held a public hearing on Clearinghouse Rule 17-002 relating to the WPDES permits, and affecting small businesses.


Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities
The committee held a public hearing on AB559 regarding transfer credits for UW system schools, AB567 which would create a pilot program for student loan repayment for private bar attorneys who accept public defender appointments, AB598 regarding loan assistance program eligibility and AB701 would require the Board of Regents to create a crime victims legal clinic at the UW Law School.


Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules
The committee had a public hearing on Clearinghouse Rule 16-085 relating to compounding pharmaceuticals. Clearinghouse Rule 17-038 Relating to requests for written advice issued on behalf of the Ethics Commission. The committee held an executive session on Clearinghouse Rule 16-085 Relating to compounding pharmaceuticals. Clearinghouse Rule 17-038 relating to requests for written advice issued on behalf of the Ethics Commission.


Assembly Committee on Agriculture
The committee held a public hearing on AB698 this bill makes changes to the Agricultural Producer Security Program.


Assembly Committee on Health
The committee held a public hearing on AB638, which creates a council within DHS to advise the department on research etc. regarding PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome) AB556 creates an individual income tax deduction for psychiatrist, AB653 regarding breast density notification during mammography screening, AB679 which changes rules regarding pharmacy rules for biological products and AB681 which prohibits the sale of dextromethorphan (cold medicine) without a prescription to minors.


Subcommittee on Personal and Corporate Income Taxes
This will be an introductory meeting of the Subcommittee to discuss goals and future activity. No official actions will be taken.


Assembly Committee on Ways and Means
The committee held a public hearing on AB361 which would require counties and municipalities to hold a referendum before imposing a wheel tax and AB735 which creates penalty applicable to a seller that continues to collect sales tax erroneously on a product after receiving two or more written notices that the product is not taxable.


The committee held an executive session on AB600 This bill allows the Town of Cable in Bayfield County to create a tax incremental district (TID) in the same manner as a city or village which and AB659 which relates to the regulation of levy limits and the creation of TIF districts.

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee will hold an Executive Session on legislation regarding Worker's Compensation Law as submitted by the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). The council released a summary of provisions that it will include in its 2017 “agreed upon bill.” One such provision establishes a medical fee schedule for health services provided through the workers compensation program in an effort to control medical costs. The proposed fee schedule would allow employers to reimburse medical providers using rates that approximate those paid by group health insurers.

Senate Committee on Education
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 159, Senate Bill 222 / Assembly Bill 300, Senate Bill 234 / Assembly Bill 304, Senate Bill 427, Senate Bill 483, Senate Bill 491, Senate Bill 494, Senate Bill 536 / Assembly Bill 488, and Senate Bill 556.

Senate Natural Resources and Energy
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 600.

Joint Legislative Audit Committee
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 511.

Joint Legislative Audit Committee
The committee will hold an Executive Session to vote on a proposed Audit of the Group Insurance Board, Department of Employee Trust Funds.

 

Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Small Business Development
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB498 and AB640.


The Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection
The committee will hold an executive session on AB544. The committee will hold a public hearing on AB565, AB577, and AB684.


The Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight
The committee will hold an executive session on AB527. The committee will hold a public hearing on AB231.


The committee will have a meeting discussing draft legislation requiring DOA to create an RFP for an outside evaluation of government functions and implementation of measures for cost savings and efficiencies.

Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The committee will hold an executive session on AB626, AB665 and AB711.


Assembly Committee on Health
The committee will hold an executive session on AB582, AB608, AB627, AB638, AB653 and AB681.


Assembly Committee on Regulatory and Licensing Reform  
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB547.


Assembly Committee on Rural Development and Mining
The committee will hold an executive session on AB572. The committee will hold a public hearing on AB731 and AB730.

 

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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.