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February 16, 2018

After doling out $28 million in tax breaks for 15 multi-millionaires and $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies to a foreign corporation, Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee passed a Rural Economic proposal that leaves 56 of the 72 Wisconsin counties to fight for a fraction of $50 million.

During the Assembly Session, Republicans voted to strip away protections for nearly 100,000 acres of wetlands in Wisconsin. This could lead to increased flooding and compromised water quality. After back-to-back summers of severe flooding across the state, Democrats have expressed serious concerns with the impacts this will have on communities and eco-systems. On a party-line vote, the Assembly passed Special Session proposals to create more barriers for struggling families, seniors, people with disabilities and survivors of domestic abuse to access food and long-term job training.

The Senate is expected to vote on the wetlands bill and special session proposals next Tuesday. The Assembly is expected to be in session on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

What Democrats Are Saying

​ Democratic Proposals

LRB4681 Threatening Law Enforcement Agents (Sen. Hansen) would expand the crime so that threatening to harm the agent or a family member of the agent, is a Class H felony. Currently, only intentionally causing bodily harm is a Class H felony.

LRB3975 Health Plan Directories (Rep. Anderson, Kolste, Sen. Larson) would require a defined network plan or preferred provider plan to make a current directory of health care providers in the plan's network of providers available to anyone considering enrollment in the plan.

LRB3978 Medical Care Coverage (Rep. Anderson, Stuck, Sen. Erpenbach) would require health insurance policies and governmental self-insured health plans to cover tests and ancillary procedures needed to provide a product or service. For instance, if the doctor recommends an MRI to check the patient’s lungs for pneumonia, that MRI must also be covered by their health insurance.

LRB3980 Rate Increases for Health Insurance (Rep. Anderson, Riemer, Sen. Hansen) would require any health insurance company that wants to raise rates by 10% or more to first seek approval from the Commissioner of Insurance.

LRB3981 Evaluation of Health Plan Network (Rep. Anderson, Billings) would require the commissioner of insurance to determine sufficiency of the network of providers of a defined network plan or preferred provider plan. These are plans are types of managed care organizations that provide health care benefits to their enrollees.

LRB4005 Publication of Hospital Chargemasters (Rep. Anderson, Neubauer, Sen. Carpenter) would require each hospital to file a copy of its chargemasters with the Dept. of Health Services on an annual basis. A chargemaster is a uniform schedule of charges represented by the hospital as its gross billed charge for a given service or item, regardless of payer type.

LRB4004 Emergency Care for Uninsured Patients (Rep. Anderson, Taylor, Sen. Johnson) would prohibit hospitals from charging uninsured patients whose family income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line a rate for emergency services that exceeds 115 percent of the allowable charges under the federal Medicare program for those services.

LRB4006 Hospitals Providing Plain-language (Rep. Anderson, Crowley, Sen. Vinehout) would require hospitals to provide each hospital patient with a plain-language, itemized bill that includes an explanation of all charges, regardless of the source of payment.

LRB4007 Reporting of Collections for Medical Debt (Rep. Anderson, Brostoff, Sen. Miller) would create standards for how healthcare providers must handle medical debt before using a debt collection agency. This proposal would prohibit a health care provider from sending a patient to debt collections from health care services provided, unless the health care provider has sent a written statement to the patient describing the unpaid amount and six months have passed from the due date listed on the statement sent to the patient.

LRB4652 Rural Broadband Expansion Grant Program Improvement (Sen. Vinehout, Rep. Vruwink) would change Wisconsin Broadband Expansion Grant by specifically targeting rural areas, maintaining accountability on projects, improving municipal broadband, better mapping existing broadband coverage, and calling for a performance evaluation of the broadband expansion grant program.

LRB4621 Defining Broadband (Sen. Vinehout, Rep. Vruwink) would provide that no person may advertise as providing broadband unless the service is capable of consistently providing a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps.

LRB4638 Municipal-Owned Broadband Service (Sen. Vinehout, Rep. Vruwink) would eliminate a requirement for a local government to prepare a report before holding a public hearing on authorizing the construction or operation facilities for providing telecommunications service, cable television or similar video service, or broadband service to the public.

LRB4768 Dig-Once for Broadband (Sen. Vinehout, Rep. Vruwink) would allow a city, village, town, or county or the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) to require any person who conducts any special work in the political subdivision's or DOT's right-of-way to install empty conduit lines in any part of the right-of-way in which the person is digging.

LRB4344 State Trail Pass Exemption (Rep. Genrich) would provide that the Dept. of Natural Resources may not charge an admission fee to enter a state trail to any person with a disability who is accompanied by an operator of a tandem bicycle or bicycle pulling a trailer who has valid state trail pass.

LRB0770 Pedestrians Crosswalks (Rep. Genrich) would require a vehicle operator to stop his or her vehicle and remain stopped until a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk has completed crossing the roadway.

LRB0108 Joint Finance Membership (Sen. Vinehout) would specify that eight senators and eight representatives to the assembly who serve on the Joint Committee on Finance must consist of five senators/representatives chosen from the majority party and three from the minority party. Also would require all executive actions to be notified at least 24 hours before consideration of the motion.

LRB4042 Employer Drug Screening for THC (Rep. Bowen) would, with exceptions for certain jobs for which the federal government requires drug screening, prohibit employers from requiring employees or prospective employees to submit to a screening for THC as a condition of employment.

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week. There is a floor session scheduled for next Tuesday. The entire floor session calendar can be found here.


Senate Committees

Senate Health and Human Services
The committee held an Executive Session on two Assembly Bills:

  • Senate Bill 543Assembly Bill 653 would require a facility that performs mammography examination to provide a notice containing specific information about breast density to patients with dense breast tissue. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 445Assembly Bill 538 would prohibit the transfer of an individual from a hospital's emergency department until a medical staff member determines the transfer is medically appropriate. (Passed, 5-0)

Senate Committee on Education
The committee held an Executive Session to vote on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 663 would allow the Dept. of Children and Families to create a pilot grant program to award organizations operating a four-year-old Kindergarten program for the purpose of expanding those programs. (Passed, 6-1)

  • Senate Bill 105/ Assembly Bill 221 would create a pilot program for a school board located in the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 6 region that received a rating of "significantly exceeds expectations" may opt out of the requirement to provide a minimum number of hours of direct pupil instruction at schools. (Failed, 3-4)

Senate Judiciary and Public Safety
The committee held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 807, which would require the state to close the Lincoln Hills School and Copper Lake School by July 1, 2020, requires the Dept. of Corrections to establish new juvenile correctional facilities, and authorizes counties to establish secured residential care centers for children and youth. Democrats have been calling for these types of changes for years and have been ignored by Republicans. Now facing reelection, Walker and GOP leadership are trying to rush this bill through without the proper input from counties and other stakeholders.


The committee held an Executive Session on two Senate Bills and two Assembly Bills:

  • Assembly Bill 117 would allow a district attorney, deputy district attorney, or assistant district attorney to provide legal services to a person of limited means or to a charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organization if the attorney provides the services without fee and the services are not in conflict with the interests of the district attorney's county. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Assembly Bill 351 would create requirements for law enforcement agencies that use body cameras on law enforcement officers. Including policies and training for the retention and confidentiality of data recorded by the body cameras. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 704 would expand the confidentiality provisions of the Safe at Home program to include any part of a program participant's actual address. In addition, the bill makes intentional disclosure of confidential information under the program a misdemeanor. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 694 would make the threat to cause bodily harm to guardian ad litems, corporate counsels and attorneys a Class H felony. (Passed, 5-0)

Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues
The committee held an Executive Session on two Senate Bills:

  • 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. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 764 would adopt certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that were adopted as part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was enacted in December 2017. (Passed, 3-2)

 

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 665, which would establish 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. This bill was 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.”


The committee also held an Executive Session to vote on two Senate Bills that could have severe impacts on workers in our state:

  • Senate Bill 564 would provide that in the case that a public safety employee suffers a mental injury that arises out of his or her employment and results in a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, the employee is not required to show that the mental injury was caused by unusual stress of greater dimensions than the day-to-day emotional strain and tension experienced by similarly situated employees in order for the injury to be compensable under the worker's compensation law. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 745 would prohibit a court from according deference to agency interpretations of law; establish various requirements with respect to the adoption and use of guidance documents by agencies; provide that settlement agreements do not confer rule-making authority. (Passed, 3-2)

 

The committee also held another Executive Session on Friday to vote on Senate Bill 781, which would prohibit an injured employee from maintaining an action in tort against certain third parties, regardless of whether the employee makes a claim for compensation under the worker's compensation law against his or her employer. For example, if an injured employee of a temporary help agency engaged in work for the employer and is injured on the job, the employee may not take civil legal action against the employer to which the employee is placed or leased if the employee has the right to make a claim for compensation under the worker's compensation law. This bill was given a public hearing on Tuesday and a vote was taken on Friday.

 

Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations
The committee held a Public Hearing on six Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 784 would allow for the licensed dental therapist to engage in limited practice of dentistry.

  • Senate Bill 731 would require an to score at least 375 on Part III of the examination administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and to score at least 375 on Part IV of that examination in order to be granted a chiropractor license.

  • Senate Bill 748 would make changes regarding the administration of the commercial building code; the county authority regarding certain buildings and safety requirements; the carbon monoxide detection in commercial residential buildings; the examination requirements for marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work credentials; and the term of a social worker training certificate.

  • Senate Bill 749 would make numerous changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety that are administered by the Dept. of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

  • Senate Bill 750 would exempt third party logistics providers from regulation as prescription drug wholesale distributors by the Pharmacy Examining Board.

  • Senate Bill 751 would make various changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety: it would make technical changes in the nursing practice law, eliminate requirements that certain Cemetery Board filings be notarized; change the renewal date for physician assistants from March 1 of each odd-numbered year to March 1 of each even-numbered year, require that a mining inspector employed by DSPS must have experience in underground mining or be a graduate of a recognized college with a degree of mining engineering.

 

The committee also held an Executive Session on two Senate Bills and seven Special Session Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 653 would allow for the continuity of foster care when the license of a child welfare agency or foster home is revoked, suspended, or surrendered. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 724 would make various changes to laws regarding funeral director apprentices. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Special Senate Bill 1 would allow the Dept. of Health Services (DHS) to set the required hours of participation in the FoodShare employment and training program (FSET) to coincide with the maximum allowable hours allowed by the federal government for able-bodied adults with and without children. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Special Senate Bill 2 would mandate DHS to require all able-bodied adults, including parents, to participate in the FoodShare employment and training program (FSET), except those who are caretakers of a child under the age of six and those who are at least half-time students. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Special Senate Bill 3 would change the financial eligibility requirements for W-2, Wisconsin Shares and FoodShare. This bill would establish that  individuals are not eligible for FoodShare if their family owns a home that is used as their primary residence that is valued at more than 200% of the statewide median home value ($321,200). (Passed, 3-2)

  • Special Senate Bill 4 would require the housing authority to issue to an able-bodied person who is either unemployed or underemployed, a questionnaire or other screening instrument concerning the abuse of controlled substances. (Passed, 3-2)

    • If the housing authority determines there is a reasonable suspicion that a resident is abusing a controlled substance, the housing authority must require the resident to undergo a drug test.

    • If the resident tests positive for the use of a controlled substance, the housing authority must offer the resident the opportunity to participate in substance abuse treatment.

  • Special Senate Bill 6 would require DHS to create and implement a payment system based on performance for entities that perform administrative functions for FSET. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Special Senate Bill 8 would prohibit able-bodied parents who refuse to cooperate in determining the paternity of a child, establishing or enforcing any child support order, from being eligible for Medical Assistance. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Special Senate Bill 9 would require DHS to submit a waiver request to the federal government to establish and implement a savings account in the Medical Assistance Program. (Passed, 3-2)

 

The committee held another Executive Session on Friday to vote on Assembly Bill 536, which would increase the annual license fee for a retail food establishment that is a micro market. A micro market is an indoor, unstaffed, self-checkout kiosk that sells food and beverages to a limited group of people, such as employees.

 

Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism
The committee held an Executive Session on Senate Bill 487, which would require the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to award an annual grant to a nonprofit organization that operate food banks to promote the donation of excess and unmarketable farm and food products to food banks. (Passed, 8-1)


The committee also held a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 263 would allow retailers and wholesalers selling prescription drugs to sell those items for less than the cost of those items. Currently, a prohibition exists on this practice.

  • Senate Bill 780 would require the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to make a grant to reimburse the costs of purchasing and installing rollover protective structures for farm tractors.

 

Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry
The committee held a Public Hearing on four Senate Bills and three Assembly companions:

  • Senate Bill 400 / Assembly Bill 491 would provide that a resident who is 16 or 17 years old or a resident who is 65 years old or older are eligible for a reduced fishing license of $4.25.

  • Senate Bill 551 / Assembly Bill 649 would allow a person to hunt an animal with a high-powered air rifle or an airbow in a season open to hunting that animal with a firearm.

  • Senate Bill 557 / Assembly Bill 665 would provide that any person may make a voluntary contribution to the Dept. of Natural Resources to be used to cover any portion of the costs of a hunting or fishing approval issued to a disabled veteran who is a resident of this state.

  • Senate Bill 766 would prohibit the Dept. of Natural Resources from not allowing the taking of rough fish or catfish by hand or with a bow and arrow or a crossbow.

Senate Insurance, Financial Services, Constitution and Federalism

The committee held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 800, which would provide that a political subdivision may not designate a property as a historic landmark without the consent of the owner. Also under this bill, a political subdivision may not establish a historic district unless they receive consent of the owners comprising of one-half of the land in area within the proposed district or the owners of one-half of the real property in assessed value within the proposed district.

The committee will also have an Executive Session on a number of bills:

  • Senate Bill 81 / Assembly Bill 128 would prohibit the state's Group Insurance Board (GIB) from contracting with an insurance company that would provide abortions except in certain instances. Exceptions include for medical necessity to save the life of the mother and in the case of sexual assault and incest. However, the victim of sexual assault or incest would be required to report that incident to the police in order to obtain the abortion. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 710 would require Legislative Agencies to submit a report identifying coercive conditions attached to federal funds available to the state. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Joint Resolution 95 would amend the Wisconsin constitution on the eligibility and conditions for release prior to conviction of persons accused of certain crimes and considerations for imposing bail. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 730 would create a procedure that a condominium association may use to raise funds that it intends to use for the repair or replacement of common elements of a condominium building that are affected by a defect. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 763 would change the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) guidelines for corporate governance disclosures and brings OCIs policies in line with national standards. This bill would also create more positions for Wisconsin based insurers on the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau Board. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 137 / Assembly Bill 187 would exempt from building code requirements of public buildings and places of employment for buildings historically used for farming (barns) that were built before 1965 and that are used for social events. This bill was passed out of the committee in June but technical amendments were added to the bill and voted on again. (Passed, 5-0)

 

Senate Natural Resources and Energy

The committee held a Public Hearing on the executive appointments of Jeffery Feldt and Bruce Enke to the Fox River Navigational System Authority. The committee also met to discuss five Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 747 would exempt from Dept. of Natural Resources permitting requirements for certain shoreline maintenance activities in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer's Harbor, and the Fox River.

  • Senate Bill 789 would allow a person who owns waterfront property to remove certain material from the bed of an inland navigable water without obtaining a permit from the Dept. of Natural Resources.

  • Senate Bill 792 would provide that the definition of “solid waste” does not include certain iron and steel slags.

  • Senate Bill 733 would reflect a number of simple recommendations by the E-Cycle Wisconsin program staff to make the program even better. This bill would:

    • Expand the program to all schools, including charter schools, private schools and tribal schools. Currently, only electronics from public schools can get counted towards a manufacturer’s recycling target.

    • Narrow the types of consumer printers that are covered.

    • Change the thresholds for manufacturer registration fees, including eliminating fees for smaller manufacturers.

    • Make changes to the reporting requirements of manufacturers and recyclers to improve efficiencies for program participants.

    • Change the program year from the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30), to the calendar year (January 1 through December 31.)

  • Senate Bill 796 would increase the amount of the appropriation for the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's soil and water resource management program.

 

Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government

The committee held a Public Hearing and Executive Session on the same day on three bills. This is just another attempt by the GOP to rush legislation, which makes substantive changes to current laws, through the legislative process.

  • Senate Bill 801 would make several changes to the current alcohol regulations. This bill would create the Office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement who would be housed under the Dept. of Revenue. It would create a resort manufacturer permit where only the Kohler American Resort would currently qualify. It would create an alcohol czar that would have policing powers to create stricter state liquor laws with oversight only by the Governor who appoints the position. Overall, this bill makes numerous changes to the governance of the alcohol industry and is opposed by both craft breweries and large brewers, like MillerCoors.

  • Senate Bill 726 / Assembly Bill 809 would make updates to old provisions and creates some additional flexibility for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). This bill allows refinancing in Milwaukee for rehabilitation of homes, also allows rehabilitation funds to be used for down payment assistance program.

 

The committee also held an Executive Session on four Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 627 would modify the criteria by which a newspaper may receive compensation for the publication of a legal notice. (Passed, 7-0)

  • Senate Bill 708 would provide an exception to the bidding requirement when an improvement is constructed by a private person and donated to the local governmental unit after the completion of construction. Currently, any public contract that has an estimated cost of $25,000 must be awarded to the lowest bidder. (Passed, 7-0)

  • Senate Bill 712 would authorize a municipality or county to enact an ordinance providing for the immobilization, towing, or impoundment of vehicles owned by habitual parking violators. (Passed, 7-0)

  • Senate Bill 760 would make updates to chapter 69 and related provisions to accommodate the use of electronic records. This bill was proposed at the request of Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association. (Passed, 7-0)

This Week in the Assembly

Assembly Session

The assembly held floor session on Tuesday and Thursday taking up a number of bills. 


Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Mental Health
The committee held an executive session on AB 848 which allows a treatment director to provide outpatient mental health treatment to children for 30 days without first obtaining informed consent based on certain emergency situations.  


Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform
The committee held an executive session on AB 710 which increases penalties for unemployment insurance fraud.


Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee held an executive session on AB 911 which provides funding of $100,000 in each fiscal year from the conservation fund for the Southeastern Wisconsin Fox River Commission.


Assembly Committee on Rules
The committee held an executive session on the following items at the time specified below:

  • Tuesday, February 13, 2018 3:00 PM Assembly Parlor (2nd Floor West) Executive Session. The Assembly Committee on Rules held an executive session to schedule the calendar for Thursday, February 15.

Assembly Committee on Rural Development and Mining
The committee held a public hearing on AB 917 which allows a city, village, town, or county (political subdivision) to apply to the Public Service Commission for certification as a Telecommuter Forward Community.


Assembly Committee on Science and Technology
The committee held a public hearing on AB 788 which  prohibits a broadband internet access service provider from using, disclosing, or permitting access to a customer's proprietary information unless the customer grants approval.


Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The committee held a public hearing on AB 913 which prohibits the Department of Natural Resources from prohibiting the taking of rough fish or catfish by hand or with a bow.


Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions
The committee held an executive session on AB 692 which modifies requirements for certain securities transactions to be exempt from registration with the Division of Securities in the Department of Financial Institutions and AB 715 which allows certain foreign corporations acting in a fiduciary capacity to establish or maintain places of business or branch offices in this state.


The committee held a public hearing on AB 897 which eliminates, for Wisconsin-headquartered foreign corporations meeting certain criteria, the portion of the fee for a certificate of authority to transact business in this state that is based on the amount of the foreign corporation's capital in this state.

Assembly Committee on Small Business Development
The committee held a public hearing on AB 360 which allows for the limited face-to-face sale of certain homemade baked and canned foods without a licensing requirement.


Assembly Committee on Local Government
The committee held an executive session on AB 606, which makes a number of changes that affect first class city (presently only Milwaukee) police and fire departments, and the board of fire and police commissioners. AB 713, which requires that a floodplain determination and floodplain zoning ordinance conform with a letter of map amendment issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. AB 898, which makes various changes to chapter 69 and related provisions to accommodate the use of electronic records. AB 882 authorizes a municipality or county to enact an ordinance providing for the immobilization or towing, impoundment, and disposal of vehicles owned by habitual parking violators and AB 748 which preempts local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances related to various employment matters. AB 836, which changes the standard in these “populous counties” provisions to counties having a population of 750,000 or more (currently only Milwaukee County).


Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections
The committee held an executive session on AB 637, which authorizes a municipality to allow its electors to vote before election day by using an electronic voting machine to cast an in-person absentee ballot.


Assembly Committee on State Affairs
The committee held an executive session on AB 901 this bill allows two holders of wild turkey hunting authorizations for different season time periods in the spring to exchange those hunting authorizations by each applying to DNR to transfer his or her hunting authorization to the other.


The committee held a public hearing on AB 433 which makes changes relating to the hours in which wineries can make retail sales of wine and AB 943 which makes a variety of changes to the laws administered by the Department of Military Affairs.

Assembly Committee on Health
The committee held a public hearing on AB 945, which provides for the licensure of dental therapists, who are health care practitioners who may engage in the limited practice of dentistry. AB 596, requires the Department of Health Services to establish a long-term care investment program that is administered and promoted by a manager. AB 621, which allows the commissioner of insurance to regulate pharmacy benefit managers. AB 920, which allows the establishment of employer groups to jointly provide health care benefits on a self-funded basis to the employers' eligible employees and their dependents under a health care benefit arrangement and AB 942 which ratifies and enters Wisconsin into the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact.


Assembly Committee on Ways and Means
The committee held a public hearing on AB 944 which creates a onetime sales and use tax rebate to be paid by September 1, 2018, as an approximation of nonbusiness Wisconsin sales tax paid in 2017 for raising children.


The committee held an executive session on AB 259, which makes the following changes to tax law  makes the following tax law changes: 1) changes the length of the recognition period for built-in gains tax; 2) changes the standard of proof a taxpayer must meet to establish that a transaction has economic substance for income and franchise tax purposes; 3) eliminates the Department of Revenue's obligation and authority to participate in the Multistate Tax Commission Audit Program; and 4) eliminates an exception to current law that allows a taxpayer to rely on past audits to avoid tax liability in later audits. AB9 10, which adopts, for state income and franchise tax purposes, certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to individuals and were adopted as part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was enacted in December 2017. AB944, AB 944 which creates a onetime sales and use tax rebate to be paid by September 1, 2018, as an approximation of nonbusiness Wisconsin sales tax paid in 2017 for raising children and AB 402, which creates a sales and use tax exemption for tangible personal property and taxable services sold to a state veterans organization.

Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety
The committee held an executive session on AB 873, which makes the laws regulating the intoxicated operation of different recreational vehicles more consistent. AB 874, which establishes an absolute sobriety requirement for the purpose of operating a snowmobile for any person under the age of 21 and AB 855 which prohibits the operation of a drone in certain manners and prohibits a political subdivision from regulating the ownership or operation of a drone.


The committee held a public hearing on AB 859 which allows law enforcement agencies in the city of Milwaukee to use an automated speed enforcement system (ASES) to identify speed limit violations  and AB 728 which requires that a retail business that sells firearms must lock all firearms in a secured safe or steel gun cabinet or on a secured rod or cable when the business is unattended.

Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight
The committee held a public hearing on AB 923 which expands some of the powers that may be exercised by the county executive of any county with a population of 750,000 or more (populous county) and makes other changes that apply to all counties.


Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections
The committee held a public hearing on AB 925 regarding special voting deputies in retirement homes and AB 947 which modifies current law regarding the voting procedures for military and overseas electors so that the law is in substantial compliance with the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.


Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations
The committee held a public hearing on AB 879 which  requires the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and the Legislative Council Staff to submit a joint report, following each biennial budget act, to the governor, attorney general, and legislature that identifies coercive conditions attached to federal funds made available to the state.


Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy
The committee held an executive session on AB 759 which creates requirements that specifically apply to rental-purchase agreements, imposes requirements on rental-purchase companies, and exempts rental-purchase companies and rental-purchase agreements from the Wisconsin Consumer Act.


Assembly Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform
The committee held an executive session on AB 902, which exempts third party logistics providers from regulation as prescription drug wholesale distributors by the Pharmacy Examining Board. AB 903, which exempts third party logistics providers from regulation as prescription drug wholesale distributors by the Pharmacy Examining Board. AB 904, which makes changes regarding the following: 1) administration of the commercial building code; 2) county authority regarding certain buildings and safety requirements; 3) carbon monoxide detection in commercial residential buildings; 4) examination requirements for marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work credentials; and 5) the term of a social worker training certificate. AB 905, which makes numerous changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety that are administered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services and AB 918, which eliminates the authority of local governments to regulate and license operators of taxicabs and taxicab businesses and instead requires that taxicab companies and taxicab dispatch services be licensed by the state.


Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs - cancelled

Assembly Committee on Education
The committee held an executive session on AB 851 which requires the Office of Educational Opportunity in the University of Wisconsin System to award grants to school districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program to support dual enrollment programs taught in high schools.


Assembly Committee on Transportation
The committee on held an executive session on AB 594 which revises the standards governing the treatment of outdoor advertising signs that do not conform to local ordinances (signs) and that are affected by certain transportation-related public projects and AB 595 which declares certain outdoor advertising signs along highways to be nonconforming, but does not require the signs to be removed unless certain criteria are met.

Assembly Committee on Corrections

The committee held an executive session on LRB 5233 Relating to: juvenile correctional facilities, youth aids, and providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.

Assembly Committee on Health
The committee held an executive session on AB 556 which creates an individual income tax subtract modification, or deduction, for up to $200,000 of income earned in this state by a psychiatrist, in the taxable year to which the claim relates, from the practice of psychiatry. AB 942 which ratifies and enters Wisconsin into the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact and AB 920, which allows the establishment of employer groups to jointly provide health care benefits on a self-funded basis to the employers' eligible employees and their dependents under a health care benefit arrangement. 

 
Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 795, which would require Dept. of Military Affairs (DMA) to continue paying a member of the National Guard or state defense force who is injured in the performance of his or her duties while on state active duty. This bill would also require the DMA to pay a death gratuity in the amount of $100,000 to the designated beneficiary of a member of the National Guard and extend eligibility for reemployment rights of individuals returning from active state service to non-state residents.


The committee will also hold an Executive Session on Senate Bill 771, which would require health insurance policies that cover prescription eye drops to cover refills of prescription eye drops.

 
Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB926 which exempts from Department of Natural Resources permitting requirements certain shoreline maintenance activities in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer's Harbor, and the Fox River from its mouth up to the dam at De Pere AB881, regarding DNR notification for well owners.  AB935, which allows a person who owns waterfront property (riparian owner) to remove certain material from the bed of an inland navigable water without obtaining a permit from the AB941 which provides that the definition of “solid waste” does not include certain iron and steel slags and AB946 which increases, from $3,325,000 to $3,825,000 in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years, the amount of the appropriation for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's soil and water resource management program. 


Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB897, AB897 which eliminates, for Wisconsin-headquartered foreign corporations meeting certain criteria, the portion of the fee for a certificate of authority to transact business in this state that is based on the amount of the foreign corporation's capital in this state.


Assembly Committee on Judiciary
The committee will hold an executive session on AB693 which requires a law enforcement agency to report to the administrator of a school district, charter school, or private school certain information when the agency learns that a pupil who is enrolled in the school is taken into custody in connection with a felony or violent misdemeanor.


Assembly Committee on Children and Families  
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB797 which allows the Department of Children and Families, as a pilot project, to award grants to organizations, including school boards, with existing four-year-old kindergarten programs for the purpose of expanding those program.

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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.